Lincoln Riley announces season-ending injury to starter along USC's defense
USC head coach Lincoln Riley announced on Thursday that rush end Romello Height will likely be out the rest of the season.
The former Auburn transfer had a procedure done this week to address a shoulder injury. Height re-injured his shoulder against Stanford in Week 2 after dealing with the issue throughout training camp. It forced him to miss last week’s game against Fresno State and will keep him on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
“Romello had a procedure done this week, so we’ll see how that progresses,” Riley said. “It’s gonna be a long-term recovery and likely will miss the season.”
As soon as Height got to campus in the spring, he solidified himself as the No. 1 atop USC’s two-deep at the rush end position. But between the shoulder injury and a targeting ejection in the first half against Rice, Height just hasn’t been on the field much to begin the year. He hasn’t yet recorded a tackle.
In his place, USC will turn to former Wyoming edge Solomon Byrd and likely give a little more run to sophomore Korey Foreman. Byrd has three sacks so far this season, emerging as a difference-maker at that rush end spot. In a limited role so far, Foreman is the Trojans’ highest-graded defender on the season, per Pro Football Focus.
As USC went through camp, shifting availabilities from both Height and Foreman forced the defense to get creative at rush end. Riley thinks that experience will help now.
“I feel fine,” he told reporters. “We’ve obviously talked a lot about Solomon and him stepping up. Korey’s improving, does a lot of really good things and I think will get more consistent. And then we’ve worked hard to develop some depth. Having some of those guys out at times has allowed us to shuffle the lineup and we’ve got some different skillsets on that defense that we can make work.
“And then that’s where having a creative defensive staff is important. Sometimes when you lose guys, you’ve got to think outside the box. We’ll continue to evaluate the roster and get guys in the best position. If we’ve got to adjust, we’ll adjust.”
Kickoff between No. 7 USC (3-0) and Oregon State (3-0) is set for 6:30 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network this Saturday.