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Tomorrow it's On!


Hat tip to Defender90 for the idea of the putting up the cover…via TrojanWire

Here is the link for the PDF for the Spring Ball Guide.

Spring ball starts tomorrow and the questions will begin.

Who's it going to be?

The highly anticipated competition for starting quarterback starts tomorrow when spring ball gets underway. In the 3 months since SC's dominant win over Illinois in the Rose Bowl the speculation as to who will win out has been the subject of deep conversation.

It's the biggest quarterback competition at USC in at least five years, but if there is actually going to be a controversy, highly touted transfer Mitch Mustain needs to make up some ground on frontrunner Mark Sanchez.

Otherwise, this quarterback derby could be as quiet as two years ago, when John David Booty beat out Sanchez despite missing almost all of spring practice with a back injury.

Mark Sanchez seems to be the front-runner in many fans eyes as he has had 3 years in the system under his belt. Mitch Mustain has some catching up to do but his 8-0 record as a freshman starter at Arkansas should not be discounted. Sanchez may have three years in the system but in his first starts after the injury to John David Booty his play was considered spotty by some. Mustain's willingness to take a chance and compete for the job at SC shows just how much of a competitor he is and that's what SC wants to see but he is at a disadvantage only being a year into the system.

Sanchez was seen as the favorite to replace John David Booty but with Mustain coming in the stakes are a whole lot higher. Both QB's will see reps with the first team to show the coaching staff what they've got. Mustain set the bar high with his impressive showing in a December scrimmage. He is all that is advertised but can he close the gap? Aaron Corp will also get some reps but I think it's safe to say that he needs another year or tow before he is ready to go.

SC fans are restless to get back to the BCS Title game and it is going to take a QB with poise and confidence to steer this team in the right direction to meet that goal. Both QB's are confident but it should also be noted that this is the just the first step. The starting QB will probably not be won in spring ball but whoever is the most impressive will have the edge going into training camp in August.

Running back will also have some stiff competition with C.J. Gable and Broderick Green back from injuries and Mark Tyler finally getting his chance to show us what he's got. Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson look to be the frontrunners but there will be a lot competition for a starting job. Don't forget about Allen Bradford either I still hope to see him get some quality reps and be in the mix for an increased role.

Wide Receiver also gets a couple battles going with Arkansas transfer Damien Williams hitting the field now that he is eligible. We also hope to see what Travon Patterson can do as he also come back from injury. Ronald Johnson will also see some reps as the younger guys try to get ahead of the veterans Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton. David Ausberry will also see prominent role.

The Defense

The defense is a bit more stable though the big question is who will replace Big Sedric Ellis and Lawrence Jackson on the line.

Spearheading the defense from their linebacker spots will be 2-time All-Pac-10 first teamer and 2007 Trojan tackle leader Rey Maualuga in the middle and fellow Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brian Cushing on the strong side. A pair of third-year starters--2007 All-American first team free safety Taylor Mays and 2007 All-Pac-10 first team strong safety Kevin Ellison--will anchor the secondary, along with returning starter Cary Harris at cornerback. Tackle Fili Moala, another third-year starter, and end Kyle Moore return on the defensive line.

Others with starting experience on defense are safety-cornerback Josh Pinkard, a 2005 starter who missed the last 2 seasons with knee injuries, linebackers Kaluka Maiava and Clay Matthews, cornerbacks Kevin Thomas (he has missed most of the last 2 years with injuries) and Shareece Wright, defensive end Everson Griffen, a Freshman All-American first teamer last year when he became the first USC true frosh defensive lineman to start an opener since 1986, and transfer safety Shane Horton (a 6-game starter at UNLV).

There will be lots of storylines to follow in the coming days and we will keep an eye on all of them. Lets hope for an injury free affair.