USC lineman Nico Falah working for an opportunity

USC lineman Nico Falah working for an opportunity
Offensive lineman Nico Falah participates in a practice drill for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower in June 2012. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Spring practice provides opportunities for returning starters to solidify their holds on positions and new players to make first impressions.

It also serves as perhaps the best chance for developing players to establish themselves as contenders for playing time in the fall.

USC lineman Nico Falah appears to be taking advantage of the opportunity.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Falah has been working at left tackle, mainly with the second unit. Falah, however, also has taken some first-team reps.

"It took awhile, but I'm finally getting my opportunity and I'm trying to make the most of it," Falah said Tuesday after going through some individual footwork drills after practice at the Coliseum.

Falah played at Bellflower St. John Bosco before signing a letter of intent with USC. He redshirted in 2013 and played in three games last season.

When left tackle Chad Wheeler sustained a season-ending knee injury last season, then-freshman Toa Lobendahn filled the spot. Lobendahn continues to work as the starter.

But Falah is working to create a role.

Coach Steve Sarkisian noted the vast majority of players, regardless of their build-up coming out of high school, will not be on track to become starters or Freshman All-Americans. The majority take time to develop.

Sarkisian cited receivers Ajene Harris and Steven Mitchell, quarterback Max Browne and Falah.

"Nico is a classic example of that -- of a guy who's just continuing to work," Sarkisian said, "and he's getting better and he's gaining confidence."