Like the old Holiday tune, It's beginning to look a lot like Sanchez, everywhere you go…
Pete Carroll has stated that he is in no rush to name the starter for Saturday's meeting in South Bend with the Fighting Irish. John David Booty has acknowledged that his finger is not 100% and he would not jeopardize himself or the team. Mark Sanchez continues to take first team reps.
If there were odds on the starting job against Notre Dame, it would look something like 65-35% that Mark Sanchez would be the starter.
After practice on Wednesday, no one had a definite answer as to who will start on Saturday. But reading between the lines, it appears that Sanchez will get the nod, barring a miraculous recovery from a broken finger by Booty.
JOHN DAVID BOOTY
On the challenges of the week, Booty had this to say:
"I just want to be able to play and be effective, that's my goal. I'm not going to put myself out there and jeopardize my team if I don't feel like I'm capable to play the way I know how to play."
"Mentally I feel 100%, I feel like I'm on top of our game plan and what we are doing. It's just physically; I don't think I'm quite where I want to be. It's a week after a broken finger so I didn't expect to be 100% physically right now."
"It's about the team, it's not about me or being a senior or anything, it's about these guys, it's about this program and our fans."
"Anybody who knows me knows I want to be out there, it's killing me not to be, but if I can't play like I am capable of playing and really help us, then I'm hurting us."
Booty also stated that medium range passes are okay, but the long passes are difficult.
After taking all of the first team reps for the last two weeks, Mark Sanchez talked about getting his timing down with receivers and being mentally prepared to play.
On Being Ready to Start, Mark Sanchez said:
"I'm trying not to think of it as much, and just run the plays right, call the plays right, study as much as I can and be ready for this trip. I think I'll be ready."
"We ran similar plays today, it helped me make better reads and be comfortable. I just have to be more efficient."
"I think the first game jitters are out and I'll be ready to play and have fun and be efficient."
COACH PETE CARROLL
Carroll has been adamant the last two weeks that the decision to start Booty or Sanchez is not a thing he will rush into. Coach Carroll had this to say:
"We're just continuing to stay the course that we're on, Mark continues to take the first team reps and John got some work done again today. We have to make sure to take care of him (Booty) again tomorrow and Friday. To give him some time down from throwing, to give him a little bit of rest to be as strong as he can be."
"I'm not rushing to any choice right now, but Mark's preparing to start. I'm talking to him as a starter, we're preparing for him to be a starter and that's where we're going until it changes."
Jumping to Conclusions
So most of the words spoken by those involved are that Booty should be able to play. It seems though, that he will not be able to sustain a full game of contact.
No decisions have been made, but the groundwork has been laid for Sanchez to be ready to start. Booty's self evaluation that he is not 100% healthy combined with Sanchez' preparation, it stands to reason that Sanchez will get the nod.
Best Case Scenario
The ideal situation would be that Booty gets in the game, maybe even start until he can't continue. Carroll has always been fair with his front line seniors. Recalling the 2003 Orange Bowl, as the Trojans completed the game, each running back (Justin Fargas, Sultan McCullough and Sunny Byrd) got the chance to score a touchdown and did.
So if the situation permits, this being one of the greatest rivalries in college football, played in the great Notre Dame Stadium, maybe, just maybe both quarterbacks get to see the field. Look for Sanchez to be the number one quarterback for this one, though.