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Quinton Powell gets another chance on defense in his final season at USC

Quinton Powell gets another chance on defense in his final season at USC
USC defenders -- including Quinton Powell (52), Torin Harris (4), Michael Hutchings (19) and Jabari Ruffin (40) -- celebrate after stopping the Stanford offense on Nov. 16, 2013. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's return to USC couldn't come quick enough for Quinton Powell.

The senior linebacker spent two seasons relegated to special teams, but Pendergast, who coached Powell his freshman season, inserted him on defense this spring.

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"I kind of found myself shying away from the talents that I came here with, forgot about them kind of, and these new coaches are reminding me of stuff like that," said Powell, a former four-star recruit who played on defense as a freshman.

Said Coach Clay Helton: "He's one guy when Clancy came in, he said, 'Hey, I'm giving everybody a clean slate.' ... I think Quinton is the happiest guy that Clancy is here."

Pendergast moved Powell, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, from outside to inside linebacker.

"He is very explosive and really can run sideline to sideline, so I'm really happy with his progress so far," Pendergast said.

Powell will try to gain 15 pounds by fall camp to better fit playing inside, but he said speed was most important in Pendergast's defense.

"At first you have to get adjusted to the physicality as far as getting off bigger guys and stuff like that, but for the most part, it is something that you keep practicing and you get way better at it," Powell said.

USC will hold a spring scrimmage April 16 at the Coliseum.

Twitter: @LindseyThiry

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