Spring Ball Notes

There will be a lot of attention focused on the QB spot as whomever starts is likely to have a stranglehold on the position for two years. It would appear that the SC coaching staff will want to name their starter by the end of spring practice so that they can hit the ground running when training camp starts in August.

he decision probably will not be announced until the end of spring practice, but USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian left no doubt that the Trojans intend to go into the summer with a quarterback entrenched as the starter.

"No question," Sarkisian said Tuesday after USC completed the first of 15 spring workouts. "That's been our history here."

Junior Mark Sanchez entered the spring as the acknowledged leader in a competition with sophomore Mitch Mustain and redshirt freshman Aaron Corp. All three impressed Tuesday during a two-hour, full-squad workout that was conducted with no pads.

Sanchez appeared in command of the offense, demonstrating arm strength and mobility in individual and team drills.

It's still too early yet to see who will win out but it looks like this will be one very tough competition. I don't care who wins out as long as they get the job done on the field. Both QB's have their strengths but most important is how they will direct the play on the field.

The question to be answered is whether or not the competition is open? Mustain seems to think so but concedes to giving the edge to Sanchez.

Mustain said he thinks the quarterback job is open. He was frustrated with some protection issues early in practice but felt it got better as things progressed.

"I do (feel it's open). Mark's the leader but we're not out here putting on a show," Mustain said. "I got more reps than I thought I would."

There is still a long way to go.

The thing I want to see the most is how the receivers perform. Outside of Steve Smith in 2006 the receiving corps has left a lot to be desired, as they have underachieved as a whole. This year Damien Williams has the chance to raise the bar and hopefully the production of the receiving corps. Williams is the one I want to see the most and his experience will go a long way to shoring up a unit that had been less than stellar last year.

As for Mustain seeing the field well, Carroll noted that he certainly saw where his ex-Arkansas and Springdale High teammate Damian Williams was on a couple of hookups.

With a team that Carroll said "showed up in good shape and looked quick and fast," the 6-foot-1, 190-pound redshirt sophomore coming off surgery on both shoulders might have been the player who looked the quickest and fastest.

"I've always been that go-to guy," Williams said after shaking himself loose in space to make several impressive catches. "But then everyone wants to be that guy."

Carroll said Williams might be bringing "a fluid dimension" unlike any recent USC receivers.

I couldn't agree with that sentiment more. I really believe that he will shake some things up.

The other player I really want to see is Allen Bradford. He seems to be already making his mark and I would really like to see him get some primary running duties. We all know what McKnight, Stafon and C.J. can do. I would expect for McKnight to settle in more and there is no doubt that the real battle be between Stafon and C.J but it will be interesting to see how Bradford, Green and Tyler perform and fight for a spot.

Here is a look at the injury situation.

Two defensive players look like they'll be completely shut down from contact work this spring. Linebacker Kaluka Maiva is coming off wrist and thumb surgery, and nose tackle Averill Spicer is having problems with a left knee that was in a brace. He will be further diagnosed next Tuesday, Carroll said, but they're "taking no chances."

Other players whose contact work will be limited include linebacker Brian Cushing (arthroscopic ankle surgery), defensive back Josh Pinkard (knee surgery), offensive tackle Butch Lewis (arthroscopic ankle surgery) and wide receiver Vidal Hazelton (hernia surgery).

If you are interested WeAreSC has some great photos of the first day of spring ball. Make sure you check them out. We aill have more as spring ball progresses.

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