Aaron Corp waited two years for the chance to become USC's starting quarterback.
After winning the job in spring practice, the redshirt sophomore endured three long months before training camp began.
Now, with freshman Matt Barkley maturing daily, the injured Corp once again is trying to remain patient.
But, like everyone in and around the Trojans' program, he knows the clock is ticking.
Each day Corp remains sidelined moves Barkley a step closer to starting the Sept. 5 opener against San Jose State at the Coliseum, and perhaps beyond.
Corp said he was taking "mental reps" to stay sharp, but he'd rather be commanding the huddle and performing during practice.
"The frustrating part is, I'm asking the trainers, 'What can I do?' " Corp said Saturday. "There's not a whole lot I can do. It's a waiting game."
Corp is scheduled to have X-rays on Monday to determine whether the cracked bone in his left leg has healed enough to allow him to resume practicing.
Today will mark the sixth day that Corp will be sidelined since a defender rolled into his leg during a drill.
Corp has not run since then -- doctors nixed a hoped-for turn on the treadmill Saturday -- but he continues to throw passes on the sideline and has been tested in the weight room.
"My swelling is down and I feel good," Corp said. "It's just a matter of getting a doctor to say I'm fine."
A day after taking all of the first-team snaps in a scrimmage, Barkley made several highlight-reel throws during two practices.
But safety Will Harris intercepted a Barkley pass for the second day in a row.
"It was a ball that shouldn't have been thrown," Coach Pete Carroll said.
Harris, a fifth-year senior, would have four interceptions against Barkley had he not dropped two balls early in camp.
Older but new
Junior college transfer Hebron Fangupo continues to work with the first-team defense at tackle while Averell Spicer recovers from an ankle sprain.
Fangupo, 24, served two years on a Mormon mission before playing at Mt. San Antonio College. He is the Trojans' oldest player.
"Coming into USC, I'm a baby," he said. "These guys are younger, but to me they're wiser than me. They know how the program works."
At 330 pounds, the agile Fangupo is also the Trojans' heaviest player.
"The more vegetables I eat the bigger I get," he said, chuckling.
Tailback Curtis McNeal wasn't laughing when Fangupo fell on him during Friday's scrimmage. McNeal, listed at 5 feet 8, is expected to be sidelined for at least a week because of a shoulder injury incurred on the play.
"I told him I'm sorry," Fangupo said.
Fangupo is happy to be playing with the starters but would welcome Spicer's return.
"I pray for him every day to come back," he said. "It's always good to have a rotation.
"Staying in the whole game is no fun."
Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin animatedly addressed end Everson Griffen for several minutes after the morning workout. Griffen said focus was the topic. "If I stay focused and stay on task then my teammates know that I'm ready to go every day -- instead of kidding around or not paying attention or talking back to the coach," Griffen said. . . . Marquis Jackson, brother of defensive end Malik Jackson, created a minor stir during the afternoon practice when he entered the facility wearing a UCLA T-shirt. Marquis Jackson, a defensive lineman, has made an oral commitment to the Bruins. "We all know him," Trojans' defensive lineman Armond Armstead said, grinning. "We were just having some fun." . . . The Trojans practice today at 3 p.m.