We have watch with great anticipation just where the QB competition would take us.
Some see it as drama while the rest of us just see it as it all in a days work...
Pete Carroll pretty much has done it all during his time at USC, correct? Well, we don't recall him ever doing this:
On Thursday, barely two weeks before the season opener, he stood on the practice field, leading a team projected to be Pac-10 champs and national title contenders, and admitted he has no idea who'll be his quarterback.
"It could go any way," Carroll said. "I don't know what's going to happen right now."
This is USC, were most of the recent starting quarterbacks became Heisman Trophy winners or first-round NFL draft picks or, in some cases, both.
And this is quarterback, not second-string tight end or emergency long snapper or guy who stands back there to block for the punter.
We're talking about USC QB, the most celebrated, recognized and cherished position in college football today.
It is USC, we are used to the attention.
It started back in spring ball thought at the time many of us thought it would be between Corp and Mustain. Instead it was Corp and Barkley with Corp winning out to no ones surprise. What did surprise us was how Barkley was able to give Corp a run for his money. Barkley seemed very sure of himself and surprised the coaches with how mature he was and how he performed within the system.
When training camp started we all knew that this was probably the first year that there was some real competiton at QB. The previous years we all knew there was a pretty clear cut #1. But with Mark Sanchez departing earlier than expected for the NFL the game plan was thrown for a loop.
With Corp going down with what would appear a minor injury Barkley took all the first team snaps. Barkley performed above average but not lights out. But he performed well enough for Pete Carroll say that he would feel good if he had to start Barkley.
Maybe, maybe not...
I would not expect Pete Carroll to say anything thing else.
But now it appears that Corp is ready to get back in the game...
Aaron Corp took another step in his comeback from a leg injury Thursday with two sharp performances in seven-on-seven passing drills.
It was Corp's first work with more than one receiver and defender since Aug. 10, when he suffered a cracked bone in his left fibula.
"He had two really good practices under the circumstances," Coach Pete Carroll said. "For him to come out and throw the ball so accurately and strongly, I think, is a big positive."
Corp, a third-year sophomore, entered training camp as the No. 1 quarterback, but has not participated in team scrimmage drills in more than a week. In Corp's absence, freshman Matt Barkley has taken nearly every first-team snap and is in a position to possibly become the first true freshman quarterback to start an opener for the Trojans.Corp is wearing a long brace to protect his leg and has said that he would try to run this weekend with hopes of returning to full practice next week.
That was from Thursdays practice but it was a little different yesterday, see below.
I do not want to see Barkley rushed into service. I would prefer to see him brought along at a pace that is comfortable for both Barkley and the team. I also do not want to see his confidence shaken by being pressed into service against substantially better talent. We saw how Barkley sputtered when PC threw the kitchen sink at him in the last scrimmage so don't think opposing teams would not do the same thing. The only thing going for us is that even with Kris O'Dowd being out for a time we still have one of the best offensive lines in league to protect whomever is behind center and a hell of a lot more offensive weapons than just about any other team as well.
So where does that leave us?
Well, it would appear that Tuesday is the day for Aaron Corp to reassert himself as the starter...
Everyone wants to know who will start at quarterback for USC in the season opener against San Jose State.
But USC coach Pete Carroll said Friday he doesn't know who will start the following week against Ohio State if sophomore Aaron Corp misses the San Jose State game and then gets medically cleared to play.
"I'm not sure what we would do, I'm just trying to see what happens (today)," Carroll said.
Carroll did say that Corp (cracked fibula) must return to practice Tuesday if he wants to be considered to start against San Jose State.
"It'll be really difficult if he's not full speed Tuesday to go with him (against San Jose State)," Carroll said. "If we had to wait until Thursday, I don't know if that works. The idea is to get him to practice full speed (Tuesday)."
Corp got mixed reviews Friday, as he looked good in 7-on-7 drills and did some live work in full pads. However, on one play he rolled out and was unable to plant and throw properly to a receiver.
"He looked like he weighed 150 pounds on that play," Carroll said.
Said Corp: "(It was difficult) dropping back and throwing left when I have to open my knee up."
Corp is going to need the four days of next week to get back into the groove before the coaching staff implenets the game package the following week for San Jose St. If he can't go on Tuesday then Barkley will be the guy...and I am not even thinking about Ohio State yet.
But while Barkley has been up and down he has impressed the coaching staff and even they think his performance on Monday was not as bad as some thought.
USC scrimmages again Saturday, but Bates said he was not unhappy Barkley struggled in Monday night's scrimmage at the Coliseum. He completed just five of 18 passes for 109 yards.
"That was a great learning experience," Bates said. "In two months, we'll look back and that will be the best thing that happened for him. He tried to take over and do things the way he did in high school, but he makes his corrections and doesn't do things wrong again.
"I didn't like it to happen but I'm glad the defense went after him."
Barkley performed OK in Thursday's practice but Carroll was impressed with his two-minute drill, even though the offense settled for a field goal.
"He was in command," Carroll said. "He was reminding guys of the routes and protections."
Again, Barkley is ahead of where every other freshman QB was when they arrived at USC but that is not enough.
If Barkley isn't 100% then he will struggle even against San Jose St.
Pete Carroll is even toying with with a two QB rotation...something he has never done at USC. I am not sure how sold on that he is but it may be a card he has to play until Corp or Barkley firmly cements themselves as the #1 guy.
I look at that the same way that Pete Carroll does...not that neither of his two top QB's can take the helm but that because of the embarrassment of riches that USC has at the position he has the luxury to mix things up until one or both settle in.
Not a bad place to be...