As if the 2013 season hasn't been trying enough for USC, the Trojans will now have to traverse the remainder of their schedule without one of their best defenders, senior Morgan Breslin.
As reported by CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, USC coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday that Breslin will undergo hip surgery and subsequently miss at least the remainder of the regular season—though he could return in time for a bowl game.
Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News tweeted that Orgeron would not say whether or not Breslin will be eligible for a medical redshirt.
Breslin played a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role on the Trojan defense and was also one of the team's foremost leaders on and off the field. The Diablo Valley College transfer was named All-Pac-12 last year after tallying a team-high 19.5 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks.
He had been banged up this year, missing the season opener against Hawaii with a foot injury. He then started the next four games before sitting out against Arizona with the hip injury. The senior returned against Notre Dame, but the injury lingered, which sidelined him in the next two games. From there, the Trojans elected to take the surgery route.
Even despite missing time, Breslin had tallied 15 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and three hurries. He ranked third on the Trojans in tackles for a loss, sacks and hurries, behind only Leonard Williams and Devon Kennard.
Orgeron called Breslin a "terrific player," according to Feldman. Bleacher Report's Kyle Kensing also quoted the USC coach saying everything Breslin is about exemplifies USC football.
The praise for Breslin doesn't end there. Orgeron also called him one of his all-time favorite players, according to ESPN's Pac-12 blog.
The senior quickly became a favorite among fans, players and coaches. Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times also quoted defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast saying Breslin already has been "sorely missed."
"He brought a lot of things to our team, not only as a very good player but as a good teammate," Pendergast told Klein.
While a player like Breslin is almost irreplaceable, USC has benefited from strong performances by junior J.R. Tavai in his stead. The former 247Sports composite 3-star has logged 10 or more tackles in two of the last four games.
USC will be on the road this week without Breslin. The Trojans are set for a 3 p.m. ET kickoff against California on Fox.