Trojans DT Woods (pectoral) will miss Holiday Bowl

BY foxsports • December 17, 2014

USC began official bowl preparations Wednesday morning at Cromwell Field.

In attendance but not in uniform was defensive tackle Antwaun Woods. The redshirt junior stood on the sideline, his arm secure in a sling. Head coach Steve Sarkisian announced Woods had undergone surgery on his left pectoral muscle and will not play in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 against Nebraska. 

The head coach is uncertain if the junior will be back in time for spring practice. He will be in a sling for at least six weeks.

Woods sustained the injury during Saturday's practice. The injury originally was thought to be a strained pectoral. He has 37 tackles this season.     

From Sarkisian's first day on the job, he has spoken a lot about contingency plans and, throughout the course of the season, he's has had to put some in place.

Now, as the team prepares for the final game of the 2014 season, once again those plans will be put into action.

The direction the Trojans decide to go in on the defensive line, however, has not been solidified. But there are options.

The Trojans have Delvon Simmons or Claude Pelon as options. Cody Temple, who's battled his share of injuries during his career at USC, also is one to consider.

And of course, there's Leonard Williams, who, on Wednesday, was named to the AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America First Team.

"We're in the infancy stages of game planning (for Nebraska)," Sarkisian said. "We got some versatile guys that we're fortunate to have."

Williams is no stranger to playing on the interior of the defensive line. As a true freshman, he started at defensive tackle for the Trojans. His versatility is a reason why he is projected to be a top-5 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Being solid up front is going to be "huge" for the Trojans if they hope to contain the 16th rated rushing attack in the nation. Nebraska comes into the Holiday Bowl averaging just under 250 rush yards per game. Tailback Ameer Abdullah is 11th in country with 1,523 rushing yards to go along with 18 touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. is also dangerous with his legs.

"These guys provide a really unique brand of run game," Sarkisian said. "There's a lot of runs and there's a lot of variety of runs with the fly sweep stuff, the designed quarterback runs, and a then a really a premiere tailback who they have the traditional runs with and the perimeter runs so there's a lot of offense to prepare for." 


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