How would you replace Porter Gustin at the OLB spot? Where will the pass rush come from? What do the Trojans lose without his presence?
My first look would be to put Christian Rector in that spot in large part because of how well it worked last year. I would also want to look at Jordan Iosefa in that role because I think he looked better last year, and we could take a look at Kana’I Mauga on the opposite side. No matter how you look at it there is a hole without Porter, especially against the Utah offense with the possibility of being without Cameron Smith and/or Palaie Gaoteote. I really liked the way Porter became a more vocal leader this year and that is where we will miss him almost as much as his production during the stretch run of the season.
If I were in charge of replacing Porter Gustin, I would go with true freshman outside linebacker Kana’i Mauga, a tremendous talent who has shown flashes of brilliance when given the opportunity. He is tougher than nails, hits like a horse, has extreme quickness, and has the savvy to make a difference in replacing Gustin. Don’t forget, Mauga enrolled in the spring and has proven he can play. He has a real birght future in cardinal and gold. I think he could be dynamite coming off the edge and is a real Hawaiian warrior when I’ve watched him play. As for the loss of Gustin, you really have to feel bad for a player that seems to have spent most of his career on the trainer’s table. A true captain and leader, it’s a shame his Trojan career ended on such a sour note, especially being a native of Utah and the Trojans playing at Utes this weekend. Porter’s presence on the field was obvious: A stud rusher and leader and will, no doubt, will be greatly missed.
What a tough break to lose Porter Gustin (again) to injury. The Trojan sack leader (7.5 sacks) will be hard to replace, but SC has had experience doing so after his injury last season. DE Christian Rector would be the prime candidate, as he did a great job last season. The emergence of Liam Jimmons at Rector’s previous DE spot on the defensive line is a plus. The new look pass rush is going to have to be a collective effort. Rector will have one on one match-ups now on the perimeter, while guys like DT Jay Tufele have started to make an impact pressuring the passer. Porter Gustin’s leadership on the field will be missed. As an emotional leader, the Trojans will need others to step in for Gustin at key moments to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.