USC Coach Steve Sarkisian wants to find eight offensive linemen to use in a rotation for his up-tempo offense.
Before redshirt freshman Khaliel Rodgers suffered a knee injury, it appeared Sarkisian’s rotation was taking shape.
Sophomore Chad Wheeler is a returning starter at left tackle, junior center Max Tuerk has started at guard and tackle and senior Aundrey Walker has started at guard and tackle. Sophomore Zach Banner played in two games last season as a reserve tackle.
Sarkisian could play three freshmen in Aug. 30's season opener against Fresno State at the Coliseum. Toa Lobendahn, Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao all have taken significant reps at guard.
“Their biggest challenge, I’d say, is playing with confidence,” said Tuerk, who started as a freshman. Sarkisian said youth on the line is easily mistaken for lack of depth.
“We probably have more depth on the offensive line than we get credit for,” Sarkisian said. “That’s just a tribute to our three young guys and what they’ve been able to bring.”