July 23, 2008

Corp feeling better under center

One year ago, and Aaron Corp was lost.

Lack of knowledge about his new system left him without confidence.

Forced to spend plenty of energy thinking, Corp's quarterbacking instincts took a backseat.

Today, though, and a more relaxed Corp is a big reason why the offense has begun to come on and hit stride during the past few summer workouts.

"I think every time we come out here, we get that much more comfortable out here," Corp said. "We can get used to some of the younger guys. Our timing gets better each time out."

Playing against the Trojan defense once a season isn't an easy task; doing it on a daily basis is near impossible.

While the offense sputtered though the early seven-on-seven battles this summer, Corp said he had to erase any memories of those days when completions happened on only the rarest occasions.

"I guess it was frustrating, but you also have a short memory," he said. "You just have to keep working hard and believe that everything will work out. Confidence is a big thing - especially for me at quarterback.

"Every day helps."

And those days add up to weeks, months and years.

In Corp's time on campus, he's already become a much different player than he was while he starred at Orange (Calif.) Lutheran. The difference between him now and then, Corp said, it staggering.

"I'm a 100 times more comfortable," Corp said. "It seems like last summer, I didn't even know the most basic stuff. I wouldn't say that I have it perfect yet, but I've definitely improved."

And because of his recent situation, Corp knows just what it'll take for freshmen Blake Ayles, Brice Butler and D.J. Shoemate to become bigger parts of the Trojan passing game.

"The biggest thing with them is getting them reps and getting them used to how we do things on offense," Corp said. "They've been working hard, and they've been doing well."

The hard work's been paying off for Corp. Tuesday during seven-on-seven drills, Corp completed a number of balls down the field, including one to a wide open Travon Patterson.

"Travon's working really hard and getting a lot of reps in," Corp said. "He's staying after, and hopefully it'll pay off for him because he can help us."

The deep pass, particularly Corp's willingness to throw it, has been a topic of conversation on the field with his Trojan teammates. Corp said the teasing doesn't both him - he's just taking care of the ball.

"I'm just taking what's there," he said. "Most of the time, it might seem that I check the ball down. I'm not looking to force anything down the field, but it it's open, I'll take my shots."

Working with Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain has helped Corp's maturity over the past year.

"It's good experience to learn from those guys," Corp said. "I know what it takes to play at the elite level from watching those guys. They're a couple of good influences."

And after a good day like he had Tuesday, Corp got rewarded - sort of.

As the players trickled off the field, senior linebacker Brian Cushing snuck up on Corp, lifted him in the air and took him to the ground.

The Cushing body slam, like any criticisms, hasn't left Corp phased.

"Really it's not that bad," Corp deadpanned. "He needs to get stronger."

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