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USC FYI

Mustain has mixed results during practice

October 08, 2008|Gary Klein and David Wharton | Times Staff Writers

USC moved full speed ahead Tuesday with its game plan for Arizona State, but there remains some question about who will run the offense when the eighth-ranked Trojans play the Sun Devils on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez suited up in full pads for the workout, jogged at times from one part of the field to another and tossed a few passes during warmups, but team trainers directed him to the sideline to rest his sore left knee.

Meanwhile, sophomore transfer Mitch Mustain continued to take first-team snaps in preparation for what could be his first start for the Trojans. "I'm going to prepare to go even if he comes back," Mustain said.

Sanchez, who suffered a bone bruise against Oregon on Saturday, was examined after practice by team physician James Tibone. The junior said he hoped to practice today or Thursday and play against Arizona State. "It looks a lot better than it did and it feels a lot better," Sanchez said of his knee.

Mustain looked sharp during part of the workout but struggled at times with fatigue. "Tuesdays are never perfect," offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said.

During a blitz period, Mustain was under fire behind an offensive line that was without senior left guard Jeff Byers, who sat out to rest a sore knee.

"Spotty," was how Coach Pete Carroll described Mustain's performance during the drill. "Guys have to protect him better."

Carpenter still questionable

Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter still had his injured ankle wrapped in a protective boot Tuesday, Coach Dennis Erickson offering a cautious prognosis in regard to the USC game. "We'll just see how he is on Wednesday and Thursday," Erickson said. "I've got to see movement, I've got to see a lot of things with him before he'll play."

Quick kicks

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee sprain) wore a brace and participated in several drills. "We'll see how far we can take it," he said of playing this week. . . . Fullback Stanley Havili suffered a neck strain on the final play of practice, but said he would play on Saturday. . . . Tailback Allen Bradford (hip) will not practice or play this week. Bradford said he would have an MRI exam and receive an injection on Friday with hopes of returning next week. If the junior does not play the rest of the season, he could apply for a medical redshirt. Fellow tailback C.J. Gable was granted a medical redshirt last season after playing in the first three games, then undergoing abdominal surgery. Bradford said he had not considered transferring.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

david.wharton@latimes.com

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