The USC Trojans take on the University of Arizona this Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PST at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on ABC. The Trojans are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Stanford Cardinal. Arizona has a record of 2-4.
KEYS TO A TROJAN VICTORY
The Trojans will be led by Mark Sanchez who hasn't started a game or played in a full game since high school in 2004. Regular starter, John David Booty's broken finger swelled up on Wednesday and he did not throw any passes during practice. Booty has not practiced all week.
Sanchez is described by Coach Pete Carroll as being a "gunslinger" quarterback, willing to take more risks than Booty. He is also a more emotional and mobile quarterback.
The most important aspect for Sanchez to be aware of is to manage the team and try not to do anything spectacular or special. If he plays under control and doesn't commit turnovers, Sanchez will lead the Trojans to victory.
The offensive line has been riddled with injury this season. New Trojan snapper, Jeff Byers, will replace Matt Spanos as the starting center. Spanos will probably be available to play, but he is nursing cuts to his fingers suffered against the Cardinal. Spanos also has a knee and triceps injuries. Over the last three weeks the offensive line has undergone several changes due to injuries.
The line must protect the quarterback and create holes for the tailbacks to run through.
Chauncey Washington is the starting tailback and will get the bulk of the carries. The Trojans running attack was less than impressive last week. It will be important for Washington and the contingent of running backs available for this game to establish a strong running presence. Hershel Dennis and Allen Bradford should get carries in this game.
Coach Carroll has been preaching take-away to turnover margin for the last few weeks. He emphasized it this week again. USC has had a poor turnover margin of late and had five turnovers to one take-away against Stanford.
This ratio has to improve. Carroll stated on Monday, you can't win if you turnover the ball. The emphasis then is to take care of the ball on offense and create turnovers on defense.
The receivers have yet to put on a dominating pass reception game. Patrick Turner has been putting up good numbers in yardage but he needs great numbers. Turner needs to catch balls thrown his way more consistently. He has a propensity to drop balls and needs to hang on to balls thrown his way.
A second receiver has to step up to the plate as well. Vidal Hazelton has shown flashes of brilliance. Ronald Johnson had a reception for a touchdown last week. If either receiver steps up and has yardage at or around 100 yards, it would relieve the pressure for both Turner and the tailback by committee.