If you observed USC defensive end Morgan Breslin during fall camp, chances were you didn’t see much.
Head coach Lan Kiffin likes to use the word “flash.” If a player has a good day of practice or does something that was unexpected, Kiffin will say this player or that player “flashed today.”
He wasn’t saying that a whole lot about Breslin …except when the Trojans would have scrimmages. That’s when Breslin would show up.
He’s played and felt comfortable in game-like situations and so far this season it’s transferred over to the actual games on Saturdays.
Kiffin says Breslin has been “unbelievable” in his first two games as a Trojan.
The junior college transfer from Diablo Valley College is leading the team in tackles for loss with four and is tied with freshman defensive lineman Leonard Williams for the team lead in sacks with two.
Breslin also deflected a pass that led to a Dion Bailey interception in the 42-29 win over Syracuse last Saturday.
“Morgan has probably been, I would say, the surprise of our team where from the spring or the beginning of fall camp until today,” Kiffin said. “It’s great to see. Obviously we’ve needed him, having issues at that position.”
The Trojans’ projected starters at defensive end have yet to play a game this season. Devon Kennard may be out for the entire season after tearing his right pectoral muscle in a weightlifting accident and the team’s most experienced defensive lineman, Wes Horton, has yet to suit up with an undisclosed injury.
Breslin has filled in nicely, continuing what he started in junior college last season where he led the state in both sacks and tackles for loss. In his two-year career at Diablo Valley, Breslin totaled 28 sacks.
Kiffin says Breslin’s emergence is similar to that of running back Curtis McNeal a season ago. In addition to the academics issues he had, McNeal, known around the team as “Moody,” wasn’t the best practice performer and didn’t always exhibit the best effort.
“Once we gave him an opportunity last year he was a gamer,” said Kiffin of McNeal.