Damien Mama a Game-Time Decision for USC vs. Stanford

By Hank Shaw

After losing would-be starting right guard Khaliel Rodgers late in fall camp, the Trojans could be without yet another starting right guard on Saturday against Stanford.

Big man and true freshman Damien Mama is a “game-time decision” per head coach Steve Sarkisian after missing Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury suffered on Tuesday.

Mama started the season opener vs. Fresno State last week and got a bulk of the first team action in the game. Due to the Trojans’ up-tempo offense, he was subbed hockey style out in spurts for fellow true freshman Viane Talamaivao.

Talamaivao will likely wind up being the benefactor of Mama’s absence should he miss Saturday’s game, or at minimum be limited.

Not having a pivotal offensive lineman against Stanford isn’t anything new for the Trojans. Two years ago, No. 1 USC traveled to the Farm without starting center Khaled Holmes and paid dearly for it.

This go around, being without Mama might not be as crippling.

Rodgers practiced on Wednesday, as did sophomore Jordan Simmons, who got playing time last season. Their participation doesn’t exactly mean that they’ll be cleared for game action on Saturday, but it’s a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of injuries.

Plus, Stanford has a fair amount of youth and inexperience in the front seven, being without now-graduated mainstays Ben Gardner, Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov.

USC vs. Stanford kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and will be broadcast live on ABC with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.