If USC is going to hand Alabama its first Week 1 loss in over a decade, everything is going to have to go perfectly. The Trojans are not off to a great start.
USC coach Clay Helton confirmed Monday night starting left tackle Chad Wheeler will not be able to play this weekend according to NBC Sports. Instead, Chuma Edoga will be responsible for blocking the blindside against the ferocious Crimson Tide defense.
Wheeler is dealing with plantar fasciitis, and it continues to linger in his foot. Helton said it’s possible Wheeler could play “a couple of series” versus Alabama, but that is unlikely. The star left tackle probably won’t get into the game unless there is an emergency situation along the USC offensive line.
The senior offensive tackle made second-team All-Pac 12 last season and has started 34 games in his college career. As a true freshman in 2015, Edoga started two games at right tackle and played in 13 total games. He will be immediately tested in this start, trying to block the blindside for first-year starting quarterback Max Browne against perhaps the best defensive line in college football.
Helton also announced that USC will be without backup linebacker Osa Masina versus the Crimson Tide. Masina has been suspended and will not travel with the team to Arlington, but the reason for his suspension hasn’t been disclosed.
Masina played in 12 games as a true freshman last year, recording 25 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. On the preseason depth chart released a week ago, Masina was listed as a backup to starting inside linebacker Michael Hutchings.