July 30, 2008

Sanchez pleased with summer work

Two different days, two different looks.

Last Friday, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez had a scowl on his face while the team went through its drills sloppily.

But that scowl didn't last long, as Tuesday, Sanchez and the Trojan football team concluded it's summer in manner worthy of a big smile.

"It was just perfect. It was great - good plays on both sides of the ball, it was energetic and it was the kind of tempo we needed heading into fall camp," Sanchez said. "Now, we have to keep things up on our own this next week and be ready to play.

"It was a really good workout today. We finished the way we wanted to - just ride this wave of momentum all the way into camp."

After close to nine weeks worth of summer workouts, the team will take some rest before reporting for fall camp on Aug. 5.

And in some ways, camp can't here fast enough.

"Before any kind of camp, before spring ball and before fall camp, guys get a little giddy out there. They get really excited," Sanchez said. "Cabin fever kind of sets in. That's why it might look like we're losing focus."

Sanchez didn't hide his displeasure with the level of some of the summer workouts, most recently on last Friday. Sanchez said his demeanor is mostly a reflection of his desire to do things correctly.

"Sometimes, you want everything to be perfect, especially as a quarterback. You want everything to be right. You want the timing to be right; you want the reads to be right," he said. "When you throw it, you want guys to catch the ball. You want to throw the best ball in the world."

But instead of stressing too hard, Sanchez has things in perspective.

"Sometimes, though, you have to realize we're still kids, well young men, out here. Guys want to have fun," he said. "It's a summer workout. There aren't any coaches out here, and there aren't any real consequences. You just have to make the most of it and get what you can out of it right away."

One thing Sanchez has enjoyed is working with wide receiver Jordan Cameron. In Tuesday's workout, Sanchez marveled at Cameron's ability to go up and snatch passes out of the air.

"He's so big. It's a dream for a quarterback," Sanchez said. "You can just take a step back there, close your eyes and lob it up because he's so big and he can jump so high. He's got great hands - really soft hands.

"He's got to be good (for at least one red zone touchdown)."

The offense as a whole progressed throughout the summer, and Sanchez is happy with where the team is at.

"The timing is definitely better. Coming back in the summer, you just want to get back into the groove where you were when spring left off," Sanchez said. "We had a wonderful spring scrimmage, and we wanted to stay in that same vain and keep going. "

It's easier than it sounds.

"It's tough. It's a long summer - however many weeks, all those team runs, the workouts and summer school," Sanchez said. "When it starts to feel right, then the new guys come. Then, you have to start all over again and try to get them to understand the tempo.

"It's tough to keep things up and to keep the energy up, but this team's responding well."

Whether he's smiling or scowling, Sanchez is in the middle, ringleader, in control of even the chaos.

"I think it helped that coach named me as the starter going into the summer so the team kind of had someone to look to when things get a little crazy," he said. "It's a good position for me to be in - to balance the fun and the focus."

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