USC DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW
Eight defensive starters return from 2013: defensive end Leonard Williams, inside linebacker Hayes Pullard, cornerback-safety Josh Shaw, safety Su’a Cravens, cornerback Kevon Seymour, outside linebacker J.R. Tavai, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods and co- starting inside linebackers Lamar Dawson and Anthony Sarao. Other defensive players returning with career starts are outside linebacker Jabari Ruffin, safety Leon McQuay III and cornerback Anthony Brown. USC’s top 3 tacklers from last year, along with its leaders in tackles for loss, deflections, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles, all return in 2014. Last season, the Trojan defense showed marked improvement from 2012 and finished in the national Top 25 in 8 statistical categories: first in red zone defense (.628), 12th in third down conversion defense (.327), 13th in total defense (335.2), 14th in pass efficiency defense (111.9), 15th rushing defense (120.6), 16th in scoring defense (21.2), 18th in fourth down conversion defense (.364) and 23rd in interceptions (17). Opponents were held to 300 total yards or less in 7 of Troy’s 14 games in 2013, and the Trojans also held foes to 14 points or less 7 times. USC allowed just 37 first-quarter points all season and it did not allow any second-half points in 3 games. The Trojans did this despite using 3 or fewer defensive substitutes in 6 games in 2013 because of the effects of the NCAA scholarship limitations. Sarkisian and new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, whose multiple fronts will have the look at times of last season’s Trojan defense, are hoping 2013’s stingy defensive performances continue this season. This defense will run out of a 3-4 base with 4-3 principles applied.
UCLA Ranked No. 7
The UCLA football team, ranked No. 7 in the preseason coaches’ poll, will begin practice for the Aug. 30 opener at the University of Virginia on Monday, August 4. The open practices will be held off-campus, again this year, on the athletic fields at Cal State San Bernardino. The public workouts last approximately two hours for each session.
The practices will take place on the athletic fields located on the east side of the campus. Parking is available for $5 each day for fans in Lots G and H, which are adjacent to the fields. The Bruins are scheduled to be at Cal State San Bernardino through a morning practice on Saturday, August 16. A full list of the dates and times (which are subject to change) is below.
The Bruins’ 2014 football season kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Noon ET at Virginia. UCLA’s home opener will take place on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7pm at the Rose Bowl against Memphis. Season tickets for the 2014 season are on sale now at uclabruins.com/tickets. The Bruins have six home games at the Rose Bowl in 2014 – Sept. 6 vs. Memphis, Oct. 4 vs. Utah, Oct. 11 vs. Oregon, Nov. 1 vs. Arizona, Nov. 22 vs. USC and Nov. 28 vs. Stanford.