June 19, 2008

Wright takes competition personally

The USC football program strives on the idea of competition more than any other.

The Trojans recruit depth, turning practices into positional battles that last through the bowl season. The offseason workouts strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle prepares with his staff are peppered with head-to-head work, forcing players to battle one another without a ball.

While junior cornerback Shareece Wright appreciates the constant competition, the constant encouraging and the constant guidance, Wright has a different idea about competition.

For him, it all starts on the inside.

"You can't get a day off no matter what. Even though the guy next to you is just as good, you have to compete with your self," Wright said. "If you're a real competitor, you're never going to take a day off. You'll make yourself go hard.

"Within our DB's, we have a lot guys who want to be great like that."

Wright's currently penciled in opposite senior Cary Harris, but with Kevin Thomas and Josh Pinkard back from injuries, nothing is certain.

"This year, I feel like I'm going to be a big factor in our defense," Wright said. "We have four good corners with me, Cary, KeTo and Josh Pinkard."

Pinkard's return especially put a big smile on Wright's face.

"He adds a lot. It's been two years. We missed his leadership," Wright said. "Having him out there, it's been a little bit of an inspiration. That had to be tough. I want to see him do well.

"I know he struggled the past few years, and I'm just so happy to see him out here with us."

Wright, though, isn't worried about losing reps to anyone.

"If I do what I know I can do," he said, "I should be one of the guys making a lot of big impacts."

It's that internal fire that hasn't had Wright reaching for the snooze button on his alarm before workouts this summer.

"It's easy to come out here. Coach Carlisle does all these things for a reason. We're separated with all of us going at different times," Wright said. "I feel good. My body feels good. I feel like we're doing a good job working together as a team, picking each other up in the weight room, motivating each other.

"We're getting things going."

Wright wasn't able to test with the rest of Trojans after the Trojan Huddle due to a rib injury. The nick hasn't slowed him, though, this summer.

"I'm feeling better now, and I'm running and jumping," he said. "Everything's fine."

Wright said he plans on getting his body right this summer. When he gets to start working with secondary coach Rocky Seto, it'll be time for his mind.

"I'm just looking forward to working with Coach Seto. That's one thing I know will elevate my game," Wright said. "Getting more physical, strong and fast, that's just half of the game. Learning the game is what separates the great players from the regular ones."

Until then, the next step for Wright and the defense will be working with the receivers in one-on-one drills and seven=on-seven work later this week.

"It doesn't feel like practice because there aren't any balls or hard thinking," Wright said. "It's just doing drills, getting better and competing. It's been a while since we've been out there. Offensive guys talk a lot; we speak with how we play.

"We're not going to do too much talking; we're excited to play."

Whether it's gabbing receivers or lack of public accolades for the Trojans' last line of defense, Wright's not too worried. He knows inside what the unit's capable of.

"It's one of those things we're really let our lay speak for itself. We're not too big on what people have to say outside of our group," he said. "We stick to ourselves, and we do what we can do.

"That's what we can control. Whatever happens after that, happens."


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