USC DE Leonard Williams, CB Josh Shaw expected to play


USC will need all hands on deck to have a shot at limiting Stanford's bruising offense, but two of the Trojans' most important defenders are limited by injuries. Defensive end Leonard Williams is dealing with a right shoulder injury that could require surgery after the season ends, while cornerback Josh Shaw did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury.

Both are expected to play on Saturday.

Williams was held out of USC's win at California after aggravating the injury the previous week at Oregon State. Williams had platelet-rich plasma injected into his shoulder earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"I'm just feeling like I'm getting a lot of my strength back so I should be able to go Saturday," Williams said.

Williams leads the team with 11 tackles for loss and ranks second with 56 tackles, and USC will need the 6-foot-5, 290-pound sophomore at his best to contain a dominant Stanford offense line led by All-America left guard David Yankey and promising sophomore left tackle Andrus Peat.

"They are the best offensive line I have seen in a lot of years of football," USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron told the "College Football 24/7" Podcast.

Orgeron, the long-time defensive line coach at Miami and USC, said he went back to tape of the 2009 "What's Your Deal?" game that started Stanford's four-game winning streak in the series to get a better sense of what is coming.

"They ran the Power. They ran the Power right up our throat, and they are so good at it," Orgeron said. "They are very precise at what they do. The players do a great job on combo blocks. The running backs stay on trap. They have a complete confidence in what they are doing."

And though this sets up as a trench-warfare game, Shaw could prove to be extremely important in limiting Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney. After alternating between safety and corner in his first season after transferring from Florida, Shaw has stabilized a shaky secondary in recent weeks with his play at corner.

Shaw has 17 tackles, one tackle for loss, three pass breakups, two interceptions and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in his last three games. More importantly, Shaw (6-1, 195) has the size to hang tough when Stanford goes to its heavy sets with extra offensive linemen.

Whether Williams and Shaw can hold up at less than 100 percent will be critical for USC to avoid becoming the latest opponent to be run over by Stanford.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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