USC senior defensive stalwart Morgan Breslin will undergo surgery on his hip and will miss the remainder of the regular season, interim head coach Ed Orgeron announced after practice Wednesday.
Orgeron did leave open the possibility of the 6-2, 250-pound pass-rushing machine returning for a bowl game (if USC becomes eligible by winning one of its final four games).
Breslin has been banged up for the majority of the season. After missing the season opener at Hawaii with a foot injury, he returned for four games, racking up 11 tackles and four sacks from his new defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid position. But then he injured his hip and in the last four games, his only action came when he played sparingly at Notre Dame.
Last year, the junior college transfer from Diablo Valley College was the biggest surprise of the season. The "Silent Assassin" who declines to talk to the media, signed with little fanfare, but then developed into one of the nation's top defensive ends. He tallied 13.5 sacks -- the most by a Trojan since 2003 -- and 19.5 tackles for loss. Breslin finished with 62 tackles, including nine in the USC's Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.
"In my 27 years of coaching, Morgan is absolutely one of my favorite players I've ever coached," Orgeron said this week. "An outstanding young man, great team guy, just loves football."
Despite playing only four and a half games, Breslin is still third on the team with 4.5 sacks and third with 8.0 tackles for loss.
Luckily for Orgeron, J.R. Tavai has made a near seamless transition, moving from the defensive line and stepping into Breslin's role on the outside. Tavai had 9 tackles (3.5 for a loss) and 0.5 sacks against Arizona in his first action replacing Breslin. Tavai then had an even bigger breakout two weeks later against Utah with 11 tackles and 2 sacks.