USC will be without its starting left tackle and a couple of other key players when it plays WSU

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First, the caveat here is that USC is probably one of the deepest teams in college football. The brand recruits itself, and the Trojans have traditionally never struggled to attract marquee players.

So, the drop off between their starters and backups probably is not as significant as it would be for most teams.

But, that said, it always hurts to lose starters, and the Trojans will be without three key players when they take on WSU Friday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN).

According to USCFootball.com beat reporter Ryan Abraham, Toa Lobendahn, the Trojans’ starting left tackle, was a late scratch from the USC travel list due to a staph infection.

Abraham predicts that either Andrew Voorhees or Austin Jackson will replace Lobendahn at left tackle. Both are true freshmen who have played this season, but have never started a game.

USC is also without the injured Steven Mitchell Jr., their No. 2 wide receiver who has 14 receptions for 223 yards and two receiving touchdowns this year. The Trojans were buoyed by the news that their star receiver, Deontay Burnett, who missed practice earlier this week with some sort of shoulder injury. Burnett is expected to play against WSU, but only the Trojans know how close he really is to full strength.

On the defensive side, outside linebacker Porter Gustin is also out with a biceps tear and a broken big toe. Gustin has three sacks on the year.

Abraham reports that backup defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu also did not make the trip to Pullman.