Zach Banner will start in place of Chad Wheeler at left tackle as the redshirt junior has yet to be cleared after suffering a concussion against Notre Dame, USC interim head coach Clay Helton indicated after practice Thursday.
With Banner filling in at left tackle, his spot on the opposite side of the line will be covered by true freshman Chuma Edoga, who will make the first start of his career on the offensive line.
Wheeler has been one of the Trojans’ more consistent lineman and after his ACL injury last season the unit noticeably dropped in level. Last time, Toa Lobendahn stepped in for Wheeler for the remainder of the season. This time around, Lobendahn is already covering for Max Tuerk, who was lost for the season due to a knee injury, at center.
In light of these developments, USC enters a tough match up up front against powerful Utah without the two most experienced players on the line.
Other injury news at USC was not positive either. Receivers Steve Mitchell and Darreus Rogers are unlikely to play for the Trojans against Utah.
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Mitchell remains hobbled by a sprained ankle he suffered against Washington while Rogers, who caught four passes at Notre Dame, re-aggravated the hamstring problem which had kept him out before. Isaac Whitney, who broke his collarbone last week, has also sat out of practice this week.
Injuries throughout the receiving corps mean the Trojans will rely on Jalen Greene and Deontay Burnett again this week. On the plus side, the two combined for five catches and looked capable against Notre Dame.
The most intriguing side of this situation remains the usage of cornerback-receiver Adoree’ Jackson. He spent most of the week practicing with the offense for the first time since the season began. Expectations are that he may spend most of his time there against Utah as well.