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Mike London on USC secondary: 'They're young and they're fast'

The Southern California secondary that Virginia quarterback Marc Verica will face Saturday is not as vaunted as others in recent Trojans history. After the 2009 season, USC had to replace all four starters from a defensive backfield that collectively had accumulated 645 tackles, 19 interceptions and 116 starts at the school. The Trojans allowed just 12 passing touchdowns in 2009, the lowest mark in the Pac-10.

This year, the USC defensive backfield features a senior that sat out the 2009 regular season while academically ineligible, a true freshman and two sophomores. The Trojans allowed Hawaii to wrack up 459 passing yards and tally three passing touchdowns in their season-opening 49-36 road win.

Nickell Robey -- the first USC true freshman to start a season opener at cornerback in the post-World War II era -- tied for the team-high with six tackles against Hawaii. Sophomore safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald recorded five and four tackles, respectively. Senior cornerback Shareece Wright tallied three tackles.

The 2010 USC secondary might not appear imposing on paper, but, as Virginia Coach Mike London noted, "if they’re playing, they’re good."

"They’re tall, they’re athletic and they can run," London said. "So we’ll have our work cut out for us in terms of how we attack, you know, the schemes that they present to us."

By Steve Yanda  |  September 7, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
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