Quarterback U? Changes for the Trojans

With Mark Sanchez taking on the starting role as quarterback for the USC Trojans, a lot of questions arise. How will Sanchez fare? If he is successful, what does this mean for John David Booty? What happens to the Trojans for the remainder of the 2007 season?

Questions and More Questions

Some answers are readily apparent. One week at a time, for instance. Rather than get wrapped up in a quarterback controversy, let's see what happens in the game against the Wildcats. How quickly will Booty recover? It may be moot to ponder starting quarterbacks if Booty is not ready to play tomorrow or next week.

It's hard to not get ahead, to envision the possibilities. Sanchez had a great week of practice. When it started to look like he would start the game, Sanchez' demeanor changed, his confidence level soared and his leadership skills became quite apparent.

Comparing Personalities

John David Booty is a workman. Being raised in the south, football for him is business like, matter of fact and work-ethic based. Each game is treated like work for Booty, and he keeps an even keel – you don't know how he feels because his emotions are kept in check.

Mark Sanchez is an emotional type leader. Being raised in Southern California where glitz and glamour is the norm, football for him is more of an emotional endeavor. He is demonstrative and outwardly shows his emotion while playing the game.

Mechanics

Booty is a conservative quarterback, with laser precision passes. He is not a mobile quarterback and prefers to sit in the pocket or run out on a bootleg to complete a pass. He is comfortable with accurate passes and tries to have sure passes rather than take risks. Booty prides himself with sure, lower risk passes.

Sanchez is a more liberal quarterback, with a very long arm. He is quite mobile and will roll out of the pocket on a bootleg or run the ball up field. He would just as soon throw the ball 40 yards for the chance of a big time score as he would throw a short screen. Sanchez is thrilled by the long ball and the thought of big-time plays.

Background

John David Booty was raised in a football family. His father coached all of the Booty sons and raised them to play football. The family is a football family. John David Booty was the quarterback of renowned Evangel Christian High in Louisiana where his father was the coach of the football team. Booty played for the varsity football team from the seventh grade. He graduated early and left to play football for the Trojans before his senior year of high school.

Booty's father, Johnny, played quarterback at Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and Mississippi State, and coached football at Evangel Christian. His brother, Josh, was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns who played at LSU for 2 seasons (1999-2000) following a 5-year (1994-98) baseball career as an infielder in the Florida Marlins organization (including 13 games in the majors). Another brother, Abram, was a wide receiver at LSU (1997-1999) and Valdosta State (2001).

Mark Sanchez graduated from Mission Viejo High in Orange County, California under the tutelage of Bob Johnson, father and mentor to former USC quarterback Rob Johnson. He spent this freshman and sophomore years at Santa Margarita High School, alma mater of former USC Heisman Trophy quarterback Carson Palmer.

Sanchez' brothers; Nick (Yale in 1992-93-94) and Brandon (DePauw in 1997), both played football in college.

Comfortable Uncomfortable Zone

While not fair to Booty, who has successfully guided the Trojans for the past 1-1/2 years, a nod to Sanchez at this point of the year could be a welcomed relief. USC has struggled in recent games, barely defeated Washington and losing to Stanford.

There is a degree of frustration amongst coaches, players and fans due to the slump the Trojans are currently battling. Most of it is circumstance – new, young receivers who have yet to find a rhythm and injuries to the backfield, centers and linebackers. But as is the case, the quarterback gets the glory for victories and gets condemnation for defeats.

As unfair as it is to Booty, Sanchez has the potential to provide a shot in the arm to a team that has struggled through two difficult weeks.

Until the game is decided in the Coliseum and Booty returns from a broken finger, we won't know how this mini drama will play itself out.

If Sanchez leads the Trojans to a decisive victory, there may be a difficult decision ahead for Pete Carroll and his staff. Time will be the judge. Only time will tell.



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