If I Was Coach: I'd Start Sanchez Over Booty

"Sanchez is just now coming into his own. He is gaining confidence and he gets the team to respond to him. Could it be the "it" factor? You see it all the time: teams respond to certain quarterbacks. As teams respond to certain pitchers in baseball or point guards in basketball. This is not a knock on John David Booty, but the team plays with more emotion when Sanchez is out there."

If I was coach, I'd start Mark Sanchez

The upcoming football game against the #5 (BCS) University of Oregon is a huge game for the Trojans. Sometimes you get just one chance. You have to make choices. I'd choose Mark Sanchez with John David Booty coming off the bench.

Rationale

Sanchez is just now coming into his own. He is gaining confidence and he gets the team to respond to him. Could it be the "it" factor? You see it all the time: teams respond to certain quarterbacks. As teams respond to certain pitchers in baseball or point guards in basketball. This is not a knock on Booty, but the team plays with more emotion when Sanchez is out there.

It All Flows Downhill

Like anything else in life, success (or failure) flows downhill. Who is at the top affects how the team plays. Again, not a knock on Booty, but at this juncture of the season, the team is responding better to Sanchez' fire and emotion. The receivers are catching the ball. The players are fighting uphill a little harder. Sanchez gets excited and the team gets excited. Sanchez gets emotional and the team gets emotional.

Circumstance

Call it fortuitous or some sort of roll of the dice. When Booty went down, Joe McKnight suddenly appeared (just a chance happening), but the receivers also started catching the ball better (maybe not chance here). The offensive line decided to beat the path in front of them no matter who was playing next to them on the line (no reflection on Booty or Sanchez).

The team is gelling at this point in time, but most of it is just timing. Still, I wouldn't leave it to chance or take a risk. I'd start Sanchez.

Booty Off the Bench

Fortunately for Pete Carroll, Booty's finger is still broken, and that can decide the starter for one more game. Booty's finger is still swollen and it looks like a good week or two before he is fully healthy. So I would start Sanchez and have Booty come off the bench for this very important game against the Oregon Ducks. I would then have the two compete for the starting role in the Oregon State game.

Booty is a Great Quarterback

Remember the Rose Bowl? Booty executed perfectly. The game was a runaway and the team looked great. Under Booty's leadership these Trojans also looked great against Nebraska and Washington State this year. So, there's nothing wrong with Booty, it's just that I'd just use him off the bench for this next game. I would start Mark Sanchez.

If I was coach, I'd start Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton

Ronald Johnson and Joe McKnight would be my third and fourth receivers, Allen Bradford and Stanley Havili would be out there as well. And they are.

With the Trojans, the first three receivers get a lot of playing time. Although the Trojans list a slot and wide receiver, in reality there are usually three receivers and quite often four or five.

So in order of playing time:

1) Patrick Turner
2) Vidal Hazelton
3) Ronald Johnson
4) Joe McKnight
5) David Ausberry

Also, Bradford and Havili would get their chances.

How much different is this than what is going on right now for the Trojans? Not much, except Ausberry would fall behind Ronald Johnson.

If I was coach, I'd spend more time on Special Teams

Special teams have been the Achilles' Heal of Pete Carroll teams. I'd spend an extra fifteen minutes each day on special teams. But I'd also hire a coach who could actually teach something about playing on this unit.

Things I'd work on: kick and punt protection; kick and punt coverage; and hanging on to the ball. It's all about the ball, isn't it?


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