Friday Practice Report

There was plenty of news to report on at practice on Friday. Mark Sanchez suffered an injury, Brice Butler was on crutches, Jurrell Casey stepped into the competition at nose tackle and some impressive recruits were on hand including Matt Barkley and Byron Moore. Look inside for all the details.

Sanchez Dislocates Knee

Nobody in the crowd at Howard Jones Field quite knew what had happened when USC starting quarterback Mark Sanchez was suddenly on the ground in pain as the team began stretching drills.

Sanchez jumped up to make a pass during the team's agility drills, landed awkwardly on his foot and twisted his knee.

"He was real scared that he had hurt himself," Pete Carroll said.

After practice Coach Carroll met with team doctors and was relieved to learn that Sanchez's injury wasn't considered serious. The redshirt junior suffered a dislocated left kneecap but didn't have any complications and is considered day-to-day.

"Mark dislocated his kneecap. They put it back in (on the field). There are no other complications," Pete Carroll said. "It's a day-to-day deal. We'll wait and see. He's real encouraged and the doctors are, too. It will be immobilized over the weekend, then he'll start rehab on Monday. It's day-to-day and we'll see how it responds."

Casey Joins Competition at Nose Tackle

Pete Carroll has been very pleased with the play of the freshmen defensive linemen and after practice on Friday he singled out Jurrell Casey and raved about his play at nose tackle.

"Jurrell Casey had a very good day today," Carroll said of the frehman. "I'm really excited about this guy at the nose tackle spot."

Many thought it would be a two-man battle between Averell Spicer and Christian Tupou for playing time at nose tackle, but Casey has quickly jumped into the fray.

"In a spot that really is one of question with Averell (Spicer) coming back off his injury, this is a wide open competition and he has done very well the first couple days out here," Carroll said. "If you noticed he went with the first group quite a bit today."

Casey is listed at 6-1, 280 pounds and Pete Carroll said he reminds him of a former Trojan defensive tackle that had a nose for the ball.

"He looks very much like Mike Patterson," Carroll explained. "He's almost pound for pound the same as the day Mike showed up here."

Butler in a Boot

USC freshman wide receiver Brice Butler was wearing a boot and was on crutches for Friday's practice after twisting his ankle during the team's morning walk-thru.

"In the walk-thru today he turned his ankle and his ankle blew up a little bit," Pete Carroll said after practice. "He has the classic lateral ankle sprain."

Recruit Watch

USC Commit Byron Moore was on hand to watch the Trojans practice on Friday. Moore, who is rated the tenth best safety prospect in the nation by Scout.com, was decked out in USC gear from head-to-toe and had a big smile as he watched the hard-hitting USC defense.

Along with Moore was his Narbonne High School teammate Sean Parker. Parker is a vicious hitter and is considered one of the top defensive backs on the West Coast for the class of 2010.

Scout's top-rated overall recruit, Matt Barkley also stopped by practice to see how the team was looking. USC fans can watch two USC recruits in action when Barkley's Mater Dei team faces off against Morrell Presley and Carson HS on September 3rd.

Notes from the Field

Brian Cushing set the tone early for the defense. The intimidating linebacker came alive during the inside run period stuffing the run on consecutive plays and letting the offense hear about it. Cushing really is playing at another level so far in 2008.

The team was in shoulder pads for the first time today and Jordan Campbell and Allen Bradford were really physical. We mentioned Campbell's hitting ability yesterday and he continued to punish the running backs today.

Allen Bradford brings a defensive mentality to the tailback position and ran through both Drew McAllister and Gerald Washington during 11-on-11.

Joe McKnight was slippery as ever on Friday. During 11-on-11 he bounced a run outside and beat the defense to the edge for a big gain. A few plays later he raced through a big hole untouched for a touchdown.

Freshman Drew McAllister had one of his better days. McAllister intercepted an Aaron Corp pass and also made a nice tackle on Joe McKnight in the open field.

Kevin Ellison cut in front of a receiver on the sideline to intercept a Mitch Mustain pass and return it for a TD.

Damian Williams caught a nice pass from Aaron Corp up the seam for a touchdown.

Travon Patterson caught a 45-yard bomb from Mitch Mustain for a touchdown. After practice Coach Carroll praised the play of Patterson.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com


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