New USC head coach Steve Sarkisian inherited a talented roster from his predecessors, but one key area his staff has to figure out during training camp is what to do up front on offense.
The Trojans need to replace three key starters along the offensive line, and the new up-tempo offense will place a premium on not only performing at a high level, but doing so with an increased pace from last season. One player who is in line to fill one of those roles is Zach Banner at right tackle.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the redshirt sophomore did see action in 2013 but was lost for the season after having surgery on both hips. Entering fall camp, it appears Banner is on track to start on the outside and be a key contributor for USC.
"I'm 100 percent healthy, but I'm not there yet, where I'm playing at my full potential," Banner told the paper. "Coach [Tim] Drevno is trying to get me there."
The mammoth tackle -- he's listed at 6-foot-9, 350 pounds on the Trojans' roster -- certainly brings good genes to the starting lineup as the son of former All-Pro offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy. Banner was one of the most highly recruited athletes coming out of high school three years ago, and Sarkisian thinks he's close to eventually living up to that high standard by going against a potential first-round draft pick in practice.
"He's very bright. He gets the game and the best thing for Zach Banner is to go against Leonard Williams every single day," the head coach said earlier this month. "He's not going to face a better player in the country than Leonard Williams."
Hard to argue with that.
All those snaps in practice should help Banner not only solidify the right side of the Trojans' offensive line but perhaps turn him into a player who can go after some of the honors his old man racked up in college. With All-American honors and the prestigous Pac-12 Morris Trophy on Kennedy's mantle, that's a tall task -- but one Banner is certainly equipped to handle given his stature.