While the football world was surrounding the NFL Draft Saturday afternoon, Pete's Carroll's USC Trojans were back in business in the LA Coliseum for their annual spring game.
With the withdrawal of Mark Sanchez to the NFL, spring camp surrounded the quarterback race between redshirt junior Mitch Mustain, redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp(above), and true freshman phenom Mark Barkley, with Corp getting the top line on the depth chart this week.
It was clear why Corp was named number one, and not because of great performance. Throughout the scrimmage Mustain(7 of 12, 85 yds, 1 int) showed just how over-hyped the Arkansas transfer was, when he came out of Springfield High (Little Rock) in 2006. He's got stone feet, all while throwing balls that routinely sailed off target. On no less than a handful of occasions, Mustain needed diving catches or attempts from his receivers to get close his passes.
Barkley (12 for 20, 124 yds, 2 int) on the other hand, while he showed tons of potential, made freshman mistakes and is progressing just like you would expect him to. In the small sample size that a spring game is, I would assume that he would be just as capable of starting for the Trojans mid-season.
Corp (14 of 23, 157 yds, td) was solidly average. He made his throws, did everything he was asked of, and was a somewhat flavorful vanilla.
Despite the Trojans losing 11 players to the NFL Draft, eight of whom started on defense, the D looked solid Satuday afternoon. Taylor Mays is doing his best Brian Cushing/Arnold Schwarzenegger impression in terms of muscles, and Troy Polamalu in terms of skills. Playing as a free safety, Mays continuously crashed off the edge almost as a hybrid linebacker, troubling the trio of quarterbacks all day long.
Nick Perry, and Marshall Jones had big days on defense with 7 tackles each. The Trojans are trying to bolster a new set of linebacker corps with Chris Gallipo(above) taking over for Rey Maualuga in the middle of defense. While Gallipo had four tackles, Steve Smith's younger brother added five.
Marc Tyler (7 for 44 yds) looked like a replacement to LenDale White, while C.J. Gable had the day's lone long run of 45 yards.
Rhett Ellison and D.J. Shoemate had nice outings, and will form a three headed monster at fullback along with Stanley Havili. However the question still arises, how will Pete Carroll keep all of his backs happy? With four running backs who could start just about anywhere, and three talented fullbacks, the corral will be loaded once again at the Coliseum.
Photos: Michael Castillo, The Sporting Globe