Depth on the defensive line has been a storyline since USC’s 2011 campaign came to a close. Greg Townsend was looked to as a potential break out player, but he disappeared into the background as other defensive ends took most of the snaps.
In the last few weeks, Townsend has seen the field in games and practice more often, and it seems like he may soon emerge as the force that fans hoped for. Coach Lane Kiffin expected Townsend’s progression to take some time, and has been impressed with his recent play.
“Greg had a really good two weeks here, this week and last week of practice.” Kiffin said. “It’s good to see. We’ve always pictured that Greg is going to be a really good player. We’ve said it before, there aren’t very many Marqise Lee and Robert Woods stories. You’re only going to have four or five of those around the country every year, when guys come in as true freshman, even though there’s twenty five star players. The majority take a little bit of time and we see the progression with most kids like we’re seeing with Greg.”
Many times that sow progression involves conflicts with coaches about playing time, but that was never the issue with Townsend.
“I had a slow start to the season. I can’t blame them, so I picked it up.” Townsend said. “I know this team needs every individual on this field. I tried to pick up my game as much as I could and make sure go in there isn’t a loss in the stat book. I want it to be just like the one’s are still in. I just want to make sure I play to the best of my ability and help the team out.”
After things slow down for a young player, it becomes easier to apply ability
“The toughest thing was the speed of the game, getting in there, getting the assignments down.” Townsend said. “At the beginning of the season, I was just thinking so much about my assignment that I wasn’t playing hard enough. That was my downfall, but I picked it up and I’m playing fast now.”
Coach Orgeron believes that playing fast has to do with live action play. It’s tough to get a back up some game action in a conference that plays so many close games.
“...Until you get them in live action, you can tell them, but they don’t realize. Then you can go back and show them the film and say we can’t have that.”
Greg Townsend now knows what USC can and can’t have, which is imperative if the Trojans want a Pac 12 championship.