Sarkisian on USC defensive line: ‘It needs to be tough on them’

The USC defensive line needed some reinforcement by the coaching staff Saturday, in the form of post-practice conditioning.

The reasoning behind it was directed at the unit’s questionable effort.

"We’re a little depleted on the defensive front right now," he said. "They’re getting taxed but it needs to be hard right now in spring practice. It needs to be tough on them. We need to be tough on them. Football is a tough sport and we need to develop that mentality so that as tough as any game comes, our guys are going to respond."

A lack of effort didn’t plague the defensive line in the first eight practices. Though, it certainly was visible on the ninth.

"It happens here and there," defensive line coach Chris Wilson said about his group’s lack of effort. "Obviously it’s Saturday. It’s hot. You’d rather be at the beach but we’re at work. And when we’re at work, we’re at work so we don’t count the days.

"We got to learn how to be the same physical, smart, tough guys everyday and that’s the goal."

The defensive line group allowed some big plays Saturday as it’s trying to continue to find the right personnel mix. Of course the loss of potential Top-5 pick Leonard Williams is a tough blow, but the team also is without starting nose tackle Antwaun Woods, who’s sitting out spring practice after undergoing chest surgery last December.

Other injured players include Greg Townsend Jr., who’s out with a foot injury, along with Kenny Bigelow, who missed all of last season due to knee injury is still recovering.

Walk-ons Jeff Miller and Joey Augello have received their fair share of reps this spring, but even Augello missed Saturday’s practice with an injury.

Not exactly a full deck of cards to play with if you’re Sarkisian and Co.