The Legacy of USC QB's Continues with Booty

At one time, the Trojans were known as ‘Running Back U.' This decade however, it's all about the signal callers who wear the Cardinal and Gold.In a conference call with the ASU media, USC head coach Pete Carroll discussed that topic and others, as his squad prepares to meet ASU this Saturday.

Since the arrival of head coach Pete Carroll in 2001, USC has enjoyed some of its best football seasons since the late 1980's. Over the span of five years as head coach, the Trojans under Carroll have been crowned National Champions twice and have had three Heisman Trophy winners, two of which were Trojan quarterbacks. In 2002 it was Carson Palmer, two years later it was Matt Leinart and now everyone in Troy country is hoping first-year starter John David Booty can continue his predecessors' success.

Carroll has no clear cut explanation for this string of excellence at the position. "I think it's a combination of things," he said. "We have been blessed with very talented kids like Leinart…John Booty watched and waited two years before he could start so he's had real good preparation."

"He's been playing really good football and has been very consistent" the Trojan's head coach said of his junior quarterback. "He missed a couple shots last week, but basically he has done a terrific job managing the team."

The Devils' secondary will face yet another foe with an extremely talented wide receiver group, led by junior All-American Dwayne Jarrett and senior Steve Smith. However, that talented tandem may sit out Saturday's game due to injuries. Nonetheless, USC's underclassmen wideouts have proved they can carry the load. For example, against Washington sophomore Patrick Turner collected 12 catches for 112 yards and a score, and was instrumental in his team's 26-20 win last weekend.

"It was challenging because the younger guys had to step up in the first few games," Carroll commented. "Dwayne got back to playing last week and we're getting stronger. We have different guys who have big games and were hoping that it will continue for us."

Though USC's offense usually gets all the attention, their defense is usually overlooked. Nonetheless, even though they are a fairly young group, they are once again among the conference leaders, ranked second in the Pac-10 in total defense. "It's a very young group," remarked Carroll, "we have one senior starter. I'm hoping we can really settle in and be consistent throughout the second half (of games)." This is a weakness the Sun Devils will look to exploit because USC is being outscored by its opponents by 34 points in the last two quarters of each of their contests played in 2006.

Carroll noted that ASU is another big time challenge and will be a tough match up for his squad. "They're always a real balanced team that throws the ball downfield and they're running the ball well," he said. "They got off to a nice start and ran into two really good Pac-10 teams and I think this is again another tough team to deal with. Ryan Torain is running great for them and is a big factor as well as Herring with his speed. We've always respected this football team and we need to make sure to adjust to them and get a game going for ourselves."

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