USC first-time starting quarterback Max Browne will be without his best protection on his blind side when the Trojans take on Alabama on Saturday.
Redshirt senior left tackle Chad Wheeler, who has made 34 career starts, will not play because of his plantar fasciitis, Trojans head coach Clay Helton announced on his radio show Monday.
Chuma Edoga, a sophomore, will start in his place. Edoga saw action in 13 games as a true freshman last season, including two starts at right tackle.
“He hasn’t really practiced in now three-and-a-half weeks,” Helton said on the show. “So we’re going to end up going with Chuma at the left tackle position to start off with. We’re going to evaluate Chad throughout the week to see if he can progress into helping us with a couple series.”
The plantar fasciitis has plagued Wheeler throughout the preseason, extremely limiting his practice reps.
Edoga was a 5-star recruit out of McEachern High School (Atlanta) and ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the nation. He heeded the lyrical advice of Michael W. Smith and headed west, young man, spurning offers from 12 SEC schools, including Alabama, in the process.
The Trojans will also be without backup linebacker Osa Masina. Helton announced on the show that Masina, a sophomore, was suspended for a violation of team rules and will not travel to Dallas. Masina joins sophomore cornerback Isaiah Langley as Trojans suspended for the opener. Both players saw limited action as freshmen and were expected to play as reserves this season.