USC football will be without key lineman Brandon Pili after the senior defender reportedly broke his finger.
USC football came into game week feeling pretty good on the injury front. It turns out the first shoe was just waiting to drop.
Just an hour before the ASU game was set to kickoff, Brandon Pili announced he will miss the season opener because of an injury.
According to Keely Eure of USCFootball.com, the injury is a broken finger.
Brandon Pili is a major injury loss for USC football
USC’s Friday depth chart revealed Pili would start the season as a backup to Marlon Tuipulotu at nose tackle. However, he was still going to be a vital part of the Trojan defensive front with regular substitutions planned.
Not only is Pili one of the larger players upfront for USC, but he’s also one of the most athletic. He is also among the most veteran.
The majority of the Trojans’ depth on the defensive line comes in the form of youngsters.
With Pili out, USC will need to rely on the likes of true freshman Kobe Pepe or get creative with defensive tackles like Caleb Tremblay and Nick Figueroa while thrusting Tuli Tuipulotu into greater action.
The good news is the younger Tuipulotu has received strong reviews throughout training camp. He’ll have to translate those performances into live play on game day.
USC is already without top defensive lineman Jay Tufele after he opted out of the 2020 season with an eye on preparing for the NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Jacob Lichtenstein also opted out, but he intends to return in 2021.
The season opener against ASU is the first time Trojan fans will get to see Todd Orlando’s defense. Much will ride on the efforts of new defensive line coach Vic So’oto, who has been tasked with getting more out of the big men in the trenches.