What's buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Dr. Saturday

Spring football 25: USC Trojans

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

View gallery



Dr. Saturday will be looking at the 25 most interesting teams headed into spring football through March, examining which programs have the biggest questions, the most expectations and the best storylines. This isn’t a list of the 25 best teams going into the spring, just the 25 we’re keeping the closest eye on. Previously: Florida State.

What happened in 2012
USC became the first team in the history of the Associated Press poll to start the season No. 1 and finish the year unranked. It’s not exactly a designation the Trojans want to celebrate.

USC was supposed to be a national championship contender. Quarterback Matt Barkley was supposed to be a Heisman contender. This was supposed to be the best USC team since the days of the “Bush Push.” But an early season loss to Stanford threw the Trojans off course and it was never able to recover.

Add to that Barkley’s season-ending shoulder injury against UCLA, fighting in the locker room and an apathetic effort against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, and the Trojans have a lot of work to do this spring.

What makes them interesting in 2013
USC is interesting because no one knows exactly what to expect in 2013. There are a couple key players missing – Barkley, receiver Robert Woods, cornerback Nickell Robey and center Khaled Holmes – but the Trojans return 15 starters from last season and a bevy of talent, including star receiver Marquise Lee. Even though this team didn’t live up to expectations in 2012, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t rally and make 2013 special.

What needs to happen this spring
All eyes are on the quarterbacks this spring. Max Wittek earned valuable experience after Barkley was injured, but failed to inspire much confidence with his lackluster effort in the Sun Bowl. Wittek also missed some time this spring with a knee injury, which opened the door for Cody Kessler and freshman early enrollee Max Browne.

View gallery


Receiver Marquise Lee (AP)

Kessler has shined this spring, putting up fantastic numbers in scrimmages while showing the poise of a starter. Browne hasn’t been as lucky. He’s experienced the growing pains of learning the offense and playing against faster players than in high school. Browne might ultimately be the future at quarterback, but he’s not quite there yet.

On the other side of the ball, the defense is getting a major overhaul with coordinator Monte Kiffin out of the picture. The focus has to be on stopping spread offenses because that seemed to be the Trojans’ weak spot in 2012. Enter Clancy Pendergast from Cal, whose numbers with the Bears were pretty mediocre (93rd nationally in total defense and 96th in scoring). However, Pendergast inherits a defensive line that ended up being one of the team’s strengths a year ago and a linebacking corps that was one of the best in the Pac-12. If there’s a concern, it’s in the secondary where the Trojans have just one returning starter.

Game changers
Early enrollee Su'a Cravens has been turning heads this spring at safety, which is great considering the Trojans are going to need a lot of help in the secondary. There might be a little concern because Cravens did miss some time late last week for an undisclosed reason, but he's getting high praise from the coaching staff.

"One of the offensive coaches said, 'He looks like a senior in college out there,'" Kiffin said.

Guard Marcus Martin is emerging as a possible replacement for Holmes at center and has been stellar on the line throughout the spring.

Wild cards
Running back Silas Redd was supposed to be the Trojans' premier back with Curtis McNeal gone, but after needing surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered this spring, it’s going to be interesting to see whether Redd comes back to full form by the fall. In the meantime, the Trojans have a stable of backs in D.J. Morgan, Javorius "Buck" Allen, Tre Madden and Justin Davis, who has missed time because of a broken finger. However, with the exception of Morgan, who had 201 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries last season, the experience is sparse.

Key games
Sept. 28 at Arizona State
Oct. 19 at Notre Dame
Nov. 16 Stanford
Nov. 30 UCLA

- - -

Check out Dr. Saturday's other spring previews: Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Stanford, South Carolina , Baylor, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Clemson, West Virginia, Missouri , Tulsa, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Louisville, Northern Illinois.

Want to join the conversation? Hit us up on Twitter @YahooDrSaturday and be sure to "Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog.

College basketball video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Photo gallery: Best action from the NCAA tournament
New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5 center, draws a crowd on the court and off it
Boeheim insists report of NCAA investigation won’t be a distraction
Flurry of offseason departures not new to Ravens

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (47)

Recommended for You

  • WARNING: Graphic photos of Giancarlo Stanton's face

    WARNING: Graphic photos of Giancarlo Stanton's face   Giancarlo Stanton showed his face Tuesday, and it looked a lot better than it did Thursday after an errant pitch struck him there. Even though the"before" photo is pretty disturbing, the "after" pic

    Big League Stew
    Miami1 - 7NY Mets
    Follow Game
  • Lexi Thompson's newest photo shoot will catch your attention

    Lexi Thompson first entered the public consciousness at 12 years old when she qualified for the U.S. Now at 19, Thompson has set LPGA records as their youngest champion (since eclipsed by Lydia Ko) and won a major championship. Thompson dons a bikini in what would probably be considered in golf…

    Devil Ball Golf
  • RG3 forced to turn religious T-shirt inside out, Christians get mad at gays.

    Robert Griffin III's T-shirt was a violation of NFL rules. It also told non-Christians that they have no peace in their lives. Robert Griffin III, the now-former Washington quarterback, was about to wear a Christian T-shirt at a post-game press conference until the NFL said...ummmm, no. RG3's shirt…

    SB Nation
  • View

    'Hawaii Five-0' Season 5 Premiere Screening (19 photos)

    'Hawaii Five-0' Season 5 Premiere ScreeningThousands of Oahu residents and visitors flocked Queen's Surf Beach in Waikiki Saturday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Honolulu. They gathered in Waikiki to watch the season five premiere of "Hawaii Five-0." Grace Park

    Yahoo TV
  • WWE Raw formatted specifically to fight Monday Night Football

    Much of the internet wrestling community is scratching its collective head this morning over how WWE booked last night, September 15th's episode of Raw.  And not just the usual "they gave away a clean finish to match we're supposed to pay for on Sunday" or "they did what to Bray Wyatt now?"…

    SB Nation
  • Vikings message board shuts down, disgusted by both team and fans

    VikingsMessageBoard.com, a longtime board devoted to discussion of the Minnesota Vikings, has shut down forever because of its owners' disgust with the burgeoning Adrian Peterson scandal. Sure, there's Peterson himself, indicted on charges of child abuse. Vikings Message Board has been shut down…

    Shutdown Corner
    Sun, Sep 14
    New England30 - 7Minnesota
    Game Recap
  • Broncos fans' petition to ban Phil Simms gets 24,000 votes in 24 hours

    Broncos fans' petition to ban Phil Simms gets 24,000 votes in 24 hours Some have called it silly. Some have called it dumb. But over 29,000 fans have signed a petition to ban CBS color commentator Phil Simms from Denver Broncos games. Some have called

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 14
    Kansas City17 - 24Denver
    Game Recap
  • French Tennis Player Hits A Ridiculous Between-The-Legs Shot During Davis Cup Match

    Gael Monfils has a well-earned reputation as one of the most exciting players in tennis today and he unleashed yet another jaw-dropping shot during France's Davis Cup win over the Czech Republic. France had already clinched their semifinals match-up when Monfils took the court to face Lukas Rosol.

    Business Insider
  • Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR's Tony Stewart

    Grand jury to weigh case of NASCAR's Tony Stewart The decision whether to charge three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in the August death of a fellow driver at a sprint car race in upstate New York will be up to a grand jury. Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said Tuesday he made…

    Associated Press
  • Jameis Winston allegedly shouted an obscene phrase in the FSU student union

    For nearly a year, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has been exhaustive telling everyone who would listen — and that's a lot of us — that quarterback Jameis Winston is a really mature guy. The Heisman Trophy winner’s latest act of immaturity came Tuesday when he reportedly stood up on a table in…

    Dr. Saturday
  • Colts Coaches Cost the Team a Win

    The Colts coaching staff cost the Colts a win tonight. Chuck, you can talk all you want about how that's a game you just needed to win.  You can talk all you want about how your team needs to be better.  You can talk all you want about how your team didn't play a 60-minute ballgame.  You can talk…

    SB Nation
  • Masters in Accounting or Forensic Accounting

    Study online in your spare time and graduate in less than two years. Accredited program from New England College School of Accounting.

    AdChoicesNew England CollegeSponsored
  • Ahead of UFC Fight Night 52, Roy Nelson insists there is no 'greatest MMA heavyweight of all time'

    Ahead of UFC Fight Night 52, Roy Nelson insists there is no 'greatest MMA heavyweight of all time' For all intents and purposes, Fedor Emelianenko is widely-considered to be the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) heavyweight fighter of all time. Just ask this UFC champion.

    SB Nation
  • Ray Rice drawing interest from NFL teams

    Recently waived Ravens running back has reportedly drawn interest from a few NFL teams Bleacher Report NFL Insider Jason Cole mentioned that a few NFL teams are keeping their eyes out for recently waived Ravens running back Ray Rice.  With Rice looking to appeal his indefinite suspension, he could…

    SB Nation
  • Jalen Rose says Chris Webber needs to apologize over Michigan bad blood

    There's a lot of bad blood between Chris Webber and the other members of the "Fab Five," his super-recruit college teammates at Michigan. There are several complicated elements, but it reached the point where Webber didn't even speak to Rose when he saw him during the NBA Finals, and Rose has…

    CBS Sports
  • Play

    Knile Davis needs to fly off of the waiver wire

    Rotoworld: Adam Levitan joins Jenna Corrado to discuss the key pickups that need to be made off of the waiver wire heading into Week 3. On the top of Levitan's list is Chiefs' RB Knile Davis, who would get the start if Jamaal Charles can't go.

    NBC Sports
  • CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

    CBS and Rihanna are splitting up, more fallout from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and the turmoil it has caused for the NFL. The network said Tuesday it was permanently editing a song featuring Rihanna's voice out of its Thursday night NFL telecasts — after the singer issued a profane…

    Associated Press
  • Mets caught trying to secretly change their logo

    Last night, while Mets fans were busy watching Jacob deGrom striking everybody out and the good guys dropping yet another seesaw affair against the Marlins, the Mets' media team were up to some sneaky business. Thanks to a few sharp-eyed logo experts and the power of Twitter, we have learned that…

    SB Nation