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USC depth chart reveals some questions remain

By in Press Enterprise on August 28, 2017

By Scott Wolf

Can a team that starts three slot receivers win a national championship?

USC apparently believes it can based on the depth chart released Sunday night, the Trojans’ first in nine months.

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Quarterback Sam Darnold’s first options are Rose Bowl hero Deontay Burnett, converted quarterback Jalen Greene and Steven Mitchell, coming off his second knee operation. They are the most consistent and experienced wide receivers.

But each would naturally play at the slot position if placed in their best spot. USC coach Clay Helton will rotate receivers so there will be some variety for the offense but it says more about the younger receivers’ inability to distinguish themselves that Burnett, Greene and Mitchell are the first group.

The growing pains remain real. It is also important that Darnold is comfortable with his three veterans and during training camp, there were plenty of issues with the younger receivers. The second group will include redshirt freshmen Tyler Vaughns and Velus Jones along with true freshman Joseph Lewis.

If they develop USC can provide headaches for opposing defenses. But if it takes time, Stanford and Texas might challenge the offense to prove it can find a consistent deep threat. If USC does not, defense could become more compact and give the elusive Darnold less leeway.

It was fashionable last season to say wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled at times. But no other receiver got double-teamed every game or ran as many deep routes as Smith-Schuster. Someone needs to replace that aspect of the Trojans’ offense.

The depth chart provided some answers at wide receiver but few […]    

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