Four things to watch as USC begins spring football practice

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Only a change at quarterback could overshadow USC’s ongoing hunt for a functional defense. D’Anton Lynn is the latest to attempt the daunting task.

The first-year defensive coordinator knows reclamation projects. He turned UCLA into one of the best defenses in the Pac-12 in just one season. It was the 34-year-old’s first time coaching in college, and he hopes to use the experience to produce similar, if not better, results at USC.

“The one thing I learned fast is that you can’t assume anything,” Lynn said last month. “In the NFL, there’s a certain level that you just assume the guys know. But in college, you don’t know these kids’ background at all. So, I felt like it made me a way better teacher, because you really assume that these kids don’t know any football at all and you have to coach the room as if they don’t, because probably someone in the room doesn’t.”

Lynn’s defense is built on obnoxious communication, shocking effort and attacking the football. He wants to “make a little look like a lot.” The scheme, linebackers coach Matt Entz said, is a loose 4-2-5 structure. There are multiple coverages in the secondary and a variety of front movements to create necessary pressure, but all the defensive coaches left room to experiment as they continue to learn about their new players.

“I’m trying to go into the spring with an open mind,” Lynn said. “I think you kinda just have to see, how do these guys adapt to the scheme? And again, we’re going to adapt the scheme to the guys as well.”

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