Mar 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Max Wittek (13) huddles with teammates Tre Madden (23) and Randall Telfer (82) at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The USC Trojans have had the past week off because of spring break, and will resume their spring camp sessions on Tues., March 26. The most notable aspect of camp thus far has been the number of athletes that have gone down due to injury, and what that could suggest for the others competing at these positions.
Before it’s time to get back into the practice flow, let’s take a look at some of these injuries and where the Trojans are in terms of recovery:
Max Wittek (knee)
One of the first, and obviously most significant injuries through the first two weeks of spring camp came when Max Wittek missed the first scrimmage because of a “slight” knee injury. It turned out that he sprained his MCL, and sat out the following week as well. In his absence, Cody Kessler and Max Browne have been going head to head in practice, splitting extended reps and having the opportunity to showcase their strengths. For them, Wittek’s injury was an advantage, an opportunity to boost their stock. Wittek could return to practice on Tuesday, but if he continues to be held out and miss more time, it could have serious implications for how this position battle shakes out.
Silas Redd (knee)
The next most significant injury caused the Trojans to lose Silas Redd for the rest of spring, as he recently had surgery to repair a slightly torn meniscus. Redd is USC’s most experienced running back, and it is highly likely that he will keep the starting job once he returns in the fall. But a quartet of backs behind him–Tre Madden, D.J. Morgan, Buck Allen and Justin Davis–are vying for playing time as well. With Redd out, the stage has been set for the remaining weeks of camp to have a very compelling contest at this position as well.
Marqise Lee (knee)
On the same day Wittek got hurt, WR Marqise Lee also dinged his knee. He sat out the last week of practice, but is expected to return after spring break. While there is no doubt Lee will have the starting job come the fall, the time without him has given younger guys like Nelson Agholor, George Farmer and newbie Steven Mitchell an elevated platform of their own.
Dion Bailey (shoulder)
On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest injury blow was dealt to exterior linebacker Dion Bailey, who had shoulder surgery and will miss all of spring camp. When he returns, it is quite possible that Bailey will go back to his natural position of safety, which would be more conducive to his skill set in the new scheme. While he heals, Su’a Cravens, Josh Shaw, Demetrius Wright and occasionally Leon McQuay III will campaign for starting jobs. Like the quarterback spot, this position likely will be in limbo until the fall.
Gerald Bowman (leg)
Bowman has not participated in spring camp and is slated to miss the entirety of it, as he had compartmental surgery because of a torn muscle in his leg. If he is good to go by August, he will be another major player in the safety rotation.
Interior linemen J.R. Tavai, Cody Temple and Greg Townsend Jr., as well as cornerback Kevon Seymour have all missed practices here and there with minor injuries, but all are expected to be back in the regular rotation throughout the rest of camp.
Come Tuesday, the Trojans will be tasked with finding temporary but suitable replacements for some of these injury-laden athletes, as well as continuing to hammer out the make-up of this squad for 2013.