LOS ANGELES (AP) -USC quarterback Mark Sanchez went through his first full practice Monday since dislocating his left kneecap 17 days earlier, and appears on track to start Saturday's season-opener at Virginia.
``Oh, I think so, absolutely. Especially mentally,'' Sanchez said afterward, when asked if he believes he's ready to play. ``I feel good about it. If it were up to me, I'm in.''
Sanchez, the projected starter for Southern California, was carted off the practice field Aug. 8 after making a throw and landing awkwardly. X-rays and an MRI exam revealed no ligament, cartilage or bone damage. He had been jogging and throwing for over a week, but wore cleats for the first time Monday since being injured and did most of the work with the first team while wearing a sleeve and a brace on his injured knee.
``It really felt good. We're progressing way ahead of schedule,'' he said. ``They warmed me up well. I didn't think about (the knee). I rolled out quite a bit, the knee didn't give at all. It felt fine.''
Sanchez certainly didn't appear to be ailing.
``Mark looked very good,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ``He's a little bit out of shape. You can see the tempo and the pace of the passing game is picking up. He looks good, he looks ready to go. I can't see any reason he won't play. I'm really hoping Mark can hold up and hang in there and get us off to a good start.''
Sanchez, a fourth-year junior, started three games last season in place of injured John David Booty. He completed 69 of 114 passes for 695 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions in seven games.
Carroll said Sanchez's conditioning is something for the coaching staff to watch.
``We've got to be careful about that,'' Carroll said. ``He's not way out of shape, but he's not in his best shape.''
Redshirt freshman Aaron Corp and third-year sophomore Mitch Mustain shared the work in Sanchez's absence, with Corp appearing to take a slight lead in their competition.
``We'll see how it goes this week,'' Carroll replied, when asked if there was a clear-cut No. 2 behind Sanchez. ``They both have worked really hard, they both have to get ready to play this week.''
The third-ranked Trojans, listed as 19 1/2-point favorites over the Cavaliers, fly east on Thursday. After playing at Virginia, USC gets a week off before facing No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 13 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in an early-season showdown between two of the country's highest-ranked teams.

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