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USC FOOTBALL

The 2009 Trojans at a glance

Defense looks strong as usual, but the offense could endure some growing pains. The schedule will do USC no favors, either.

September 03, 2009|Gary Klein

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Matt Barkley.

Tailback: Joe McKnight.

Fullback: Stanley Havili.

Wide receivers: Damian Williams, David Ausberry.

Tight end: Anthony McCoy.

Tackles: Charles Brown (L), Tyron Smith (R).

Guards: Butch Lewis (L), Alex Parsons (R).

Center: Jeff Byers

Top reserves: QB Aaron Corp; RBs Stafon Johnson, Allen Bradford and C.J. Gable; WR Brice Butler.

Predicted grade: B-

The offensive line is experienced and deep and so is the running back corps. But going with a true freshman at quarterback is an unpredictable variable. Barkley has the talent and presence to lead the team, but it remains to be seen if he can play within the system without costly misjudgments. The loss of starting receiver Ronald Johnson because of a broken collarbone puts more pressure on Barkley and Williams.

DEFENSE

Ends: Everson Griffen, Wes Horton.

Tackles: Christian Tupou, Jurrell Casey.

Linebackers: Chris Galippo, Malcolm Smith, Michael Morgan.

Cornerbacks: Kevin Thomas, Josh Pinkard.

Safeties: Taylor Mays, Will Harris.

Top reserves: DE Malik Jackson; DTs Averell Spicer and Hebron Fangupo; CBs T.J. Bryant and Brian Baucham.

Predicted grade: A-

If end Armond Armstead had not broken his foot and if cornerback Shareece Wright was eligible, the grade would be even higher. Now, an already thin linebacker corps must support a line going through transition. The secondary remains perhaps the best in college football, but Wright was the clampdown corner. This is still a unit with the potential to run down opponents, but Galippo must remain healthy because depth at linebacker remains an issue.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Jordan Congdon.

Punter: Billy O'Malley.

Long snapper: Cooper Stephenson.

Predicted grade: B-

The addition of special teams coach Brian Schneider should upgrade every unit. Congdon will handle field goals, Jacob Harfman kickoffs.

SCHEDULE

SEPT. 5:

San Jose State... 12:30 p.m.

Barkley debuts against coach who created Desert Swarm.

SEPT. 12:

at Ohio State... 5 p.m.

BCS title talk gains traction or ends at the Horseshoe.

SEPT. 19:

at *Washington... 12:30 p.m.

Locker, Sarkisian and Holt make it tougher than it looks.

SEPT. 26:

*Washington State... TBA

Didn't USC play its mock game last month?

OCT. 3:

at *California... 5 p.m.

Trojans must be at their best to stop Cal's Best.

OCT. 17:

at Notre Dame... 12:30 p.m.

It's the only tough game for Irish. Ask Holtz.

OCT. 24:

*Oregon State... 5 p.m.

Trojans relieved they're not in Corvallis.

OCT. 31:

at *Oregon... 5 p.m.

Potential to be Pac-10 game of the year.

NOV. 7:

at *Arizona State... 5 p.m.

Can you say trap game?

NOV. 14:

*Stanford... TBA

Remember last time Cardinal came to town? Carroll does.

NOV. 28:

*UCLA... 7 p.m.

Local recruiting up for grabs under the lights.

DEC. 5:

*Arizona... 12:30 p.m.

Can't look past Wildcats to final BCS standings.

* Denotes Pacific 10 Conference game; home games at Coliseum.

-- Gary Klein

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