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USC Linebacker Depth Chart Is Armed to Stop the Spread Option Offense

Michael TierneyAnalyst IOctober 20, 2016

The USC Trojans' official depth chart for the first week has been released.

It wasn't long ago that depth was a big concern for the Trojans. However, those fears have been put aside to the point that former middle linebacker Devon Kennard has been moved back to his true position at defensive end.

Linebacker depth was increased with the addition of a safety-convert Dion Bailey being added for coverage speed, especially against the spread offense.

Binging on JC-transfer Dallas Kelly solidified the middle linebacker spot.

Factor-in the additional talented linebackers Tre Madden, Lamar Dawson and Anthony Sarao to the existing USC linebacking corps and you can see why the whole depth issue went away.

With the release of the Week 1 depth chart, the linebackers (or co-linebackers) are set.

Freshman strongside linebacker Dion Bailey is the co-starter with sophomore Marquis Simmons. Both will have the responsibility to cover short passes in open space. They are both quick (both have 4.45-40 speed), and cover well, but can lay the lumber when tackling.

Bill N pointed out the WLB/SLB role reversal, saying: "for the Trojans it works a little differently. The SAM backer plays in space and the WILL backer is on the tight end side."

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks takes a hit from Chris Galippo and T.J. McDonald #7 of the USC Trojans during the fourth quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Phot
Harry How/Getty Images

Senior middle linebacker Chris Galippo is healthy and ready to go. He has been hitting and tackling with full-contact all week. The co-starter, freshman Lamar Dawson, wearing the coveted No. 55, has had a meteoric rise in fall camp. He has unbelievable stopping power.

Freshman weakside linebacker Hayes Pullard is the co-starter with senior Shane Horton. In nickel situations, where an additional wide receiver is used against the Trojans, cornerback Torin Harris, (6'1" 185 lbs) will replace either Pullard or Horton. Harris will be an addition factor in stopping the spread.

If USC's defensive line plays like this, we might see a 50 point margin.

Here is the linebacker depth chart for the first week:


SLB

18 Dion Bailey (6-1, 200, RFr.*) OR
53 Marquis Simmons (6-1, 215, So.*)
13 Tre Madden (6-0, 220, Fr.)

 

MLB

 

54 Chris Galippo (6-2, 250, Sr.*) OR
55 Lamar Dawson (6-2, 235, Fr.)
51 Will Andrew (6-2, 230, So.*) OR
52 Dallas Kelley (5-11, 225, Jr.)

 

WLB

10 Hayes Pullard (6-2, 225, Fr.*) OR
23 Shane Horton (6-1, 220, Sr.*)
56 Anthony Sarao (6-0, 210, Fr.)

*Players that have exhausted their redshirt year

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