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Trojans report: Strategy and personnel

The Sports Xchange
 
Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant
 

LOOKING GOOD
Most of the outside attention on USC focused on the quarterback position, especially when new starter Mark Sanchez dislocated his kneecap in fall camp. No problems at all in the opener, though, as Sanchez completed 26 of 35 passes for 338 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. "He looked very sharp," coach Pete Carroll said. "It is really exciting for us as we look ahead."

STILL NEEDS WORK
Sophomore Joe McKnight is a dynamic talent, but he did fumble a punt catch against Virginia that drew the consternation of coach Pete Carroll, who thought it was a bad decision to try to field the ball. "I would like him to be more conservative," Carroll said.

STAR WATCH
Coach Pete Carroll says he will dole out the carries based on the matchups and who is hot. For sure, it looks like Carroll can keep fresh legs in the game at all times. C.J. Gable led the way against Virginia with nine carries for 73 yards; Joe McKnight had six carries for 60 yards; Allen Bradford rushed nine times for 41 yards and Stafon Johnson has nine carries for 28 yards. The rotation should continue, and any of them could be a star of that particular game.

CRITICAL DECISION
The decision to name Mark Sanchez the starting quarterback was made in the spring, and looks like a good one, considering his opening-game performance. What is perhaps more interesting is that redshirt freshman Aaron Corp beat out Mitch Mustain for the No. 2 spot. If Sanchez goes down to injury, this will be a much-scrutinized personnel choice.

ROSTER REPORT

--LB Rey Maualuga, who suffered from cramps during the Virginia game, collapsed at the airport before the flight back and needed an IV before and during the flight to avoid dehydration, according to a report in the L.A. Daily News.

--WR Vidal Hazelton will not practice this week because of a sprained ankle, but he is still expected to be available Sept. 13 against Ohio State.

--Seven true freshmen played in the opener at Virginia, including highly-touted TE Blake Ayles. The other true freshmen who played are: DT Armond Armstead, NT Jurrell Casey, DE Malik Jackson, LB Uona Kaveinga, S Drew McAllister and WR D.J. Shoemate.

Copyright (C) 2008 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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