There is obviously a ton of questions going into spring ball. There was a lot of movement in the off-season in regards to the coaching staff. Some coaches were promoted from within the coaching ranks while others were recruited to join SC’s staff.
On the personnel side of the ball the defense is pretty much all new faces while the offense returns just about everyone except at the QB position…that’s kind of a big deal and changes are already being made for the better in the players eyes.
...the quarterbacks praised new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates and shed no tears over the departure of former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
"It's certainly been a good change," Mitch Mustain said. "It's a lot different the way (Bates) and Sark did things. They are polar opposites. We'd all agree it's for the best."
Specifically, Bates simplified the offense by making it easier to understand some of the pass protections and eliminating some excess terminology.
"If anything, things make more sense with the changes he made," Aaron Corp said. "They are worked a little different than before and help out the running backs and offensive linemen.
Change is always good…we wish Steve Sarkisian the best but SC moves on.
There are going to be a lot of new faces and schemes going forward. With new offensive and defensive coordinators and a new quarterbacks coach its not hard to see how things couldbe different next season.
All eyes are the QB competition as Mustain, Corp, Green and Barkley look to win the starting job. Barkley even opened up spring ball as he was the first QB to take snaps.
Carroll and new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates did not hesitate to throw Barkley into the fire. The freshman took the first snaps during the team scrimmage portion of the workout.
Barkley, who graduated early from Santa Ana Mater Dei High, said he was "having a blast out there." He completed his first pass, struggled with a few others -- "some of my throws were kind of iffy" -- but generally impressed.
That's fine, I can see how that might make the competiton a little more fierce with the kid opening up the scrimmage but make no mistake this is going to be a battle between Mustain and Corp. One of these two is going to lead SC next year so whole I get the symbolism of Barkley getting the first snaps this is all about who is going to replace Mark Sanchez.
Obviously Mark Sanchez announcing his intent to forgo his last year of eligibility in order to make himself available for this years NFL Draft took many by surprise. So for those who want to fill those shoes now is the time they get to show the coaching staff if they are ready. Its going to be a long process by itself but when coupled with a new QB coach and a new OC there will be a lot to work through.
The moment Mark Sanchez announced he would forgo his fifth year of eligibility and enter the 2009 NFL draft, the seeds were planted for a captivating quarterback competition. The combatants take the field for the first official spring practice Saturday striving for the starting spot.
Not to place undue pressure on Aaron Corp, Mitch Mustain and Matt Barkley, but consider the following: Sanchez threw 34 touchdown passes in helping the Trojans to their seventh consecutive Pac-10 title and 11-plus-victory season. No other school has done that.
I certainly don't think its impossible, but I also don't expect spring ball to give us as many answers as we have been used to getting this early in the past. Pete Carroll is used to having the QB selection locked up by the time spring ball ends but even he isn't sure that will be the case this year.
I am not prepared to give any of the four an edge this early in the process...that includes Barkley who comes from a system at Mater Dei that is similar to that of USC. Mustain and Corp have the most experience under center in the system but that's not enough one of them really have develop and excel in all aspects of the game in the coming months.
I think Jeremy Bates will be an important cog in the machine here. He clearly has the experience and by giving his undivided attention to the QB's we could see some real development of the talent that we have on the roster.
The other thing going for the offence is that the rest of the offensive side of the ball is returning and that will be a big deal with the new QB having some seasoned vets to help move things along.
Nothing is perfect but with all the talent SC has on the roster it will help soften the blow of losing Sanchez...its just going to take time.