While you were on vacation... USC

The ninth of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

USC in a sentence

  • The Trojans won't be eligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, so the big question is how consistently motivated a team that is talented enough to win 10 games this season will be.

The big issue

  • USC is loaded at the skill positions, with quarterback Matt Barkley leading a young but talented supporting cast, but the season likely swings on the play of the offensive line and linebackers, positions that are both questionable and thin.

Quick hit news

  • Starting defensive tackle Armond Armstead, who missed spring practices due to an undisclosed medical condition, still hasn't been cleared to play but he told reporters he expect to be cleared before the season starts.

  • Starting running back Marc Tyler is on indefinite suspension -- he definitely will sit out the season opener. He was suspended after saying stupid things to a TMZ reporter with a video camera, but his status is even more precarious because he is awaiting a ruling from the school's disciplinary committee on a pair of alcohol-related incidents from last year.

  • Coach Lane Kiffin said over the weekend that junior Curtis McNeal, who was academically ineligible last season, leads the tailback competition.

  • USC's backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins, is out indefinitely after suffering a thumb injury. True freshmen Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are competing to be Barkley's backup.

  • USC has only one new assistant coach: receivers coach Ted Gilmore. He replaced John Morton, who left for the San Francisco 49ers.

  • While the Trojans have 13 starters back, only 39 players on the roster saw action in 2010. 70 players on the 109-man roster have never played a down of college football. Only 14 Trojans have started at least 10 games.

  • For the first time since 2000, USC plays seven home games, including the first three in the Coliseum.

  • There are 35 scholarship players now practicing who didn't participate in spring drills: 23 new recruits and 12 returning players who were out because of injuries. The Trojans presently have 79 scholarship players. They can only sign 15 players this recruiting season because of NCAA sanctions and can have no more than 75 total scholarship players in 2012.

  • USC outscored foes in each of the first three quarters last season but was outscored 118-72 in the fourth quarter.

  • USC is in the process of constructing the $70 million John McKay Center, a 110,000-square foot building that will house the football offices, an academic center, weight room, athletic training room and digital media production.