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March 29, 2007Josh Pinkard has had to watch from the sidelines as a highly touted blue-chip recruit took the reigns at free safety and thrived.
Over the last year Pinkard put in his time as a reserve his first two seasons with the Trojans, and then tragically blew-out his knee when it was his time to shine. But the time is coming quickly when Pinkard will find himself healthy enough to be back out on the football field, however he will be back to competing for playing time.
Strangely enough, he couldn't be happier or more excited about the pending competition.
"Nobody is going to butt heads," Pinkard said in his sadly perfect white jersey. "We're just going to play hard and cover our assignments and whoever comes out on top is going to start."
Pinkard is the personification of what Pete Carroll looks for in a football player. He's a team-first guy, tremendously gifted athletically, with an aggressive and competitive side.
He was pegged as one of the true playmakers and leaders on a young defensive team, which made his knee injury so devastating last year.
The knee, fortunately, appears to be close to completely recovered. "I'm recovering well, I started doing drills today and it felt great," Pinkard said confidently. "I'll start getting into seven-on-seven and limited contact stuff soon."
When Pinkard comes back he's going to be competing against Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison for playing time, both of who were honored with being named amongst the best in the Pac-10 last season.
However, Pinkard isn't going to hurry his recovery because of the competition.
"When I feel like it's the right time I'll get out there and compete fully, but not until I feel I'm ready."
One of Pinkard's greatest attributes is his versatility; he's capable of playing either safety position, and even saw time as a starting cornerback in the M.A.S.H unit of 2005.
Expect to see him exclusively at one of the safety positions this year, whether this is due to great depth at CB or a loss of some athleticism because of the knee injury is up to speculation. Either way, this won't keep Pinkard from getting on the field any way possible.
"I'm going to be playing safety, but we'll have a couple man calls where I can show my cover skills."
When Pinkard talks about the progress that Mays and Ellison have made he seems more like a proud father, rather than a potential competitor. And at the end of the day, he genuinely wants the best for the team and realizes the benefit of having too many talented guys, instead of too few.
""We're just trying to come together between now and the end of the summer so we can really get rolling. It's a good situation to be in [with Mays and Ellison], it's a win-win."
For the inside scoop on what is going on during spring football including live practice report postings, make sure you read The Peristyle!
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If you missed a day or just want to see what has been going on, there is no better Trojan spring football resource than USCFootball.com's Spring Ball Central!
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more photos, interviews and video features!