Thursday Practice: The Waiting Game

The Trojans are now less than 48 hours away from heading into another hostile road environment with the status of some key players still up in the air. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Thursday's practice.

The Waiting Game

The Trojans are now less than 48 hours away from heading into another hostile road environment with the status of some key players still up in the air.

Matt Barkley, Taylor Mays and Joe McKnight all missed practice again on Thursday with various ailments.

"This game calls for people to play at their best with what they got," Carroll said. "Rarely during the course of a football season is a guy 100 percent."

Carroll said the decisions to play Barkley and Mays could go all the way to game time on Saturday.

"All of these guys feel better each day and so we will just see how far they come around by game day," Carroll said. "I am just taking all the time that we have and trying to make good decisions."

Barkley wasn't able to throw during team drills but did make some progress today by briefly throwing some short passes on the side during practice.

"He was being careful with the carriage of the ball and how he put it up," Carroll said. "He kept it in a real safe zone, which we want him to and wasn't fully extended, but he felt comfortable throwing it like he was."

Carroll said that Barkley, who has a bone bruise, isn't in danger of further aggravating the injury unless it forces him to alter his mechanics.

"His situation is not one where we are jeopardizing anything structurally at all. He's got a bruise that is really, really tender," Carroll said. "It's not something that he is going to hurt more.

"There is no other further damage to any other part of his body other than the fact if he really changed his motion. That could give him a sore arm in other areas."

While most eyes will be focused on which quarterback is under center for the Men of Troy another equally important player, Taylor Mays, is still banged up.

Mays hasn't practiced all week but is optimistic that he will be able to play because he has made steady progress.

"I am trying to play," Mays said. "If I can warm up, then I will be able to play."

The All-American safety will likely be a game time decision.

"I was sore but after I warmed it up and put some ice on it I was good. It felt good," Mays said. "I am just going to see how it feels at game time."

Hot Reads

- Taylor Mays, Matt Barkley, Joe McKnight, Marc Tyler, Brian Baucham, Ronald Johnson and Armond Armstead were among the players that didn't participate on Thursday.

McKnight missed his second straight practice because of migraines and Carroll said the junior tailback is also battling the flu.

"He really did have a little bit of the flu and so he had to sit out today. He has been lying up since yesterday," Carroll said. "If it's like with the other guys that have gone through a little bit of it, they have come back in a couple days. He should be back tomorrow, so we will wait and see."

- Sophomore quarterback Aaron Corp has had a solid week of practice and is ready to make the first start of his career this Saturday in Seattle, if needed.

"He's had a very good week. He's ready to do it. It's what he has been preparing for all along," Carroll said. "It's been in his mind that he is the starter, and he can do this, and he did nothing to display otherwise during the week."

- Cornerback Brian Baucham missed practice and isn't expected to travel after suffering abrasions when he got into a motorcycle accident on the 110 freeway earlier in the day.

"He was very fortunate that he didn't sustain any major injuries for the accident that he was in," Carroll said. "I don't know the extent until he sees the doctors, but he did go to the hospital this morning and he was OK and he was released, but he got scraped up pretty good though."

With the absence of Baucham, T.J. Bryant will receive the majority of the reps in the Trojans' nickel defense.

"Bauch has been doing well and he was going to get a lot of looks in the nickel stuff this week," Carroll said. "T.J. Bryant and Marshall Jones are ready to go. T.J. is really ready to take over the spot for Brian Baucham."

- Former USC assistant Steve Sarkisian spent seven years learning under Pete Carroll at USC, and has implemented several of Carroll's principles in trying to rebuild the Washington program.

"We brought quite a bit. I think I'd be a fool to come up here and try and reinvent the wheel," Sarkisian said. "Obviously we have our own wrinkles to things, we have things that we have to do differently to fit our personality and my own personality, but ultimately, they're very similar."

Cornerback Brian Baucham was in a motorcycle accident on Thursday.

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