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Alabama vs USC: Position Battles to watch on Saturday

Here are 4 positions to watch for the USC Trojans

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest position battle heading into Fall Camp was Quarterback, and all eyes will be on redshirt Junior, Max Browne who beat out redshirt Freshman, Sam Darnold for the starting Quarterback job. But what are some other position battles we should be watching this Saturday?

Here are 4 positions to watch:

Inside Linebacker: Cameron Smith will be locking down one of the ILB spots, and the other spot looks to filled by Michael Hutchings (no. 19). And with Osa Masina suspended indefinitely, that opens the door for both Quinton Powell (no. 18), and Olajuwon Tucker (no. 34) to get more reps as the key backups at the position.

Center: Toa Lobendahn (no. 50) looks like he will be replacing 4-year starter, Max Tuerk this season as USC starting Center. Nico Falah (no. 74) battled with Lobendahn all Spring for starting reps, and Falah will serve as the key back-up at the important Center position. If Toa Lobendahn struggles early on against the tough Crimson Tide front 7, look for Nico Falah to come in, in a relief role.

Slot Receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers will start at the outside Receiver spots for SC. Steven Mitchell (no. 7) will get the start as that number 3 receiver and top Slot WR. But keep an eye out for Sophomore’s, Jalen Greene (no. 10), and Deontay Burnett (no. 80) as well as flashy freshmen, Trevon Sidney (no. 81) to get some work on Saturday with the opportunity to see regular time in 4 WR sets down the road.

Strong Safety: This position might be the most up in the air position for the Trojans heading into the 2016 season. The Strong Safety position is essentially a two-horse race; with senior, Leon McQuay (no. 22) and Junior, Chris Hawkins (no. 4) battling each other for the starting role. McQuay was the early favorite going into camp, but Hawkins made a big push during Fall Camp after making the transition from CB to Safety. The two veterans may very well split time at SS this Saturday and beyond the season opener. Look for the Trojans to play the hotter hand against Alabama with both Safety’s getting plenty of reps.

There is so much to be excited for this weekend and nothing more exciting than the Trojans, facing the Crimson Tide in Dallas. Pay attention to some of the players trying to earn a starting role and how Clay Helton uses his depth chart on the opening weekend. Fight On!

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