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March 28, 2007

Rivers talking spring

Head Coach Pete Carroll has the luxury of coaching the best collection of linebackers in the country.

Senior Keith Rivers leads this deep and talented group from his weakside linebacker spot.

We caught up with Rivers after Tuesday's practice to get his thoughts on the spring and balancing football with school.

"I am just taking the opportunity to get better each day and try to work on stuff," Rivers said after practice. "Work on my recognition of the offense and try to improve."

Spring football practices are intense, but with no opportunities to play opponents for several months, motivation can be an issue.

"It hasn't been that bad," he said. "Once you get to later dates in practice it kind of gets like that. The early dates are fine, you enjoy it and get to put the pads on again. You just get ready to play, ready to improve and make yourself better for next season."

Besides the time Rivers and his teammates spend on football, they also are trudging through the middle of the semester.

"School is alright," Rivers said. "There are a couple of classes that are trying to give me a little trouble, but other than that everything is OK.

"It is hard to balance it all. You don't have a lot of free time so you have to be hard on yourself budgeting your time between football, workouts, practice and class."

As hard as spring football can be on the players, the winter workouts can be even more demanding of the players' time.

"They are both pretty grueling on you," Rivers said. "I would have to say the workouts because they are everyday and with spring ball you get a break in between, every other day or something like that."

There are very high expectations on Rivers and the linebackers for 2007, but it is nothing new for this group.

"We had that kind of pressure last year and we are not really worrying about that," he said. "We are just competing with each other and trying to be the best between each other."

One wrinkle at practice on Tuesday was the implementation of the shotgun offense.

But seeing the quarterback back a few yards from the line of scrimmage didn't really change anything from Rivers' perspective.

"It just gives you a better key. I haven't noticed a run out of the shotgun, so defensively you look at the formation and see what they can run at me. You can just play your pass possibilities while playing run."

For the inside scoop on what is going on during spring football including live practice report postings, make sure you read The Peristyle!

If you are not a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe now and get a 7-day free trial and get all of the inside info being talked about on The Peristyle.

For more on the Trojans this spring, stay tuned to USCFootball.com's Spring Ball Central.

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