The USC football season is less than an hour from kickoff, which means all those burning questions that media and fans have been asking all offseason could soon have answers.
On the answers front, kickoff brings with it a sense of clarity particularly on the injury front.
Thankfully, the Trojans haven’t had to deal with the same kind of devastating injury problems they faced in 2013.
The only season-long casualties expected to have contributed this year are defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow, linebacker Jabari Ruffin and tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick whose absence stems from academic issues.
Here’s an update on the more short-term injury and inactive concerns for USC tonight:
RB Tre Madden — The redshirt junior running back has been listed as a game-time decision but with a boot still protecting his injured toe during practice this week, it seems unlikely he’ll play a role in the opener. Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News reported that Madden could even miss the first three games while Steve Sarkisian stated that the staff would be cautious about rushing him back too soon. If Buck Allen and Justin Davis stay healthy it’s hard to imagine they will risk aggravating what could become a nagging injury.
OG Khaliel Rodgers — Rodgers sprained his knee about a week ago and was given a timetable of seven to ten days to return. Like Madden, it appears that Rodgers could tough it out and play in an emergency situation but that would likely only happen if both Damien Mama and Aundrey Walker were unavailable.
S Josh Shaw — The story has been hashed and rehashed enough already, so suffice it to say the senior captain will miss the opener because of an indefinite suspension and high ankle sprains in both legs. Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins has been confirmed as the starter in his place.
LB Lamar Dawson — Dawson has been ruled out for the Fresno State game as he continues to rehab his knee. It’s probable the senior will have to wait a few weeks to see the field.
OG Jordan Simmons — The redshirt sophomore could be back to speed soon, but not this week. He will miss the game against the Bulldogs while continuing his recovery from last year’s knee injury.