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Looks like Sanchez is ready to go!

As numerous outlets reported that QB Mark Sanchez was back on the practice field yesterday, taking the majority of the snaps, you could hear a collective sigh of relief as SC's first post-training camp practice got underway. The only question is his conditioning...

Mark Sanchez's left knee appears sound. So does his right arm.

But after his first full practice in 17 days, it was evident Monday that Sanchez's conditioning could be a factor when the Trojans play their opener at Virginia on Saturday.

"He's not way out of shape, but he's not in his best shape and so we have to just be careful with him," Coach Pete Carroll said. "I would tend more to underwork him than overwork him."

Not really surprising and I don't think it will be real tough to get him back up to full speed though that won't happen before the game against UVA and it looks like Pete Carroll is already looking to see, not that he wasn't already, who will be the back-up on Saturday.

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is expected to start against Virginia, but Trojans coach Pete Carroll said the junior's fitness could cause him to insert either Aaron Corp or Mitch Mustain for brief periods in the season opener.

[...]Carroll said whoever the backup quarterback is, the position will be up for grabs on a weekly basis.

"The competition will continue and we'll see how far we can take it," he said.

At this point, Corp is believed to have a slight edge over Mustain to be second string.

I'm not too worried here as I know they will make the right choice bt it is looking more and more like Corp will go over Mustain. That might be a blow to Mustain but that will be a real character builder. I said over the weekend that if SC was up handily against UVA that we would see the back-up's get some playing playing time but it looks like that whoever the primary back-up will see some PT no matter what.

The other thing that could determine when the back-up's get into the game will be how much Sanchez will be under pressure and that will be determined on the play of the offensive line and it appears that they have made some big strides in the past 7-10 days.

As USC prepares to open its season at Virginia on Saturday, the Trojans still need to replace four offensive line starters from last season with a relatively inexperienced group, but Ruel's comments now are a bit more optimistic.

"They're no longer puppies," he said. "I've got some maturing guys as a group."

Ruel needs to be right if the Trojans are to live up their billing as a top-five team. Whenever the team is put under a microscope, the offensive line immediately gets identified as the soft spot on the team.

I am not surprised that they have improved but have they improved enough to keep the pressure of of Sanchez so tat the plays can develop and will they be able to open up some holes for the running game. I realize we aren't talking about Pop Warner players here but they're not NFL verterans either. The versatility on the line also helps if someone goes down you can move someone around while plugging someone else in. Regardless, Ruel has vowed that the O line "will not be the weak link", he is working them hard to get them up to where he feels they need to be for opening day.

Here is Sanchez in action on the first day of practice...