USC football: Mark Sanchez’s big test

Carson Palmer. Matt Leinart. Yogi Roth?

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez said he has done some soul-searching recently. An uneven performance against Arizona two weeks ago prompted him to call the former USC Heisman quarterbacks, Palmer and Leinart. He said a sit-down last week with Roth, the USC quarterbacks graduate assistant, particularly helped him to relax this past weekend against Washington.

“Yogi Roth asked me, ‘What kind of quarterback are you? Give me one word,’” Sanchez said. “The first thing that comes to mind is I want to win. I’m a winner. That was reassuring.”

Sanchez said some of his bigger struggles have surfaced not during plays but in-between them, as he has not been able let past mistakes go and focus on the next snap.

“Treating every time I step into the huddle as a new down,” he said.

He missed receiver Patrick Turner for a potential touchdown on USC’s first play from scrimmage against Arizona and said he was in a “funk” for two drives, the second one ending in an interception. Against Washington, Sanchez completed his first five passes and 14 of his first 15.

But California, which is tied for the national lead with 17 interceptions, figures to present a tougher challenge.

“This is a big week for me to put a lot of those lessons to the test and see where I’m at,” Sanchez said. “I think I’m coming into my own in this position and this program.

“I kind of got into that pattern of playing really well one week and then playing OK. I want to string a couple of these really efficient games together. Once we do that we’ll be ready for a big-time bowl game.”

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Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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