Steve Sarkisian, Hayes Pullard

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian works with linebacker Hayes Pullard during spring practice. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / March 11, 2014)

After two days of non-contact practice, USC players will be in shoulder pads for the first time Wednesday as they prepare for their Aug. 30 opener against Fresno State.

New Coach Steve Sarkisian has noted since his hiring in December that the Trojans must strike a balance between preparing for the season and managing a roster still feeling the after-effects of NCAA sanctions.

The Trojans will be in full pads three times in the next week.

“We need to tackle, we need to be physical, we need to be fundamentally sound,” Sarkisian said. “And to do that you need to practice.”

Sarkisian said, however, that technique work could be achieved outside full-scrimmage situations.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to come in a team setting,” he said, adding “it starts with our fundamentals.”

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