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Steve Sarkisian said he made a mistake giving No. 55 to an offensive lineman

NCAA Football: Southern California-Spring Game

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Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California head coach Steve Sarkisian during the Southern California Spring Game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

USC coach Steve Sarkisian is changing course on his decision to give No. 55 to an offensive lineman.

In March, Sarkisian announced that freshman offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn would wear No. 55 this spring, bucking nearly 25 years of tradition where the number had been reserved for linebackers.

“It’s a little bit of miscommunication there, and I probably dropped the ball so we’ll fix it,” Sarkisian said. “It’s a great number and a historical number, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the guys who have worn it.”

That tradition started with star linebacker Junior Seau, who wore the number in 1988 and 1989 and was a first-team All-American selection after posting 19 sacks in 1989. Since then, other star linebackers such as Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne and Keith Rivers have worn the number, making it a coveted jersey to earn.

“USC is all about tradition, and to put that number on means something,” McGinest said during the spring game. “We’ve got to have some meetings and conversations with Sark about that.”

Lobendahn wore the number during Saturday’s spring game, but Sarkisian said Lobendahn likely would have to change numbers. Junior linebacker Lamar Dawson, who sat out the spring with injury, also wears No. 55.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter Follow @YahooDrSaturday

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