Saturday Practice: Quarterback Battle

The intensity level rose significantly Saturday as Mark Sanchez, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp all took turns running the Trojans offense. Lots of recruits were on hand including Chris Polk as the Trojans continued to get ready for the Rose Bowl.

Is it Spring Yet?

It appears that Spring practice has come early for the USC football team as Mark Sanchez, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp all rotated at quarterback with the first team offense. While it isn't quite spring the quarterback competition definitely raised the level of intensity at Saturday's practice.

"John David (Booty) had a class this morning so he missed today anyway and I know they can't help but feel like the competition is underway. This is great stuff, great stuff," Pete Carroll said. "It's interesting to see these guys take advantage of their opportunities."

For the second straight day Mark Sanchez looked the most comfortable leading the Trojans offense. Sanchez was on the money today completing his first five passes during 11-on-11 drills.

Mitch Mustain got his first opportunity to lead the first team offense the last two days and his strong arm and mobility have really stood out. Mustain said he is just excited to be back in the mix.

"This week has been great. Yesterday I was a little unsure what to expect but today was a lot better," Mitch Mustain said. "(Aaron) Corp and I both did a lot better and played a lot faster. Hopefully next week will be the same."

Needless to say, next year's quarterback competition is going to be fierce and the Trojans will be in good hands no matter which player emerges as the starter.

Carroll on Illinois

Pete Carroll said he hasn't watched much tape on Illinois yet but his initial impression is they remind him a lot of Oregon on offense.

"Offensively they are very much like Oregon, same approach and principles. A big, good running back and a really fast mobile quarterback and good, big receiver," explained Carroll.

While Illinois is known for their explosive spread option offense Carroll said they also have a very good, disciplined defense.

"Defensively they are really solid. They are really good and really well coached," said Carroll. "They are a confident team. They played really tough against Ohio State in a great match up. It was a tight game and they stayed with them and just played beautifully down the stretch."

Coaches Hit the Recruiting Trail

USC is only allowed 14 practices before the Rose Bowl so the Trojans won't return to the practice field until next Friday, December 14th. While the players will be focused on taking finals next week the coaches will be flying all over the country visiting recruits.

"We are hitting the road, we're rolling. This is a big recruiting opportunity time for us again. We're rocking and rolling," Carroll said. "We will be all over the place next week."

You can be sure that Pete Carroll will be dropping in to pay a visit to some of the top players in the nation.

Practice Notes

Keith Rivers, Chauncey Washington and Lawrence Jackson all were sidelined for the second straight practice.

Chris Polk was roaming the sidelines during Saturday's practice. Polk spent most of practice talking with Chauncey Washington.

Brandon Carswell had a big practice catching a deep pass from Aaron Corp and a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Mustain.

The defense dominated the early 11-on-11 drills. Rey Maualuga and Mozique McCurtis each had a tackle for loss.

Linebacker Clay Mathews had a quarterback sack.

Marc Tyler, Herschel Dennis and Marc Tyler got the majority of the work at tailback. Tyler and Bradford had back to back big runs during 11-on-11.

David Buehler made 3 of 4 field goal attempts connecting from 20, 27, and 47 yards.


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