clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game Preview: USC Offense

New, 21 comments

With it now being game week, we wanted to give Alabama fans an introduction to USC’s roster heading into Saturday’s showdown.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback

Colorado v USC Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Starters:

4 Max Browne (RS Jr.) - Browne is a former five-star player who was supposed to become the next Matt Leinart at USC. Thus far, it hasn’t played out that way, but there is still time with him having two years of eligibility left. At 6’5 220, Browne has the size and arm strength you want from your quarterback, but questions still remain on whether or not the redshirt junior from Sammamish, Washington can lead USC to a Pac-12 championship.

Another Name to Know:

14 Sam Darnold (RS Fr.) - In a lot of ways, Darnold has actually outplayed Browne on the field. Ultimately, it came down to experience for Clay Helton and the rest of the coaching staff. Darnold possesses size (6’4 225) and he brings mobility to the position. It’s no sure thing he plays at all against Alabama, but don’t be surprised if he is utilized in some designed packages.

Running Back

UCLA v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Starters:

22 Justin Davis (Sr.) - Davis was an eight game starter in 2015, and he has been a steady producer since earning more playing time. At only 6’1 200, Davis has a lean frame that doesn’t help him in the power department. Still, the senior from Stockton, California should put up respectable numbers behind USC’s impressive offensive line.

Another Name to Know:

25 Ronald Jones II (So.) - Truth be told, Jones II isn’t just “another name to know”. Even though he isn’t considered the starter, he is the most talented running back on on the Trojans’ roster. As a true freshman in 2015, Jones II was able to put up 987 rushing yards (which broke the school record for most rushing yards by a freshman), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him build off those numbers and combine with Davis to make a solid 1-2 punch in USC’s backfield.

Tight End/Fullback

USC v Colorado Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Starters:

48 Taylor McNamara (RS Sr.) - McNamara is a former four-star tight end that originally went to Oklahoma in 2012. After graduating in only three years, McNamara decided to spend his last two seasons in Los Angeles, and he has been welcomed addition to the Trojan family. McNamara started 11 games in 2015 and had 13 receptions for 87 yards and four touchdowns. Not eye-popping numbers, but McNamara is a balanced player for the Trojans.

47 Rueben Peters (RS So.) - Peters is a former walk-on linebacker who switched to fullback in the offseason and ended up earning a scholarship. A great feel-good story, Peters is the type of guy you pull for and it will be interesting to see how the undersized fullback (6’0 225) holds up in the Pac-12. Peters will probably only see the field a marginal percentage of the time, so don’t expect to see him too much.

Another Name to Know:

82 Tyler Petite (So.) - Petite is in a similar situation to the one that Ronald Jones II finds himself in. He is the most talented tight end on the roster, but he is stuck in a rotational role until 2017 when McNamara graduates. Petite is a much better receiving option, and his added weight going from 223 to 235 should help him with an increased workload. As a true freshman in 2015, the former four-star put up 145 yards on 15 receptions and one touchdown.

Wide Receiver

Pac-12 Championship - Stanford v USC Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Starters:

9 JuJu Smith-Schuster (Jr.) - Smith-Schuster is the best player on the Trojans’ roster -- although, an argument could be made for cornerback Adoree Jackson. Smith-Schuster is a complete player who possesses naturally strong hands, displays physicality, runs solid routes and gets his hands dirty as a blocker in the run game. The battle between him and the Alabama secondary will be one of the best match-ups to watch.

1 Darreus Rogers (Sr.) - Rogers has played in 31 games over his first three years at USC, but he has never even broken 300 receiving yards during any season. The 6’1 215 pound senior has had an underwhelming career up to this point, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the younger guys push him for playing time.

7 Steven Mitchell (RS Jr.) - So far in his career, Mitchell has been a disappointment. Injuries have had their way with the redshirt junior from Pasadena, California, but it’s starting to sound like he is finally healthy for the first time in his USC career. Last year, Mitchell finished with 37 receptions, 335 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. If he can stay healthy, look for Mitchell to build on those numbers and have a breakout year for the Trojans.

Another Name to Know:

6 Michael Pittman Jr. (Fr.) - Adoree Jackson should see a reduced role on offense this season, and that might end up opening the door for the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman to make an impact as a true freshman. The former four-star, Rivals top 100 receiver from Thousand Oaks, California has nice frame (6’4 210) with the ability to go up and get the ball at the highest point. Don’t be surprised if Pittman ends up seeing a decent amount of snaps against the Tide on Saturday.

Offensive Line

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Starters:

72 Chad Wheeler (RS Sr.) - After only being a three-star coming out of high school, Wheeler has developed into one of the best offensive linemen that USC has to offer. The redshirt senior has 34 career starts under his belt, but injuries have also taken their toll. It’s starting to look more and more likely that Wheeler won’t be able to go Saturday, which would be a huge blow to a Trojan offensive line that has the task of slowing down Tim Williams, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson.

77 Chris Brown (RS So.) - Brown has been in a heated battle with Damien Mama, who was the starter in 2015. The 6’5 300 pound redshirt sophomore from Los Angeles appears to have a slight lead over Mama, but bother players are listed as co-starters on the initial depth chart and both should play against Alabama on Saturday.

50 Toa Lobendahn (Jr.) - Since joining the USC program in 2014, Lobendahn has been a versatile offensive lineman who has started at four different positions. Last year, Lobendahn was moved to center following the season-ending injury to now San Diego Chargers center Max Tuerk, and he performed well there until he suffered his own knee injury that cost him the rest of his season in 2015. Lobendahn looks healthy heading into the season, and should be a pivotal part of USC’s offensive unit.

60 Viane Talamaivo (Jr.) - Talamaivo started eight games in 2015, but played in all but one (Oregon). As a true freshman in 2014, he started the last 11 games which shows the type of experience that he brings to the table. At 6’2 315, the Moreno Valley native is a shorter, stockier offensive guard who is more polished as a run blocker than he is a pass protector at this point in his career. He has dealt with some injuries during his time at USC, so staying healthy is a must for the true junior if USC wants to maintain their experience advantage along the offensive line.

73 Zach Banner (RS Sr.) - Banner is a mountain of a man. At 6’9 360, the former five-star is one of the most physically impressive players in the country. What is even more impressive is how well Banner can move for a guy his size. He is one of the top offensive tackle prospects in college football, and he will be a handful for Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson. This should be one of the more underrated match-ups of the game.

Another Name to Know:

51 Damien Mama (Jr.) - After earning Pac-12 All-American Honorable Mention status last year, Mama might not even end up being the starter this season. The previously mentioned Chris Brown has had an impressive fall camp, and it’s looking more and more likely that Mama could lose out to the redshirt sophomore. Still, Mama is a talented player who should earn plenty of playing time this season. At 6’4 325, the junior from Moreno Valley, California has NFL caliber size, and he is your typical mauler that opens up lanes in the run game.

70 Chuma Edoga (So.) - Edoga is the player who will probably end up in the starting lineup if Chad Wheeler can’t go at left tackle. As a true freshman in 2015, the former five-star prospect from Powder Springs, Georgia played in 13 games while starting two at right tackle. Last year, when Wheeler went down with an injury, the coaching staff decided to move starting right tackle Zach Banner to the left side and inserted Edoga into the starting lineup at right tackle. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year as Edoga has lined up at left tackle so far with Wheeler sidelined. Either way, it’ll be tough for Edoga to go against Alabama’s ultra-talented pass rushers in Tim Williams and Jonathan Allen.