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USC FYI

Aaron Corp injury causes scare at camp

The sophomore quarterback goes down when a teammate rolls into his left knee during a scrimmage drill. Corp returns and runs a few plays.

August 11, 2009|Gary Klein

A hush did not fall over the practice facility. Nor did a cart transport a despondent player from the field for a trip to the hospital.

But when USC quarterback Aaron Corp was briefly hobbled by a knee injury on Monday, it hearkened back to 2008, when starter Mark Sanchez suffered a dislocated knee cap.

Sanchez's injury, also suffered on the third day of training camp, created uncertainty within the program and a daily competition between Corp and Mitch Mustain for the possible chance to start the opener at Virginia. Sanchez returned and parlayed his one season as a starter into a multimillion-dollar NFL contract.

On Monday, with the Trojans practicing in shoulder pads for the first time, Corp went down after a teammate rolled into the quarterback's left knee during a scrimmage drill. The sophomore, who entered camp listed No. 1 on the depth chart, returned and ran a few plays, including a couple requiring scrambles.

"No big deal," Corp said of the mishap.

With Corp briefly sidelined and Mustain absent from practice to attend a class, freshman Matt Barkley seized an extended opportunity to keep the pressure on Corp for the chance to start Sept. 5 against San Jose State.

Barkley had earlier thrown a highlight-reel 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy, and he continued his hot hand throughout the scrimmage drill.

Coach Pete Carroll praised Corp for returning, and again raved about Barkley.

"Playing with the first group, handling it against the first-team defense, making checks, making adjustments -- it's a remarkable accomplishment in our way of gauging things," Carroll said.

Barkley reiterated his intent to win the starting job.

"If come San Jose State I'm not the starter, I believe that, if not by that time, I eventually can take it over this year," he said.

Corp plans to practice today and strengthen his hold on the No. 1 spot. Missing a few plays, he said, should not set him back.

"Once you start missing days, that's when it matters," he said.

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Making an impression

Defensive players wasted little time ratcheting up the intensity on the first day of contact.

In the first one-one-one drill, linebacker Chris Galippo slammed into running back Joe McKnight, creating a cacophony that could be heard from one end of the field to the other.

The collision left McKnight with a swollen right eye.

"We talked about, in the linebackers' [meeting] room, just how important it was to set the tempo early," Galippo said. "We also talked a lot about shutting people up. I think we kind of did that."

Safety Josh Pinkard delivered the biggest hit of the day when he leveled McCoy after a catch.

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Building for the future

After the morning walk-through, Carroll met with athletic department administrators and others to discuss a proposed new building that would be constructed near Heritage Hall.

The facility would possibly house new football offices, a strength-and-conditioning center and the university's student-athlete academic services operation, Carroll said.

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Quick hits

Carroll praised freshman linebacker Jarvis Jones, who worked at the strong-side spot. . . . Tailback Curtis McNeal sat out after having a tooth pulled before practice . . . Linebacker Marquis Simmons is not practicing because of a hamstring injury.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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