Tape It Up: USC: The O-Line Carousel Goes Round And Round...

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USC: The O-Line Carousel Goes Round And Round...

The Trojan army has come under heavy injury fire all season, but no single position has been hit harder than the offensive line. In seven games this season, USC has been through five different starting offensive line combinations, and with another new face on the line in Sean Milota, the Trojans have really hit rock bottom - before this week, Milota had not stepped to the line since his high school days, three years ago. But at this rate, his services may be needed in Pac-10 play.

Milota still has not been added to USC's official roster, but he did practice with the team Tuesday and Thursday. In high school, he played defensive lineman, but at 6-foot-8, 265 pounds, the Trojans are willing to take all the help they can get, regardless of specialty.

"I heard they were dropping like flies," Milota said, giving an accurate assessment of the state of USC's O-linemen. "I just wanted to help out and I heard they were looking for big guys. I though, 'Well, I'm here and I'm big so I might as well give it a shot.'"

Here's the latest rundown on the Trojan line: tackle Sam Baker suffered a hamstring strain last week and sat out of this week's practices; guard Chilo Rachal is still recovering from a knee injury and is unlikely to play on Saturday; guard Zach Heberer bruised his shoulder last week and his status is questionable; center Kris O'Dowd is still missing time with a knee injury; and tackle Chris Brown is out with an ankle injury. And that's the short list.

The injury-created domino effect has been particularly hard on this group, but head coach Pete Carroll said that it is somewhat understandable.

"When position groups start to go and guys get banged up or they start having to pull up, it takes the wear and tear on the other guys," Carroll said. "You try to stop it from happening, but they get vulnerable."

If the team ever gets healthy, they will have an unbelievably deep group to choose from at any and all of the offensive line positions, but in the meantime, the all-points bulletin is out all over campus for big guys to come and play. Milota answered the call and although he will not travel to South Bend, there's no telling how far he could go, especially if the horrendous game of dominoes continues for this team.

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