Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive tackle Claude Pelon (90) against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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First Take… Is it time to worry about USC’s defensive line?
There was cause for concern from a production standpoint against Stanford, as the Cardinal offensive line rebuffed every effort by the Trojan defense to rush quarterback Kevin Hogan or slow Christian McCaffrey.
But those worries were partially alleviated by an improved performance against ASU and adjustments along the defensive front.
Now there is cause for concern from an injury standpoint.
Defensive lineman Claude Pelon went down with an ankle sprain during practice Monday and had to be carted off the field. While there is no word on the severity of the injury, it is further proof of the war of attrition going on in the trenches for USC.
Other programs have dealt with crushing season-ending injury blows, so the Trojans’ luck has actually been fairly good so far this season. However, the most vulnerable unit on the squad is now the one dealing with the most injury problems, which spells trouble for later this season.
Pelon’s ankle, plus freshman contributor Jacob Daniel’s hamstring, Antwaun Woods’ aggravated pectoral, and Jordan Simmons’ continued absence means depth along the defensive line is shaky. Woods will likely play, but Daniel and Pelon are in doubt for Washington.
Though the Trojans should be able to cope this Thursday against a still-developing Washington offense, match ups with physical teams like Notre Dame and Utah present more difficult obstacles if USC’s health in the trenches doesn’t improve.
And Ten USC Football News Links…
- Reign of Troy: We’ve got five things you should watch for when USC takes on Washington, including Sarkisian vs. Peterson take three, bye week coaching, slowing the Trojan offense and Thursday curses.
- CBS Sports: Pat Haden proves he’s just a really classy person by sending a get-well-soon letter to Myles Jack after his season-ending knee injury.
- LA Times: As Lindsey Thiry points out, Utah now has better odds to win the College Football Playoff, standing 22-1 versus the Trojans’ 25-1. Of course, the fine margin between the two odds speaks numbers about the real chances between a team ranked No. 5 in the nation against a team ranked No. 17.
- Daily News: USC’s defense is excited to face a true freshman quarterback prone to turnovers, but no one is more excited than middle linebacker Cameron Smith, who’s high school Granite Bay used to face Jake Browning’s Folsom each year.
- OC Register: Last year all the talk was on Steve Sarkisian’s new offense upping the tempo and running more plays than the Trojans ever had. This year, with USC averaging just 66 plays per game, the focus has been on the quality of each play, not the quantity.
- USCFootball.com: Linebackers coach Peter Sirmon believes that all the playing time for USC’s freshman will yield dividends soon enough. With 33 first-time players seeing the field the Trojans are second in the nation behind only TCU.
- ESPN: Johnny Curren caught up with 2017 recruit Stephen Carr who says he’s a solid commit to USC and has enjoyed forging relationships with other future Trojans. Curren also runs down some Trojan recruiting action from the weekend.
- Reign of Troy: If you hadn’t heard, ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary season will air a film about the Pete Carroll era at USC next Wednesday. They released a trailer for “Trojan War” yesterday.
- Sports Illustrated: Zac Ellis pegs USC’s Thursday night contest with Washington as a showcase game for Cody Kessler in the Heisman race.
- Reign of Troy: Silas Redd is reportedly the first known player to collect on loss of value insurance after he went undrafted in 2014.
Stat of the Day:
Jake Browning has a higher passer rating this season than fellow true freshman Pac-12 quarterback Josh Rosen.
Tweets of the Day:
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers