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August 6, 2014
New opportunities for Jahleel Pinner
Jahleel Pinner and Soma Vainuku are the only two scholarship fullbacks on the roster, but they are being called on to help out at two other positions as well, tailback and tight end.
We caught up with Jahleel Pinner to get his thoughts on the role of the fullback position in this offense and how fall camp has been going for him two practices in.
"Camp has been going pretty good," Pinner said. "Everybody's getting back to how it was during spring. So, it's a little bit slow, but today the offense looked pretty good and the defense looked really good yesterday. So it's been pretty good."
During the spring the offensive depth was lacking, with many of the players hurt and held out. But now just about everyone on the injury list has returned and is practicing once again.
"More people equals more reps," Pinner said. "That's always a good thing. With our offense, everybody needs reps and everybody is going to get reps because of the fast pace. The more bodies you have, the better it is for the team."
Steve Sarkisian may have gone overboard on the reps to open practice, getting in 210 of them on day one.
"I mean, with this offense you're going to need a lot of repetition," Pinner said. "The offense is very simple, but the repetitions are needed because of how fast we go. We gotta be perfect with it. 210 reps? It didn't really feel like 210 reps, but that's what we gotta do."
In Sark's offense Pinner knows his responsibilities have changed.
"A lot more running this year," Pinner said. "We're getting out, like, they're sending us on go routes, flats, and they make us run the ball more, a lot more this year. So it's way different."
There are also multiple looks that could get Pinner the ball, not just filling in for an injured tailback.
"It just depends on the formation," Pinner said. "In two-back sets, either the fullback can get the ball or the tailback or we can do the regular fullback blocking and the tailback gets the ball."
Another aspect of this offense is the close, almost interchangeable, relationship between the fullbacks and the tight ends.
"The tight ends are kinda the same as fullbacks because we do a lot of the same stuff," Pinner said. "But at the same time, the fullbacks have to know a lot of the running back stuff, also. So we kinda got know both, but it's not too bad.
"We work with both groups. When we meet in the meeting room, we meet with Coach Tuiasosopo and the tight ends to go over stuff. But we do work with Coach Nansen and the running backs, so we get both."
With Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick academically ineligible for this season, it should mean even more chances to get the ball for Pinner.
"I'm just looking at it as more opportunities and more reps," Pinner said. "I mean, it sucks that he's out, but everybody's gotta step up even though somebody else goes down."
The Trojans kick the season off hosting Fresno State at the Coliseum on August 30.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for all the latest news and notes on the USC Trojan football team.
Ryan Abraham has been the publisher of USCFootball.com since 1996. You can follow him on Twitter at @InsideTroy.