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Less than a week away- Who's not ready?

So we're less than a week away from the season starting. With the first depth chart released there are still some questions about certain players and positions. there has been a lot of hype since the let down at the Rose Bowl. Chants of we don't rebuild we reload are plastered all over message boards. Now's the time to step up.

From Marcia C. Smith at The OC Register

...But for the final scrimmage, which had players donning helmets, shoulder pads and shorts and tempering their tackling, Carroll recognized fine tuning remains regarding the in-game administration and the flow of players on and off the field in a timely, organized fashion.

That concerns Carroll far more than having his team roll into next week with players still jockeying for starting jobs at tailback, middle linebacker, kickoff specialist and punter.

"If it stays the same, it stays the same. I'm not worried," Carroll said, reserving his evaluation of particular players until he reviews the most recent film and confers with coaches. "To me, there are a lot of starters out here."...

Obviously the first question is whether or not Chauncey Washington's Hammy will ready for the Arkansas game. If not than freshman C. J. Gable will get the call.  While there is little question of the talent available this will be their first time playing in this setting and they will have to be prepared to step up. There will be no opportunity to just "ease in" to the game.

Also from The OC

...The battle to be the No.1 middle linebacker, Carroll said, is "neck-and-neck" between fifth-year, 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior Oscar Lua and 6-3, 250-pound sophomore Rey Maualuga.

In the past week, Maualuga has gotten the most playing time with the first-string linebackers Dallas Sartz, Keith Rivers and Brian Cushing.

Maualuga's aggressive performance, signal-calling and checking, Carroll said, "has given us the confidence that he is ready."

At the same time, Lua, who has been taking fewer repetitions to conserve his legs, might get the start but split playing time.

Again, lots of talent here. Using the 3-4 option gives the defense a different look and enables the Trojans to have that extra LB to help stop the run but also drop into coverage. I can see the reason for working it in, there is just too much talent on the team to have it sit on the sidelines. This is the group that needs to set the tone early to show that we deserve to be in the hunt for a National Championship.

From Gary Klein at The LA Times

...Last Sunday, the first- and second-unit offenses and defenses dominated the scout team at the Coliseum.

But on Saturday, the scout team played fiercely and took advantage of two turnovers by quarterback John David Booty, who passed for three touchdowns and connected on several long throws.

The scout team converted an interception and fumbled snap into touchdowns against the second-unit defense for a 14-14 tie at halftime. The starting defense posted a shutout the rest of the way and the offense scored on Booty's four-yard pass to flanker Steve Smith, tailback Desmond Reed's eight-yard run and Mark Sanchez's seven-yard pass to Vidal Hazelton.

Carroll said the day's main objective was repairing communication and substitution glitches. "We saw some things that we need to fix up," he said.

Well, that's to be expected with all the new faces that we have on the offense.  The only thing that will firmly solidify some of these questions will be playing in an actual game.  Opposing teams aren't going to know Booty's check-offs or the rhythm of his cadence like the SC defense does with three weeks worth of practice and scrimmages. It also has to be different playing on the actual field without all the other people observing like coaches and staff.

From Scott Wolf at the Daily News

...Middle linebacker was listed as Rey Maualuga "or" Oscar Lua. The feeling is that Maualuga will probably start but Carroll acknowledged Lua, who is a captain, could overcome Maualuga's physical advantage.

"Some guys bring a level of confidence that helps other guys play better," Carroll said. "The experience makes up for the physical. We want guys who play fast and that's not necessarily the fastest guys. Oscar's taken advantage of that."

Coach Carroll has got them competing. He wants to know who's hungry, that can only get him positive results. It will be interesting to see who steps up to be the leader, or leaders, of this team. Once that dominant personality gets a hold of this team I think you'll see things really take shape.  I know we've got the talent but only real game experience will bring out the chemistry that is so important to win games.

Only time will tell. I think they're ready and chomping at the bit to make their own statement. We've had an excellent run the past few years and it has been exciting to watch. But this is a new team with a lot of new players and they need to step up and send a big message right out of the blocks. I think they'll do it!

Who's Not Ready?