Lincoln Riley talks battle at left tackle and Courtland Ford's place on the depth chart
Courtland Ford started the first two games of USC’s season at left tackle (though he rotated pretty evenly with Bobby Haskins). He started eight games at the same spot last year. But after USC opened the year somewhat coy on who would be the full-time guy at the spot, the position has mostly settled itself through six games.
Bobby Haskins is the starter at this point. And when he exited Saturday’s game against Washington State briefly with a shoulder issue, it was Mason Murphy, not Ford, who went in for the Trojans.
“It just felt like it was the right decision at that point,” coach Lincoln Riley said this week. “We’ve got some guys that have been practicing well. We’ve got some tough decisions to make there. We felt like it was, in that situation, the right time to give Mason a shot.”
Murphy is a second-year freshman from Riverside, California. He did not play last season in part due to surgery to address a left foot fracture.
Ford hasn’t seen the field since being flagged for a hold that negated an 82-yard touchdown in USC’s Oct. 1 game against Arizona State. He’s played just 15 offensive snaps since the Trojans’ opening two games.
Meanwhile, Haskins is the fifth-highest-graded Trojan starter on the offensive line. Brett Neilon, Andrew Vorhees, Justin Dedich, and Jonah Monheim all have grades of at least 74.5 or higher, according to Pro Football Focus. Haskins has a season grade of 67.0. Ford is sitting at 59.5, with a 51.2 grade as a pass-blocker.
USC faces Utah on Saturday, with kickoff set for 5 p.m. PT on FOX.