October 1, 2007

Monday Insider: Next up on the O-Line ...

Zack Heberer is USC's starting right guard - at least until tomorrow.

Alatini Malu could practice Tuesday on his sore right hamstring, and Thomas Herring - who moved from guard to tackle during training camp - will be in the mix, too. The regular starter, junior Chilo Rachal is expected to miss about three weeks with a sprained right MCL.

"Tomorrow's 'Competition Tuesday,'" said Heberer, the redshirt freshman who finished out Saturday's victory at Washington, after Malu tweaked his hamstring. "We'll be battling tomorrow."

Rachal will not have surgery, but true freshman center Kristofer O'Dowd - who dislocated his right knee cap on the same first quarter play - will undergo an arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone chip, coach Pete Carroll said. He is expected miss three weeks.

Offensive line coach Pat Ruel admitted that Malu, the fifth-year senior, has an edge at right guard, based on experience. But sophomore Alex Parsons, the converted defensive tackle, could slide over to guard from his backup center position.

Ruel also would not mind seeing the 6-foot-6, 300-plus pound Herring get involved.

"If Thomas can kind of make a move here, it'd be nice," Ruel said.

One thing the coach said he has not considered is moving right tackle Drew Radovich back to guard, where Radovich started last season.

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