The USC Trojans have logged hundreds of hours working in the offseason on Howard Jones Field with no one around to get to this point.
Monday marked the beginning of game week and you could feel the energy in the air as the team began installing the game plan for the season opener at Virginia on August 30th.
When the Trojans take the field in Charlottesville, Mark Sanchez will be the quarterback that leads them out of the huddle, if he can make it through this week without any setbacks.
Sanchez worked with the first team offense on Monday, firing passes all over the field and didn't appear to be limited by his inured knee.
"Mark looked very good today," Coach Carroll said on Monday. "You can see that the tempo and the pace of the passing game has picked up."
Sanchez took the majority of the reps with the first team offense and Coach Carroll expects him to be available on Saturday.
"I see him playing. I don't see any reason not to as long as he makes it through the week and we don't over work him," said Carroll. "He looks ready to go."
Sanchez will meet with team doctors again on Tuesday night and Carroll expects to make a final decision after hearing from the doctors.
Gable is Able
Tailback C.J. Gable marked his return to action with a tremendous run up the middle in which he made a few quick cuts leaving defenders grasping for air.
"C.J. Gable had one of the great runs in camp here on one of the last plays today," Coach Carroll said of Gable's impressive run.
Gable was able to participate in the entire practice on Monday and said he is very thankful to be back on the practice field just days after his injury scare.
"I was praying that I wouldn't have anything really bad," said Gable, who received a medical redshirt in 2007. "I'm just blessed that I didn't have a major injury.
"I don't want to watch another season ever again," Gable said.
After practice, Gable said the only lingering issue from his injury is a bruised hip.
"It doesn't hurt anymore when I run, it's just a little bruise,"
Notes from the field
On Saturday, Coach Carroll said Luthur Brown, who is having back problems, has an "excellent" chance of being available for the Ohio State game. Brown went up to deflect a pass intended for Vidal Hazelton during 7-on-7.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez worked with the first team offense and looked to have very good mobility during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11.
With Shareece Wright still sidelined Josh Pinkard and Cary Harris started at cornerback with the first team defense. Kevin Thomas will also rotate at cornerback. Coach Carroll said it's like they have four starters at cornerback and they will all see plenty of time this season.
Wright did some running on the side and will test himself during practice on Tuesday.
Coach Carroll didn't name a No.2 quarterback on Monday. "I will let you know that later in the week. Whichever way we go, the competition is just going to continue. They both have worked really hard and they both have to get ready to play this week."
David Ausberry had one of the big plays of the day when he elevated over two defenders to haul in a pass from Mark Sanchez.
Cornerback Kevin Thomas intercepted a pass from Aaron Corp.
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