In the event you have not heard by now, Aaron Corp went down toward the end of practice on Monday when a lineman fell on his knee. Although Corp returned for the last few plays, he was held out of practice yesterday. An MRI today revealed that Corp has a small crack at the top of his fibula.
It could have been much worse as the MRI also revealed that there was no ligament damage. As a result, Corp will miss one to two weeks of camp while true freshman Matt Barkley and transfer junior Mitch Mustain battle to take his place as the starter.
It is a case of déjà vu from last year. Almost the same situation arose when Mark Sanchez, the announced starter at the time, dislocated his knee cap. At that time it was Corp and Mustain who were battling it out to take Sanchez’ place. However, Sanchez returned during the final week of practice before the season opener, and the rest is history.
This time many have conceded that Barkley was actually gaining on Corp every day. Both had some near interceptions, but it has been Barkley who has shown the stronger arm.
Whether he has as good a command of the offense and Corp’s leadership qualities is yet to be determined. However, if he does, there is a very real possibility that he could surpass Corp on the depth chart even if the redshirt sophomore returns sooner than later.
The other question is how will the injury effect Corp’s ability as a scrambler. That is the one area where Corp has been far ahead of Barkley and Mustain. In fact, last year he was even superior to Sanchez, who was no slouch when it came to moving around in the backfield.
Meanwhile Mitch Mustain has become all but the forgotten man. First Corp was getting the majority of reps. Now Barkley is getting them. So, the question remains: will Mustain be able to show enough football presence and leadership to give either Barkley or Corp a battle for their spots on the depth chart.
Later, I will have a report on the first five days of Fall Camp and which players have been standouts. Also, I will continue my Trojan Football series with Part III, the Defense in the next day or two.