Their leader at safety left for the NFL. A starting cornerback followed. Their usual nickel corner was out for spring. The replacement tore a knee ligament last Tuesday. So as USC began scrimmaging on Saturday afternoon, with its secondary in somewhat rough shape, Isaiah Pola-Mao walked up from his usual perch at safety to line up in the slot, settling into his new, albeit temporary place at nickel.
There aren’t many other options at cornerback. Not after USC lost Max Williams for the year to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.