Who has the right stuff to start at left tackle at USC?

USC is set to release an official depth chart after Wednesday night’s practice, offering a long-awaited glimpse into Lincoln Riley’s position plans for his first season as Trojans coach.

But one key fight remains a tie — and could remain so through Saturday’s opener against Rice.

USC offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Josh Henson declined to commit to naming a left tackle Tuesday, and while Wednesday’s depth chart might list one name above the other, Henson made it clear that Bobby Haskins and Courtland Ford would compete to the end of the week.

“I’m not sure it’s going to take hold until after the game, and we could do that,” Henson said. “Maybe both guys will play, I don’t know, but that’s kind of what I’m like right now. Nobody really broke up at this point, and nobody really got over it. One day one is a little better, one day the next is a little better, which is good. We’re in a bloody fight, so gameplay can decide that too.”

Haskins started 20 games in four seasons in Virginia before joining USC, but he missed all of spring training after foot surgery. Ford, a redshirt sophomore, was the Trojans’ left tackle in the first eight games of last season before missing most of last month through illness.

For much of fall camp, Ford appeared to have the advantage over Haskins, as he was most often seen using the first-team offensive line during the open portion of practice. Whether this balance has shifted remains to be seen. But as a decision looms, Henson said he’s looking for “consistency” in both tackles.

Henson isn’t worried about any remaining left tackle questions affecting chemistry elsewhere.

“Oh, it’s okay,” Henson said. “Both guys work in there. They both do a really good job, they are good communicators, they know what they are doing, they work well. [Left guard Andrew] Next to them, Vorhees is a very experienced guy so that wasn’t a problem.”

New captains

Quarterback Caleb Williams, offensive guard Justin Dedich, linebacker Shane Lee and defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu have been named team captains, Riley announced Tuesday.

None of the four came as a surprise to the Trojans coach. Captains are chosen by the team.

“It was by a pretty significant margin,” Riley said. “The team pretty clearly sees these four as guys they want to represent.”

It was a particularly significant honor for Dedich, who waited four years to start on the USC offensive line.

“Trusting the process … I really got into it,” Dedich said. “Now I’m just grateful that I earned the job.”

Maximum skills

USC defenseman Max Williams has been working on safety and nickels in recent practices and could switch between the two positions this season. His versatility could open the door for another young defender, Jaylin Smith.

“The luxury of having Max move creates opportunities for Jaylin to play,” Riley said. “It shows Jaylin that we really want to give him a chance.”

Smith appeared in nine games as a freshman last season and scored one start against Notre Dame, while Williams sat out the entire 2021 season with a knee injury.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/story/2022-08-30/right-stuff-to-start-at-left-tackle-usc-courtland-ford-bobby-haskins Who has the right stuff to start at left tackle at USC?

Emma Bowman

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