The No. 1 question: the offensive line

April, 14, 2011
4/14/11
4:58
PM PT
There are six scholarship offensive linemen available for the Trojans in the spring -- Matt Kalil, Jeremy Galten, David Garness, Martin Coleman, John Martinez and Giovanni DiPoalo.

Two more are expected to be ready for the fall -- Kevin Graf and Khaled Holmes -- and two more potential players this year will also arrive in the fall in Aundrey Walker and Cyrus Hobbi.

For now, the group is mostly known as Kalil and five other guys. Trojans coach Lane Kiffin was asked Thursday's practice if any of those five others have stood out in the spring as potential starters.

"No," he said, point-blank. "Unfortunately not. I’m impressed with Jeremy Galten’s toughness, having him playing with a grade-2 MCL and not having missed a bit. That’s good to see.

"But none of those guys have performed like starters would need to for us, outside of Matt."

A projected starting five-man line for the fall likely includes at least one of those five players. Kalil will start at left tackle, and it's safe to assume Holmes will start at center and Graf will start somewhere else. Assuming one of the freshmen are able to seize a spot right away, that would still require one of the rag-tag bunch suiting up for dozens of snaps each Saturday in the fall, which doesn't exactly seem promising at this point in the spring.

Galten and Garness, junior-college products, are both tough. Coleman's the biggest of the bunch. DiPoalo's young and still developing; Martinez is smart but has had some off-field troubles. All of the players come with faults that hinder their viability as starters.

"They're just a long ways away from the whole package," Kiffin said. "Some guys aren’t developed enough. Some guys aren’t playing fast enough because they’re new to it; they haven’t caught on to the system.

"This offseason will be big for them, and obviously this fall, that will be the No. 1 question by far on our team."

We'll see if it ever gets answered.
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