First it was receivers Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers.
Now it is tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer, and fullbacks Soma Vainuku and Jahleel Pinner.
With All-American receiver Marqise Lee struggling through injuries that limited him or forced him to sit out games, USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton has expanded the playbook and is utilizing more players in the passing game as the Trojans head into Saturday’s matchup with No. 22 UCLA at the Coliseum.
In last week’s victory at Colorado, Grimble caught a season-high six passes. Telfer, who has struggled because of injuries, caught a touchdown pass, his first reception in six games.
Vainuku had two receptions, Pinner one.
Helton’s spread-the-ball mentality could bode well for the No. 23 Trojans, who will face a UCLA team that ranks 67th among 123 major-college teams in pass-efficiency defense.
Lee, who did not make the Colorado trip because of a shin injury, attended Monday’s short non-contact workout but did not participate in team drills. He caught balls fired from a machine and worked with trainers.
Coaches and players are not made available to the media Monday during regular game weeks.
Interim Coach Ed Orgeron said Sunday that he was sure Lee would play against the Bruins.
The return of the junior would augment a receiving corps that has lately been led by Agholor and Rogers.
Agholor caught three passes against Colorado, one for a touchdown, increasing his team-leading receptions total to 47. Rogers caught three passes.
“With Marqise being out of there, they had to step up and assume a larger role in our offense, which they have done,” Orgeron said.
USC also is hoping for the return of senior tailback Silas Redd.
Redd suffered a knee injury against California, was absent from practice last week and did not travel to Colorado. He attended Monday’s workout but did not participate in drills.
Cornerback Kevon Seymour, who suffered a rib contusion against Colorado, practiced and did all drills during the non-contact workout. ... The Trojans are tied for first nationally with three blocked punts. ... Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler ranks 29th nationally in passing efficiency. He has completed 65% of his passes, 15 for touchdowns, with six interceptions.