Not really surprising, but all of the focus is on how the Quarterback battle is shaping up.
With Aaron Corp being named the starter during spring ball and with freshman phenom Matt Barkley in a great position to compete for the starting job there is a lot of anticipation on how this will turn out. Corp has the inside track if for no other reason than he has more experience in the USC system. That, as we have seen in the past, goes a long way.
But Barkley will not be deterred, he thinks he has an excellent shot at being named the starter and while Pete Carroll has named Corp the stater he has also acknowledged that the competition is far from over.
Barkley is going to give Corp a run for his money...
USC's first practice was supposed to be a day to show things changed dramatically from spring drills. But for freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, it looked similar to his practice performances in April.
Barkley drew cheers from the crowd at Howard Jones Field when he completed a long pass to freshman wide receiver De'von Flournoy that turned into a 70-yard touchdown.
Barkley had some bad throws too but he is not going to back down.
Corp had a more of a journeyman performance that was efficient.
Conversely, quarterback Aaron Corp was not flashy but got off to a solid start as the No. 1 quarterback.
"Right now, Aaron's in the lead and he came out and looked very comfortable," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "He came out and played football and wasn't stilted or quiet."
And this is all it needs to be...
For Corp the starting job is his to lose. But you can see that he intends to make the most out it as he made some nice plays of his own in practice yesterday.
Building on his performance in the spring, Corp (Orange Lutheran) did not throw an interception and completed a high percentage of his passes. He said the chemistry and timing he had with his receivers was a product of their work together over the summer.
"There's no way we'd come out and complete many balls if we hadn't done that, especially deep balls," Corp said. "It would've been really tough."
Among the prettiest completions of the day was an out pattern thrown to the back shoulder of receiver Damian Williams, who spun to catch the ball and tapped his toes just inside the left sideline.
There is no question that USC in good hands at the QB spot, it is just going to take time to get both of these guys settled in. Corp has already made the smart move by reaching out to a couple of former USC QB's about how handle the team as he moves forward.
On the eve of the first practice of training camp, Aaron Corp sought counsel from former Trojans quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez.
Both NFL players offered the sophomore quarterback the same advice.
"Take over," Corp said they told him. "That's what I'm trying to do."
That is what the team is going to need, a solid leader who isn't afraid to take the reigns of the team. Palmer did it, Leinart did it...so did Booty and Sanchez.
How the QB goes is how the offense goes.
QB coach Jeremy Bates knows what he is doing, he helped develop Jay Cutler and his involvement has already simplified the playbook from what we saw with Steve Sarkisian. While the overall look and feel of the offense will be pretty much unchanged; how the QB's interpret and implement the offense has been simplified and with two young QB's (and a transfer that seems to be struggling a bit) that will go a long way to getting them settled in.
Barkley has already stated how he has found it easier to pick up the offensive signals since spring ball. That is a major hurdle to competing for the starting job...it shows his maturity. It is clear that he is more comfortable.
There is still a long way to go but it is great to see that they guys have picked up right where they have left off and that they have already made improvements since spring ball.