It has been a rough year for the USC Trojans already and there’s still over a month to go. Quarterback issues in fall camp turned into offensive ineptitude which directly led to the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin. Throughout the rough start, the glaring weakness of the USC program, their lack of depth due to NCAA scholarship limitations, has been put on full display thanks to injuries to key personnel. Things aren’t going to get any better this season after the team announced that linebacker Lamar Dawson and running back Justin Davis would be lost for the season.
Interim head coach Ed Orgeron confirmed to reporters this week that both players would not available the rest of the season. Dawson, a junior, injured his knee earlier this week in practice. He had started all seven games this season at inside linebacker and was fourth on the team in tackles with 35 and had recorded 1.5 sacks, a quarterback pressure and two pass breakups on the year. He was a major piece of the defensive turnaround the Trojans had enjoyed (at least early in the season) and will put a huge strain on the defensive front seven with his absence.
Davis suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week which will end up costing the rest of his freshman season. He had made a major impact so far as a regular part of the tailback rotation for the Trojans, rushing 53 times for 361 yards with six touchdowns and is currently second on the team in rushing. The running back situation now gets razor thin for USC who just got Silas Redd back from injury but have been struggling to keep Tre Madden on the field due to hamstring issues.
In short, the depth issue for USC is only getting worse. Add on the fact that Marqise Lee has a knee that just won’t stay healthy this season and you have Orgeron turning to walk-ons and waterboys (not yet, but soon) just to put 11 warm bodies on the field. Is there any way the Trojans can get healthy enough to salvage the 2013 season? I just don’t think so.