Here are some notes and analyses from our preliminary two-deep depth chart posted on Tuesday, again keeping in mind that it’s still January and the season is still more than seven months away):
- Officially, if the depth chart remains as is, USC will have 11 returning starters in 2010, plus four other starters who have previous starting experience.
- The offensive backfield is loaded with experience, as Matt Barkley and fullback Stanley Havili combine for 47 starts. Allen Bradford has one start at tailback (he also started two games at fullback in 2006), while C.J. Gable has 11 career starts at the position.
- The right side and middle of the offensive line (Kristofer O’Dowd, Butch Lewis and Tyron Smith) will all return in 2010, and the left side of the line (Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes) will be completely new.
- Wideout David Ausberry, who was injured for most of the second half of last season, was inadvertently left off the depth chart. He’ll most likely work his way into the rotation at split end along with Brice Butler and Jordan Cameron.
- The receiving corps officially has just one returning starter in Ronald Johnson, but Rhett Ellison started four games at tight end in 2009 and David Ausberry started six games at wideout before getting injured halfway through the 2009 season.
- The defense should have five returning starters in addition to four other projected starters with prior starting experience.
- The middlemen on the defensive line — senior tackles Christian Tupou and Jurrell Casey — have a combined 34 starts.
- The three projected starting linebackers — Devon Kennard, Chris Galippo and Malcolm Smith — all return from 2009.
- With an entirely new secondary, the defensive backfield will feature a lot of fresh faces, though Shareece Wright (four) and Drew McAllister (one) have recorded starts in previous seasons.