Preparing for Arizona

There have been a lot of changes and introspection this week following the loss to Stanford at the Coliseum last Saturday. The Cardinal snapped the Trojans' 35 game win streak at home. With the unfortunate injury to John David Booty, Mark Sanchez has been preparing to start Saturday when the Wildcats come to town.

After a couple days of planning and analysis by the coaches, it is becoming more likely that Sanchez will get the call to start at quarterback. In addition to Sanchez taking all of the first team snaps, Jeff Byers has moved to center to give Matt Spanos time to recover from finger injuries. Since Spanos has not worked with Sanchez and Byers has not worked with Booty this week, the writing on the wall becomes clearer each day.

In all likelihood, the tandem of Byers and Sanchez will take the field as the Trojans take on the Arizona Wildcats. Coach Pete Carroll summarized the first three days of practice this week:

"This was a big day for us to get back on the field and get to work. It's very important for us (to have) the kind of heated and energetic practice, the kind of practices that we know," said Carroll. "The competition was really good today. The offense did really well against the defense that was fun - and good for those guys to play without John (Booty) in the lineup today."

Evaluating Mark Sanchez' Practice

"Mark was particularly sharp, and I know that just helps everybody's spirits. We had a good time out here today, so we'll go ahead and take our next step tomorrow and see where we are.

John did not throw the ball today, and we're not going to have him throw it for a while. We'll make sure we'll give him a chance to just heal as much as possible, and we'll figure out who's going to start just a little bit later."

"You'll know soon who's going to start; there's no rush to this decision. As long as we're working hard and we're focused, we'll take each day and see what happens."

John David Booty's Status Without Practicing

"I know he can play. John played in the game (Saturday); we know he can play. It's just a matter of if it's the right thing to do and how sharp will he be. So we continue to work with Mark (Sanchez) and get him as right as we can, and with his support and help of Mark, we'll just keep moving and see where this goes. I don't know yet. It doesn't matter to me to tell you right now, because I don't know. We'll let you know when we do."

The Revolving Tailback Rotation

"Chauncey (Washington) is the starter and he gets the lead opportunity. We're ready to go with Hershel (Dennis) in all situations, and Desmond (Reed) can do everything we need to do. We still have Joe (McKnight) and AB (Allen Bradford); they're ready to play for us.

We want those guys to be part of it so, we're not changing our thinking at all about how we're doing it and we're still rotating our guys and moving them in and out of the lineup."

Carroll then talked about Stafon Johnson.

"He ran today, he ran around, he felt pretty good today as far as coming back. So tomorrow's a big day for him, we need to see if he can do something. This is not a dangerous situation for him. He's just got to get back and going. He ran today and took some plays and felt pretty good about it, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's ready to go on Saturday. We would not go into a situation where we would feature him, but if he feels okay, we'll consider whether or not we're going to play him."

Thomas Herring and Charles Brown Suffers Ankle Problems

"Thomas (Herring) got kicked in the back of his ankle and tore up his ankle a little bit. A similar thing happened to Charles Brown He fell on the back of his leg. It's not serious injuries, they should both be ready to play for the weekend. They just need a couple of days here. It really puts a lot of pressure for the rest of the guys to get a lot of snaps."

He continued, "Practice was a little shorter today with the competition part. We got all of the game plan part done. We had to abbreviate it a little bit just because we didn't have all of those guys for those reps."

Turnover or No Turnover Wednesday

"The offense threw a no-hitter, there were no turnovers, it was a good job by the O. The offensive coaches are thrilled."

Thomas Williams Recovery

"Thomas is fine. He's a hundred percent. He's on the same time frame as Mark (Sanchez) and John David (Booty) are. He looked good, he practiced full speed today, was in on the game plan, and he can play full time if we need him. Clay (Matthews) is ready to go too, so we have both of those guys available to us and both will play."

On Defending Mobile Quarterbacks

"Compared to the some of the other guys, Willie (Tuitama) is more of a pocket guy. He can run, but they don't call on him to run the ball much. He's basically in the pocket. He'll move around suddenly and stuff like that. It's a little bit different call from the quarterback position so I don't see it the same."

Center Position Rotating Door

"We would consider leaving Jeff Byers at center. With Matt (Spanos' injury), it's important that we wait as long as we can so his hand heals. I am concerned about the fact that (Mark Sanchez) hasn't worked with Matt much."


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