Fall practice isn’t what it was expected to be. Instead of fine tuning all units for regular season play, the Trojans have faced one plague after another. What began with offensive lineman Jeff Byers missing the entire fall practice with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, became quarterback Mark Sanchez and a collapsing leg that made him resemble a transformer. Now it’s moved on to running back Joe McKnight, who had two fingers mangled in a dorm room door accident. And let’s not forget 25% of the USC football roster suffering from tinea cruris, better known as “jock itch” or “balls afire”. This irritation is a likely result of new compression shorts being worn by Trojans this fall, but the series of events leave me wondering when the locust will arrive, and how many plagues still remain.
Joe McKnight taped his fingers and continued to practice, and the word from camp is that Mark Sanchez may possibly return as early as next week. Sanchez is walking without a limp and wearing a smaller brace on his knee. Jeff Byers is finally practicing for the first time this Fall.
It was big news when Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain battled for the starting QB gig, and during scrimmage the Trojans offense managed to score just once. But don’t be so quick to fault the young hurlers for it. The problem was along the offensive front, where the line surrendered 4 sacks in the 11 offensive series, and on many plays simply went the wrong way. Carroll continues to stress the Trojans offensive line as the biggest concern going into the 2008 season.
Defensive End Everson Griffen is disgruntled. The Trojans coaching staff challenged him to overcome his injury and return to practice. Everson had been sitting out with a bad hamstring, and accepting the challenge, it was reaggrevated. The USC coaching staff and Trojan teammates say Griffen, one of the top defensive line prospects of the 2007 class, displays cockiness, but his play is inconsistent. Griffen is currently splitting time with converted linebacker Clay Matthews who now plays defensive end.
Can’t Hook’em Here
Tuesday scrimmage was a rare occurrence, where it was closed to the general public and only open to family members. Spotted in the coliseum was Texas coach, and college baseball legend, Augie Garrido. Garrido, who also coached at nearby Cal State Fullerton, didn’t think it would be a problem to sit in. But just as quickly as Augie was spotted, is as quickly as he was thrown out.