LOS ANGELES -Aaron Corp spends a few afternoons a week dropping back and looking out, scanning the field for an open receiver.
Corp also knows it would be foolish not to look back a little, too, because USC's No. 1 quarterback knows there are a few players hot on his heels.
"I am where I am based off of last spring. That was then," Corp said. "I have to reprove myself now. I think I can do a good job with that."
Last week, the Trojans' No. 2 quarterback, true freshman Matt Barkley, said he thinks the competition didn't end after the final snap this spring.
"I still think it's on. That's my goal. It's the one thing I'm striving for this fall," Barkley said. "It would be a dream come true to win this job. I'm just going to keep on competing. The coaches know it's not over, and Aaron knows that, too. I'm just going to keep working hard."
Corp wasn't offended by that idea. In fact, he's been in Barkley's shoes before.
"That's the mindset you have to have, really. Matt needs to have it too. It's the only way we can get better," Corp said. "Even last year with Mark [Sanchez], he was the guy. In my mind, I was still competing for a spot even though, realistically, it probably wasn't going to happen."
Corp said he knows why he left spring as the Trojans' top quarterback, and he hopes to do the same things to keep the job this fall.
"I think it was because I took care of the offense, and I didn't try to do too much." Corp said. "As I get more comfortable, that's when you start taking over more. You can take more chances and see what you can do and what you can't do.
"It's just about being a facilitator and getting guys who needed the ball the ball."
"It makes it really easy because I don't have to be a motivator. With those guys - Damian, Travon, RoJo, David - they want to be great," Corp said. "That makes it so much easier. I can just help them with the scheme or the route. I know they're going to work hard and pretty much do whatever I ask."
Corp's fully capable of helping even the most accomplished receivers because of the growth process under quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates.
"He's helped me with the mental part of the game a lot, breaking down reads in ways that are easier to me but that have never been taught to me before," Corp said. "The passing game has become easier."
With more knowledge and without losing any competitive desire, Corp's looking forward to the next workout and the next chance to get better.
"The season feels like it's coming," he said. "As far as the work that's still left, we have a long way to go. It's good to have the defense out there. It's just so much more realistic.