Keeping the pitch going

LOS ANGELES -- One of the important assignments for the USC coaching staff in the coming weeks is going to be playing defense, as they will need to guard against the most cunning moves of opposing coaches who will do anything to win. We're not talking about the actual games here; we're talking about recruiting.

The Trojans have taken a very different approach with the class of 2013 as all 18 available spots were filled with verbal commitments before the start of fall camp. Lane Kiffin talked about one of the big advantages of that strategy being that they would be able to devote more time to the current team during the season rather than putting the usual effort into recruiting.

That's not to say that the coaches are ignoring recruiting this fall; it just means the process is a little different this year. Instead of focusing on trying to lure prospects to USC, the coaches are simply looking to maintain commitments from players who have already said they are coming.