The USC Trojans football team wrapped fall camp with a mock game on Saturday before moving into full-on game preparation mode for this weekend’s season opener against Hawaii.
The team released the official week one depth chart on Sunday, shedding some light on the current status of several key position battles.
Tailbacks Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd are listed as co-starters, reinforcing the expectation that the two will split carries for USC this season.
At wide receiver, junior Robert Woods and sophomore Marqise Lee have flipped sides from last season, with Woods now at split end and Lee at flanker.
The competition for the number three receiver was one of the fiercest battles during fall camp, and the depth chart reflects how close the players remain. Sophomore George Farmer, who missed the first week with a hamstring injury, kicked the intensity up a notch when he returned to camp. He’s set to backup Woods. De’Von Flournoy, reportedly the best wideout in camp after Woods and Lee, and true freshman Nelson Agholor are listed as backups to Lee.
With last week’s news that cornerback Isiah Wiley was academically ineligible in 2012, third-year sophomore Anthony Brown will get the start opposite Nickell Robey as expected. As a starter in relief of injured Torin Harris in 2011, Brown played well before he sustained an injury of his own and was replaced by Wiley.
Sophomore Lamar Dawson missed nearly all of fall camp with a torn calf muscle, but he’s still listed as the starting middle linebacker and hopes to be healthy by the Hawaii game. Freshman Scott Starr is officially listed as his backup, but if Dawson isn’t ready to go, weakside linebacker Hayes Pullard will start in the middle and Anthony Sarao will take Pullard’s spot.
With defensive end Devon Kennard out for most, if not all, of the season with a torn pectoral, sophomore J.R. Tavai will start opposite Wes Horton.
One spot that the depth chart does nothing to clarify is backup quarterback, where redshirt freshmen Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are both listed.
In Saturday’s mock game, Wittek was the first quarterback to come in after Matt Barkley, although head coach Lane Kiffin cautioned not to read into the order. Wittek entered the game and immediately threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Lee. He finished 5 for 7 for 101 yards and a TD.
Kessler, who for the past year has reportedly had the tiniest of edges over Wittek, also played very well. He went 12 of 15 for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Kiffin is expected to announce the official number two on Tuesday.