D-line encouragement: It’s no secret that one of the biggest concerns for the Trojans heading into the season was the lack of experience along the defensive line, a situation that wasn’t helped when Wes Horton was forced to miss the game. What this group did against Hawaii, however, was nothing less than encouraging.
It wasn’t just that a single player or two stood out, it was the fact that so many players along the line did something to make a play. Morgan Breslin had a pair of quarterback pressures on third downs that forced incompletions and punts. He also added a sack and two tackles for loss. Greg Townsend, Jr. had a sack that could have qualified as a mauling. Christian Heyward recovered a fumble that led to the Silas Redd touchdown run. Leonard Williams had a sack, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a pass break-up.
Remember, these are all guys who had never played a down for the Trojans before this game. George Uko, the veteran of the group, had a sack and a forced fumble. J.R. Tavai had good intensity and Kevin Greene looked as good as he has in his USC career. When you take this performance and add in the potential return of Horton, suddenly there is reason to be optimistic about the growth curve of the d-line.