Saturday’s game against Cal will be an opportunity to rebound for USC, one of the handful of preseason favorites to compete for a BCS championship this season. The Trojans fell to previously No. 21 Stanford last weekend, 21-14. The Cardinal were far more physical in the trenches and never allowed Matt Barkley to get in a rhythm.
That led to lots of criticism for USC’s O-line, and especially Cyrus Hobbi, who was replacing starting center Khaled Holmes. Holmes’ absence was notable to be sure, but the lack of a running game and pass protection was result of a total failure up front. Holmes (pictured, center) took to his Twitter account Tuesday to defend his teammate:
“Cyrus was put in the most difficult situation imaginable, and did a commendable job. People attacking him are out of place and incorrect.
“He is a great young man and is going to be a great player for USC. That’s all I’ll say about the subject.”
Be that as it may, Hobbi may not get another chance to start. Coach Lane Kiffin — when not walking away from questions — said this week that Abe Markowitz would be choice to start at center against Cal if Holmes isn’t ready to go. Markowitz is a veteran guy along USC’s O-line, but he’s had an oft-injured career. In fact, Markowitz was reportedly healthy enough to start last week against the Cardinal — he sustained another injury in Week 2 against Syracuse — but because he wasn’t able to practice leading up to the game, Hobbi got the nod.
One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.
During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest. The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.
“We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.
“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.
Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.
Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.
On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.
Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.
Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.
On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”