Last fall, when John David Booty broke a finger on his throwing hand, Mark Sanchez stepped up and filled in admirably. What was not written about was Sanchez's congeniality. Sanchez greeted the media each day with a big smile and a handshake for each reporter. Not exactly what the media expected.
Five months later, Booty is gone and Sanchez is left behind to vie for the starting position along with Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp. Since the start of winter workouts and conditioning, Sanchez has clearly been the leader of the up and coming Trojan Football team.
SCPlaybook met with Sanchez to discuss his off-season program and his immediate future with the Trojans.
Sanchez Speaks About the Future
On taking a leadership role, Sanchez said, "I think it's most important for me to establish myself as a leader and be able to run this offense when there's no coaches on the field."
Mark Sanchez has taken the leadership role for winter conditioning workouts
He continued, "It comes naturally to the back-up quarterback after the senior leaves. It's also part of my personality, it's the position I signed-up for, it's the position I love. That comes with the territory and I wouldn't have it any other way."
He discussed the upcoming quarterback competition, "It's going to be a battle between all three of us (Sanchez, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp), and we're all three excited. It'll be great to be out here in spring, we're hoping our fans come out and watch, like always and we're excited about the opportunity to try and start for the USC Trojans, it's going to be fun for us."
Taking a Break
So what will Sanchez do on Spring Break? "Just stay home and work-out, stay as fit as possible and not lose any of this conditioning. I'll work-out a little bit and throw as much as I can and rest up for spring. I'll be in Mission Viejo."
We asked Sanchez how his studies are progressing, he answered, "School's awesome, and I love it. I'm doing well in the classroom and this is really a chance when you're not in season, to try and get ahead in school and really boost that GPA. I have a lot of time to spend on my school work and I'm utilizing that time. I'm a Communications major."
Sanchez discussed his graduation schedule, "I'm in my fourth year, and I'll graduate this coming fall. I plan to be back for my 5th year."
The Upcoming 2008 Football Season
What does he expect for this upcoming season? "I can't wait, I think it's going to be exciting for the team. This 2008 team is looking to make our own mark and set our own standards. We have a lot to look forward to and we're excited about it."
We asked Sanchez what the team goals for 2008 are, he answered (with a chuckle), "Just make it through spring." That being said, he elaborated, "We want to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl like always, but we're just trying to make it through spring first."
About having the #1 preseason ranking he commented, "It doesn't matter. This team will be about ‘us' like always, and keep things internal and worry about our opponent each week. All we can do is do our best in practice, if we're number one or number ten, we'll do our best either way."
Sanchez concluded our conversation with a big smile, "Thank-you very much!" (and a firm handshake, of course).