Spring battles: offensive line

USC lost starting center Khaled Holmes to graduation. Though question marks surround his eligibility, lineman Abe Markowitz is not expected to return for the Trojans, leaving an open spot on the line and room for some re-shuffling this spring.

Kevin Graf, RS senior
Don't expect any battle at right tackle this spring or next fall. This will be Kevin Graf's third year anchoring the right side of the offensive line. The redshirt senior started every game for the Trojans in 2011 and kept the perfect start-streak going through 2012.

John Martinez, RS senior
Like Kevin Graf, expect this to be the third year starting at right guard for John Martinez. He started every game at the position in 2011 and 2012. Paired on the right side with Graf, the right side of the offensive line should be as solid as ever.

Marcus Martin, junior
Marcus Martin started every game at left guard in 2012, with exception of the contest against Arizona State. He also started the final ten games of 2011 at the position. As bowl practices got underway in December, Martin slid to the middle of the line and was working at center. As offseason workouts get underway, that's where the junior remains. Expect him to lead the way throughout the spring at center to takeover for departed senior Khaled Holmes.

Max Tuerk, sophomore
With Marcus Martin playing center, sophomore Max Tuerk can now move to left guard. Tuerk showed promise his freshman season at left tackle, listed as a co-starter part of the season with Aundrey Walker. Tuerk started the final five games of the regular season for the Trojans at the position before playing left guard at the Sun Bowl.

Aundrey Walker, junior
Aundrey Walker was named the starting left tackle coming out of spring ball in 2011. His 2012 season at the position was a roller-coaster at best. Walker spent most of fall camp sidelined with a shoulder injury before starting the first seven games of the season for the Trojans. Tuerk took over the starting role the final five games after Walker went down with a neck injury that kept him from even traveling to the contest at Arizona. Throughout the season Kiffin alluded to a lack of effort on Walker's part that allowed for the competition to open between him and Tuerk at left tackle. A lack of depth on the roster and specifically at the position, means Walker should be able to hold the job down this spring and into the fall -- if he can prove the effort is there on his part.

Nathan Guertler, RS junior
Expect Nathan Guertler to challenge to backup Kevin Graf once again this year at right tackle. Guertler joined the team in 2010 as a walk-on, redshirted, and has seen limited game action since.

Zach Banner, RS freshman
At 6-foot-9 335-pounds it's hard to miss Zach Banner on the football field. Banner redshirted his freshman season for the Trojans but will look to make a splash as a redshirt freshman. Through fall camp and the 2012 season he began to adjust to the speed of the college game during practice and now will compete for a job during spring practices. With strong experienced players ahead of him he'll most likely only win the backup spot at right tackle over Guertler.

Cyrus Hobbi, RS sophomore
Cyrus Hobbi started at center at Stanford when Khaled Holmes was unavailable due to an ankle sprain. Who needs a reminder of that? It was one of the poorest performances by the Trojans' offensive line in ages. No, not all the blame can be placed on the shoulders of Hobbi for that mess, but he has a lot to prove in a game-like situation that a repeat performance will not happen. Hobbi will challenge Martin to play center this spring. Expect him to win the backup job there.

Jordan Simmons, RS freshman
Jordan Simmons, a four-star 2012 recruit, redshirted his freshman season for the Trojans. Look for him to push Max Tuerk at left guard through the spring and challenge for a significant role at the position.

Giovanni Di Poalo, RS junior
Gio Di Poalo redshirted in 2010 and was expected to compete for a starting spot at guard in 2011 after moving from center during spring practices. However, he ended up having preseason shoulder surgery -- sidelining him for the season. Di Poalo was virtually unheard of in 2012, so it remains to be seen what kind of role he'll battle for this spring.

Chad Wheeler, RS freshman
Redshirt freshman Chad Wheeler was listed behind Walker and Tuerk on the depth chart in 2012 at left tackle. Look for him to lockdown the backup job there this spring and possibly even challenge for the starting role if he comes upon an un-inspired Walker.

My Prediction:Starters will be set out of spring practice, RT Kevin Graf, RG John Martinez, C Marcus Martin, LG Max Tuerk, LT Aundrey Walker.

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