By all accounts, true freshman Kristopher O'Dowd played well in his first game as a Trojan. O'Dowd was Scout.com's #1 ranked Center in the Class of 2007, and he got a chance to play earlier than expected
Carroll was concerned about starting a true freshman at center. On Thursday, Carroll reversed his decision and said it would be better to start O'Dowd and leave Byers at left guard. This involved no position changes.
As it turns out, O'Dowd played well and looks like he is a natural at the position. With two weeks to prepare for the Nebraska game, O'Dowd will have more time to work with John David Booty and the rest of the offensive line.
About having two weeks to prepare for Nebraska, O'Dowd said. "It'll help me out to prepare better."
His performance tonight will be his measuring stick as to whether the coaches continue to start him at center.
"I'm hoping I did well, and hopefully I get to start against Nebraska." O'Dowd credits his quarterback with helping to make the quick jump to the starting lineup.
"J.D. is a great leader on this team, I have the utmost respect for him and having him (receiving the snaps), makes me feel confident.
Practicing the next two weeks with the first team should help with timing, comfort and adjustments for Booty and the rest of the Trojan Offense. O'Dowd plays the center position well and should be ready for the Trojan's game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 15th.
John David Booty Speaks About O'Dowd
After seeing the Trojans struggle a bit with fumbles early in Fall camp, Booty gave credit to the freshman for a seamless performance.
"I thought he did good," said Booty. "The biggest thing is he's giving me the ball, you can't play football without the QB-center exchange, that's the first thing of importance, and that was perfect."
He went on to explain O'Dowd's ability to make calls and communicate to other linemen. "I thought he did a really good job with that." He continued, "It was the perfect setting for him, to break himself in, to becoming a Trojan, in a home opener versus Idaho to start the season off. If Spanos doesn't come back anytime soon, he might go the full year. So it was really big for him to go out there tonight and get this thing started.
Stafon Johnson Breaking Out
Sophomore tailback, Stafon Johnson has received positive reviews for his work and performance throughout Fall Camp and going into the season. After a lackluster first year which his work ethic was questioned and internet rumors abounded that he would transfer. Instead, Johnson worked hard through the summer and into Fall Camp. The one remaining question would be, could he perform under the pressure of a real game?
Johnson had an impressive game, carrying the ball 12 times for 64 yards, 2 touchdowns and had a reception for seven yards. Just how important was this first game of the season for Johnson?
"It's a major impact…the fans, they appreciate it…they needed that, to show that we've been working," said Johnson
Earlier this year, Johnson lost his grandfather, who had been an encouragement for him to continue to work hard.
"My family has been unbelievable, the love that my family has, my mom and my dad," Johnson continued, "The love they have to have me push on every day, and I'm not even talking about my grand dad, that's a whole other issue."