Monday, July 25, 2011
10 questions for fall camp, No. 3: Which offensive freshmen will play?
By Pedro Moura
Nine weekdays remain until the start of fall camp on Aug. 4. Each of those remaining days, we're taking a somewhat-quick look at one question facing the Trojans entering the camp season. They won't necessarily be gigantic questions, but they'll be questions all the same -- and we'll do our best to preview what answers we might receive during camp. During this time, we'll also finish up our first, first look series with previews of the final three 2011 opponents and cover Pac-12 media day in all of its glory.
First on the list of 10 questions involved picking a backup for Matt Barkley; second, a look at the potential second receiver and Brice Butler's chances of earning the spot.
Third is this: Which incoming freshman on the offensive side of the ball stands the best chance of immediately contributing this fall?
The obvious answer to this question is George Farmer, the ex-Gardena Serra receiver who enters into his freshman season already significantly more physically imposing than his old teammate, Robert Woods, and with a similar reputation concerning his work ethic and acumen.
But, considering the circumstances at USC, Farmer might be only a good bet -- not the best one. That title likely falls upon the broad shoulders of offensive tackle Aundrey Walker, a product of Ohio State country who surprisingly picked the Trojans over the Buckeyes at the last second in February.
Walker is a huge kid, weighing in at 375 pounds on his 6-foot-6 frame. And, with the current state of the USC offensive line, Walker stands a great chance of starting the season opener against Minnesota in September and the rest of the 2011 season, it would appear.
Two spots on the line are taken, by Matt Kalil (left tackle) and Khaled Holmes (center), respectively. And Kevin Graf has a bead on another job, whether it ends up being right tackle or one of the guard spots.
The other two are wide open, junior-college January enrollees Jeremy Galten and David Garness likely to compete to start with Walker, fellow freshman Cyrus Hobbi and a number of previously-overshadowed returnees like John Martinez and Martin Coleman.
And that's why Walker makes a whole lot of sense as a starter. Put him at right tackle and give him 12 games of experience before he switches over to the left when Kalil potentially leaves for the NFL draft after this year. Or do the same at guard and keep him there as a road-grading run-blocker for the next few years.
Hobbi will also get a chance to play, for the reasons mentioned above. And Farmer will too, because he's already physically developed enough for the position and because USC might need a big-play type if certain players can't stay healthy in fall camp and throughout the season.
Running backs Javorious 'Buck' Allen and Amir Carlisle are two other freshmen who could get an opportunity.
That's it for today. Tuesday we question which incoming freshman on the defensive side of the ball is most likely to make an immediate impact this August.