Thursday Practice: Sanchez on Track

Once again, the Trojans are getting healthy at just the right time. Mark Sanchez is on track to start against Arizona State, while Mike Morgan and Stanley Havili are both expected to be available. Look inside for all the details.

Sanchez on Track to Start

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez took the majority of the snaps in practice on Thursday and is on track to start Saturday's game against the Arizona State Sun Devils barring any setbacks.

"The bulk of the snaps went to Mark and he dealt with it quite well," Carroll said after practice.

Sanchez, who suffered a bone bruise in the Trojans blowout victory over Oregon, has made his second quick recovery of the early season.

"It looks very promising," Carroll said of the possibility of Sanchez starting. "It looks like that is the way it's going."

"I thought he had a nice practice," offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian added. "We will have to evaluate it tonight and then again tomorrow to make sure the swelling stays down, but I thought he looked really good today."

The junior quarterback has emerged as the emotional leader for the Trojans' offense in 2008 and has passed for an impressive 1,069 yards and 13 touchdowns so far this season.

Johnson Getting Returns

Tailback Stafon Johnson will take on the punt returning duties this week in place of Joe McKnight, who has struggled to cleanly field kicks as of late.

"Stafon is going to go first in the game," Carroll said. "He had a steady game last week."

Earlier in the week, McKnight acknowledged that he was having issues fielding punts because he was focusing on the defenders before securing the ball.

"I wasn't looking the ball in," McKnight said. "When I would catch I would look straight up the field instead of looking the ball in."

Carroll made the switch to Johnson, who is considered a safer option.

News and Notes

- Linebacker Mike Morgan (concussion) returned to practice on Thursday and will be available for the Arizona State game.

- Stanley Havili didn't participate in contact drills today, but expects to play against Arizona State.

- Tailback Joe McKnight was back at full-speed on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice with swelling in his knee.

Stay tuned to SCPlaybook.com for news and updates on the USC Trojans.


USCFootball.com Top Stories