If you are looking at some concern areas for tomorrow, keep an eye on the right side of the offensive line, where guard Khaliel Rodgers and tackle Zach Banner are first-time starters. Not to mention left guard Toa Lobendahn, a true freshmen.
The other area is the secondary, where Chris Hawkins and Gerald Bowman are first-time starters and Leon McQuay a sure-bet to start at safety. The only player starting tomorrow that started in 2013 is cornerback Kevon Seymour.
Offensive line and the secondary, the perennial areas of concern.
Perhaps this is the most important part of the depth chart. Players who are missing. Among the most notable: Su’a Cravens, Justin Davis, Lamar Dawson, Michael Hutchings, Steven Mitchell, Josh Shaw, Randall Telfer, Soma Vainuku, Aundrey Walker, Leonard Williams.
Former USC defensive limeman Armond Armstead’s lawsuit might end up going to a jury trial though not anytime soon after a judge’s ruling today. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos tentatively denied motions to dismiss the case but has not made a final decision.
A trial would not start until March, 2015 because Armstead’s lawyers want more time. Armstead alleges USC team doctors gave him painkillers that caused a heart attack. Full story here
Of the five new players that enrolled in January, offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn and defensive tackle Claude Pelon are battling for playing time. Lobendahn is currently starting at guard but the line is shorthanded because of injuries. Pelon is trying to make the rotation at tackle, a deep position with Leonard Williams, Antwaun Woods and Delvon Simmons.
There seems to be no logical reason for an offensive player to wear No. 55, the most-hallowed number in his USC history and reserved for a top linebacker. But now we have conflicting reasons for how offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn is now No. 55.
“I asked for No. 54 but they just gave (55) to me,” Lobendahn said. “If (Steve Sarkisian) was to give me another number I’d wear it too.”
One problem: There is no No. 54 on the team.
Earlier in the spring, Sarkisian said Lobendahn was promised No. 55 by Lane Kiffin: “It was something that came up in conversation with the previous staff and it was the right thing to do. Somebody has to wear some numbers.”