June 3, 2008

Trojan QB knows workouts will pay off

It's early, and there's no requirement that Mark Sanchez and the other Trojan quarterbacks don't really have to be on the practice field.

The offensive line, though, those guys have to be at the 7 a.m. session.

So it shouldn't be a big surprise that Sanchez, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp rolled out of bed, laced up their cleats, and ran onto the turf at Howard Jones Field Monday morning.

Sanchez isn't a dummy; he knows he has to keep the big men up front happy.

"I like to get out and workout with the lineman," Sanchez said. "They appreciate it when the quarterback comes out early with them because they're supposed to be here."

Sophomore center Kristofer O'Dowd said he and his mates up front notice the gesture.

"When the quarterbacks like Mark, Mitch and Aaron come out early, it gives us the sense that they care about the work we're doing," he said.

None of this comes as that big of surprise, as Sanchez's attitude and leadership are two of the major reasons head coach Pete Carroll endorsed Sanchez during spring workouts.

"Mark's just a great kid out there," strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle said.

Sanchez worked his way through a busy first day of summer workouts Monday.

"There's been a lot more stretching and some ankle work to strengthen our legs. It's been good," Sanchez said. "There was a good turnout for this early morning workout. It's going to get hot, and nothing beats this kind of weather.

"It was a good day. We beat the heat by getting out early, and we got some good work in at the same time."

Whether it's working his way through footwork drills, doing slide steps with resistance bands limiting movement or legging out 40-yard dashes at the end of practice, Sanchez said he trusts Carlisle and his methods.

"It's never your favorite thing to be running, but we do it for the right reasons. We condition so hard now so that during the season, our practices can go at full speed. It's worth it to get it out of the way now," Sanchez said. "Wearing the bands around your ankles helps the o-linemen. They start pass setting and they feel faster than they ever have. Coach Carlisle does a great job with all the guys.

"We always try and relate everything to football, and then it all works out."

Sanchez said the Trojans might bring the football out on the field early this summer. Like everything, it's all part of process - means to an end.

"We'll start preliminary (throwing) this week, but we'll get a real schedule in the next few weeks. We'll have set days for throwing," he said. "The offensive linemen will do pass sets against the defense. As we progress, probably right before the Fourth of July, well do some seven-on-seven team stuff.

"By the time we hit camp in August, we'll already be full speed."

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