“Turnover Wednesday” was all about the status quo for USC’s quarterbacks.
With all eyes on redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp and true freshman Matt Barkley, both signal-callers played it safe. Neither one threw an interception, always a point of emphasis during the midweek practices.
Barkley took all of the first team reps, but the coaching staff tested Corp to see how his cracked left fibula was progressing.
“I didn’t see much of a change, but he didn’t have a fallout from yesterday,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “The fact that he’s back out here again today is progress.”
Carroll said Corp’s mobility had not fully returned since the injury, citing one play during practice when Corp struggled to take off downfield.
“That was a situation where we would have loved to see him get out there and weave through the secondary a little bit,” he said. “But it’s clear that he’s under recovery and getting close.”
Corp’s mobility has been a point of emphasis throughout the spring and into the fall. As one of the best scramblers during Carroll’s time with USC, Corp has given USC’s offense a new dimension by improvising on broken plays.
Re-establishing that aspect of his game is a step Carroll is eager to see.
“We want to see that he’s confident and can run and escape and all that — he’s never played when he wasn’t like that,” Carroll said. “I’m reluctant to think that he’d be comfortable if he can’t run like he always has, so I don’t want to put him in a bad situation.”
Both Corp and Barkley struggled at times with the timing of their throws, but redshirt junior receiver Damian Williams said the defense held a distinct advantage because “they know all our plays.”
“It may look like the reads aren’t quite right,” Williams said. “But that’s due to planning and playing these guys for years now.“
The strongside defensive end position will be one of the spots the USC coaching staff will be following closely during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Redshirt freshmen Wes Horton and Nick Perry, and sophomore Malik Jackson are all vying to earn the starting nod at the position.
Sophomore Armond Armstead was expected to open the season as a starter but suffered a break in his left foot, sidelining him for six weeks.
Jackson moved over from the weakside position and could provide an additional pass-rushing boost opposite junior Everson Griffen.
“He does very well at Everson’s spot as well, but he’s got something about him where he’s kind of slippery when rushing the passer, so we don’t want to miss the opportunity to have them both on the field at the same time,” Carroll said of Jackson.