June 13, 2008

Offense works with the ball

There was an extra buzz on the practice field Friday morning, as the entire USC Trojan team gathered for an early workout.

With great energy and intensity, strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle lead the team through a number of drills, setting the stage for the day's biggest event.

Following the workout, members of the Trojan offense stayed out on the field to get in some extra work in passing drills.

"Things have been a little informal and scattered out because everyone's schedules are different," sophomore quarterback Mitch Mustain said. "Today was the first day we were all here at the same time together.

"Our workout went really well. We were really on."

It carried over to the passing drills, led by junior Mark Sanchez. Sanchez, Mustain and Aaron Corp all looked sharp throwing to the Trojan receivers, running backs and tight ends.

"The quarterbacks looked great," Sanchez said. "We were all accurate the way we want to be. Our footwork was on fire, just the way we want it. The receivers looked enthusiastic, competing against each other.

"It was good for us to get our offensive timing down with the routes and the quarterback drops."

While there were some receiver drops, some coming from the backfield with Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable and Broderick Green, the rest of the team did their job, dishing out a healthy amount of shame to anyone who botched a recepetion.

"You can't drop a ball and not get yelled it. That's good. It's the kind of competition we want," Sanchez said. "When they drop a ball, they come back and get the same route again. That started with the quarterbacks, and they want to get better.

"They want to make everything perfect."

Corp said he took advantage of the most organized passing of the young summer by working on his feet, as well as getting in more time with the Trojan receivers.

"You can never get too comfortable with a group of receivers," Corp said. "I was making sure my feet were right and working on time."

Corp said he and Mustain have gotten help by following the template Sanchez laid out.

"He's making sure everyone gets out there," Corp said. "He's done a great job setting up the drills. Mitch and I just try and follow him.

"We're getting the work in what we need."

Leading the drills with enthusiasm and effectiveness, Sanchez called out routes in between pinpoint passes.

It's my job to lead by example. When I see something I can help them with I need to be the right kind of leader and speak up. I expect them to police me too.

It's a lesson he learned in his days as a young Trojan.

"It's a similar relationship to when I came in and Matt (Leinart) would help me out or John David (Booty) would help me out. I'm just reciprocating that coaching, putting right back on the younger guys."

Next week, the defense will get involved, as the team will start seven-on-seven drills.

"We wanted to get some offensive time in our own," Sanchez said. "Next week, we'll kick it up a little bit. It'll be even more competitive. It's the next step, and it'll be good for us."

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