USC Football 2012: Trojans' Dwindling Depth on Defense Not Helping Title Hopes

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 16, 2012

Apr 14, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive line coach Ed Orgeron talks with safety T.J. McDonald (7), linebacker Hayes Pullard (10) and linebacker Dion Bailey (18) in the 2012 spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Yesterday, the University of Southern California got the news of something that no Trojans were hoping to hear again this offseason: defensive lineman out for the season. USC Athletics broke the bad news that reserve lineman DeVante Wilson would be sidelined for 2012 with an ACL tear. 

USC backup DE DeVante Wilson is out for the season with a torn ACL.He tore the ACL in his other knee before coming to USC. #USCFallCamp

— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) August 16, 2012

Wilson is a freshman on the team and will redshirt this season. Although the kid from Corona, Calif. was a 2011 signee, he tore his ACL prior to enrollment and deferred entering USC until spring of 2012. The ACL from his previous injury is in the opposite leg form the current tear, so this is not a repeat or complication from the first knee.

As a name, the blow is not tremendous. Wilson was likely only going to see rotational play at best, more likely some reserve duties at the end of games, in the 2012 season. However, this strike against the Trojans has less to do with Wilson on the individual level and more to do with the defensive line as a whole.

This is another body down on an already thin unit. Devin Kennard, the expected starter opposite Wes Horton, was the major blow, but every able body the Trojans lose puts more stress and more pressure on the remaining few.

As a name, DeVante Wilson is not going to be the blow that stops the Trojans from getting to the BCS Title game.

However, as the other players get more reps, take more shots and play more snaps they can ill afford for another of their comrades to go down. Their linebackers on defense need a solid front four to be able to run down ball carriers. Their defensive backs need a pass rush to make coverage easier.

The defensive line has got their work cut out for them. Losing bodies, be they starters or reserves, is a blow to their cause. They'll have to overcome the losses with great play from young players and mammoth efforts from the few experienced players they have on the roster.