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Sanchez's performance under scrutiny

There are a couple of interesting stories in the local papers about Mark Sanchez and his performance on Saturday. Sanchez has had an up and down season to this point with games against Oregon St., Arizona St. and Arizona. But even in his good games he has made some poor decisions and that all adds up to obvious question why is he having such difficulty?

The Arizona game on Saturday night marked Sanchez’s 10th career start. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all of them, but also 11 interceptions.

He is still learning how to manage games, as a sometimes-shaky performance against the Wildcats illustrated.

“A couple decisions throwing the ball, we needed to be more conservative, dump the ball off, just move the sticks - that’s inexperience on Mark’s part,” USC coach Pete Carroll said Sunday, the day after USC’s 17-10 victory in Tucson.

“We haven’t gotten him comfortable enough in his decision-making. That’s what happens with a new quarterback.

I am not interested in bashing Sanchez that gets us nowhere but at the half-way point in the season we should be seeing some marked improvement in his decision making.

Pete Carroll's comments above pull the curtain back, if only a little bit, that the coaching staff is having a bit of a hard time getting Sanchez to settle down and make smart plays. Pete Carroll also points out that Sanchez at times makes the right plays while he doesn't on others.

Another example Carroll cited was Sanchez needing to run the ball when he rolled out if no one was open.

"He ran the ball great on a third down and didn't another time," Carroll said.

Sanchez has the gunslinger mentality and that's fine if its tempered with solid decision making.

I don't want to hear anything about not having Norm Chow here to coach Sanchez. I have seen a few comments on a few message boards about it and that's completely off base. I think its fair to hold Sarkisian accountable because he is the main QB coach and that falls on him. Sanchez has been in the system for 3 years now and it's the main reason that he won the starting job in the spring so you would expect that he would have some progress becuase of increased snaps as the srtr nad the extra attention he would get as he prepares for games each week. Sanchez has the rest of this year to hone his skills as he heads into next season and he will need it with all the talk circulating of his family meeting with an NFL talent consultant about the future he needs to make some serious progress if wants to make it to the next level.

Sanchez can't keep relying on the defense to bail him out when the offense sputters or when the ball is turned over. He needs to take the pressure off the defense as the team heads down the home stretch. He needs to direct the team to get points on the board so that if the defense has a bad series or game we can still recover.

There is no question that Sanchez has given us some great games this season like UVA, tOSU and Oregon (WSU doesn't count) but with SC being punished in the polls for winning a tough game on the road style points matter and that means Sanchez has to lead from the front and make smart plays. It's critical now even though SC probably won't make the BCS Title Game a BCS bowl berth does hang in the balance because if he has a bad game that costs us a win SC will be in some no name bowl at the end of the season.