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USC Safety Position in Flux After John Plattenburg Thigh Contusion

The USC safety position is in flux after multiple injuries.

John Plattenburg had to be carted off the practice field after a thigh contusion.
John Plattenburg had to be carted off the practice field after a thigh contusion.
Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

The USC Trojans practiced over the weekend after having a week off from action and they received a scare on Sunday when true freshman safety John Plattenburg had to be carted off the field after sustaining an injury.

But USC head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed after Monday's morning practice that Plattenburg had indeed just bruised his thigh.

"On a positive note, Plattenburg's was just a thigh contusion," Sarkisian said in his post-practice media scrum. "Those are...those are tricky. We'll see. He responded pretty well today, probably better than we would have anticipated from a range of motion standpoint.

"It's really just going to be day-to-day for him -- how sore it is and the swelling. So we'll see how that goes."

John Plattenburg's status is to be determined as of now. He will likely be a game-time decision, but if he is unable to go, the Trojans should be able to turn back to the safety duo of Gerald Bowman and Leon McQuay III, who started the season together.

Although, Plattenburg overtook McQuay III for a starting role, all three safeties have seen significant time recently. McQuay III and Plattenburg started together when Bowman missed the Utah game, but Bowman appears to be fully healthy from the sprained foot he sustained in the Colorado game.

Leon McQuay III actually saw improvement on Monday. He practiced Saturday and Sunday in a yellow non-contact jersey, but went without in on Monday, according to the OC Register.

McQuay III injured his shoulder in a big collision with Adoree' Jackson during the Washington State game. The collision actually kept McQuay III from his third interception of the year. He had the ball in his hands, but lost it when he and Jackson crashed together. McQuay III didn't return to the game while Jackson just had the wind knocked out of him and returned later.

Behind the trio of safeties that has played extensively is walk-on Matt Lopes, who came on after Su'a Cravens was injured at Washington State. But unlike most Division I walk-ons, the USC coaching staff has a lot of confidence in Lopes stepping in and performing if he is needed.

"Matty is a guy that really caught our eye in spring ball," Steve Sarkisian said after Monday's practice. "He's a physical kid. He's got a high football IQ. He actually plays multiple positions for us. He's aware of the safety spot as well as the nickel position."

Su'a Cravens is also an option at safety, if Plattenburg is unavailable. Cravens has played a hybrid role this season, but has lined up almost exclusively at linebacker or nickel back for the past month and a half. Like Leon McQuay III and Gerald Bowman, Cravens has recently been banged up. He left the Washington State game just before halftime with a knee injury that was later revealed to be an MCL sprain.

The Trojans will need all hands on deck Thursday night against Cal. The secondary will be tested facing sophomore Jared Goff, who has passed for 346.5 yards per game and has thrown 27 touchdowns.