You might say John David Booty hears the footsteps behind him. Understandably so, he probably feels the pressure of Mark Sanchez breathing down his back. Until last Saturday when Booty wasn't able to make the start for the Trojans, Sanchez hadn't started a game for USC.
Sanchez got the start, performed well enough to seal a victory, and Booty knows he doesn't want to give up his own spot on the roster. A competition is brewing, it's probably a good thing, and the job is Booty's to lose. Booty deserves the starting role, he's paid his dues and he's led the Trojans for 1-1/2 years.
But Sanchez got a taste of the NCAA game, and he probably won't let up once Booty recovers from his broken finger. It will probably be a healthy competition for the starting spot, but the decision will be made when Booty can contribute again. Only time can determine when that will be.
John David Booty threw the ball in practice for the first time since breaking a finger against Stanford over a week ago. Both Booty and Coach Carroll stated, they will see how his finger reacts to the practice and go forward from there. Carroll commented that he is not in a rush to decide the starting quarterback role until it is clear whether Booty can play effectively. Booty stated he is anxious to come back and will do so as quickly as possible as long as he can contribute to the team in a positive way.
On the other side, Mark Sanchez was elated that he got the chance to start against the Arizona Wildcats. He said he had never gotten the kind of love and support that he had over the weekend. Sanchez feels that if he is called on to start again, this time against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, that he would be more prepared and emotionally more settled for his second start.
Sanchez also said the last week has been very exciting, his preparation has been different, as he takes more reps in practice, knowing he would start last week, he prepared as best as he could. He mentioned that the coaches told him to take better care of the ball when he scrambles, and that one of the coaches said "He was kind of like Bambi on Ice," on his 10 yard scramble against the Wildcats.
"More than anything," said Sanchez, "this week is about beating the Irish." Sanchez looks forward to starting this week in South Bend.
On the sidelines with varying degrees of injuries: Sam Baker, Kyle Moore (resting his knee), Rey Maualuga, Stafon Johnson, Kristofer O'Dowd, Charles Brown, Martin Coleman, Butch Lewis, Chilo Rachal, Thomas Herring, Zack Heberer and Broderick Green.
Green, Johnson and Nick Howell gave it a try at various drills. John David Booty did throw passes but did not take any snaps.
Ouch! At one point Jeff Byers reacted to a hit to his hand. He winced in pain but continued to practice.
On the Sidelines
Pat Haden and Wendell Tyler were on the sidelines, spending time with each other for a while.
Pete Carroll Thoughts
Pete Carroll praised both quarterbacks today. He mentioned that Booty threw about 10-12 balls during the team time and made it through okay. He was surprised by the speed of Booty's recovery. Carroll said he is not in a rush to name a starter. Both Carroll and Booty mentioned evaluating Booty's progress by seeing how his finger reacts to today's practice.
Carroll said Mark Sanchez had a solid day. He said Sanchez needs to elevate his play and that they (the coaches/team) need to get our guys (quarterbacks) settled more. He mentioned to Sanchez "he was starting until he's not."
He also said Shareece Wright, Brian Cushing and Nick Howell practiced and he was excited about that. He expects Chilo Rachal to practice tomorrow, but there is no timetable for Rey Maualuga at this time.