Replacing Cam Smith at Linebacker And More USC Football News


Can’t get enough USC football news? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… News came out during Clay Helton’s Saturday night conference call that freshman linebacker Cam Smith would miss the remainder of the season with an ACL tear. With Lamar Dawson joining him on the season-ending injury list due to a shoulder issue, middle inside linebacker now goes from the Trojans’ deepest position on the roster, to being devoid of much experience or form.

Olajuwon Tucker and Michael Hutchings are now listed as co-starters on USC’s depth chart for this upcoming week against Oregon. Tucker, a true sophomore, has yet to get significant or consistent snaps, while Hutchings has periodically seen time as a reserve in each of his three seasons to date.

Hutchings’s biggest claim to fame thus far might be his understudy role for Hayes Pullard last year, He played the fourth quarter against Stanford and started the Boston College game following a targeting penalty by Pullard. But despite looking like the heir apparent at the Mike, he fell all the way down to third-pegging on the depth chart due to the strong play of Smith and Dawson.

Put it all together and the losses of the top two middle inside linebackers is on par, if not more damaging than the losses of Max Tuerk and Toa Lobendahn at center.

Cam Smith hasn’t just been USC’s best linebacker aside from Su’a Cravens, he finished his season as the team’s leading tackler and is tops among Pac-12 freshmen.  He’s likely to keep the conference distinction, as Colorado’s Rick Gamboa is 20 tackles behind Smith and won’t have the luxury of playing in a bowl game.

Without him, the Trojans have to go into Autzen Stadium to face the conference’s top rushing team. Oregon is averaging a whopping 293.6 rushing yards in Pac-12 play, and ran at a 6.42 yards per carry clip in their win over Stanford.

Can Tucker and Hutchings save the day for USC’s linebacker corps? We’ll find out. It’ll be baptism by fire, with the Pac-12 South crown on the title in the final two games. The Trojans control their own destiny going into games with Oregon and UCLA.

And Ten USC Football News Links…

  1. Reign of Troy: Just like everyone expected a month ago, USC enters their final two games of the season in the Pac-12 South driver’s seat. Oh, you didn’t expect that? Alicia de Artola breaks down the race.
  2. Reign of Troy: For the first time in the Clay Helton era, the Trojans are a ranked team.
  3. Reign of Troy: USC kicks off the week as underdogs against Oregon, who are fresh off a big win over Stanford.
  4. Sports Illustrated: So much carnage in the Pac-12 has brought the age-old question back to the surface: are 9-game schedules a good idea?
  5. ESPN: The Trojans have a ‘golden opportunity’ says Garry Paskwietz. But can they survive the injuries?
  6. ESPN: With all of the mayhem in the Pac-12 this past weekend, the Trojans are suddenly soaring up the conference’s power rankings.
  7. Adoree’ Jackson had just one offensive snap vs. Colorado, but it was “business as usual”, says Patrick Ridgell.
  8. LA Times: Andy Enfield’s Trojan basketball team beat San Diego in the season opener, but will face Monmouth on Monday night. Monmouth stunned UCLA on Friday night.
  9. Daily Trojan: Jake Davidson of the DT takes a look at those hooping Trojans and how they’ll be improved this year.
  10. The Ripsit Blog: USC played a game, which means there’s a brand new set of pictures from John McGillen.

Stat of the Day:

JuJu Smith-Schuster is on pace to finish year with 1,508 rec yards, which would be third in USC history for a single season. However, that pace is over the course of 13 games, and if the Trojans can win the Pac-12 South, Smith-Schuster will get an extra 60 minutes. Can get pass second-ranked Johnnie Morton’s 1,520 yards in 1993? We’ll see. Smith-Schuster would need to average 141 yards over four games to pass Marqise Lee’s season record of 1,721 set in 2012.

Tweets of the Day: