Thursday Practice Report: Booty to Start

The Trojans came out Thursday for their last full speed practice before facing the Oregon State Beavers this Saturday. SCPlaybook has all the news and notes from Howard Jones Field.

Booty Gets the Start

John David Booty has taken nearly all the reps with the first team offense this week at practice. The senior quarterback said that his finger hasn't bothered him at all or limited his play.

"It isn't causing me any pain on any of the throws," said Booty. "It feels great."

After Thursday's practice Pete Carroll announced that Booty would return as the starting quarterback this Saturday against Oregon State.

"We are going with John (David Booty). It's clear that he had a good solid week and he's ready to play," Pete Carroll said. "I hope that a couple weeks off hasn't thrown him out of kilter at all. We are looking for him to jump back right where we left off."

Booty returns after missing the last three weeks with a broken finger on his throwing hand. The Trojans went 2-1 in his absence.

Stafon Johnson Ready to Contribute

Sophomore Stafon Johnson has been the Trojans most productive running back when healthy. But unfortunately Johnson hasn't been healthy since injuring his foot late in the Trojans 27-24 victory at Washington.

The Trojans' tailback is no longer walking with a limp and looks ready to give the Trojans running game a boost this Saturday.

When asked about the status of his foot Johnson responded, "It's feeling better. I think I have finally reached about 85 to 90%."

Baker Trying to Make a Return

Sam Baker has been hampered the last two weeks with a pulled hamstring. The big offensive tackle was considered a long shot to play Saturday, but has made a valiant effort to return and is now considered a game-time decision.

"He's trying to will his way back on the field which is exactly the way we'd like him to compete to return. We will be very careful with him," said Pete Carroll. "We know that he is still banged up."

Even if Baker can make a miraculous return he will only see limited action this weekend against Oregon State.

"We are planning on going with Butch (Lewis) starting at left tackle until something changes," Pete Carroll said.

Feeling the Pressure

John David Booty has returned from injury just in time to face college football's best pass rush. The Oregon State Beavers are the nation's leader for sacks per game average 4.25.

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll explained why the Beavers have so much success putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"They have a lot of experience and a really good scheme. They are very aggressive with their guys. They trust their guys to be able to do quite a few things, a lot of different kinds of pressures and all that," said Carroll. "It's just a good solid scheme with guys that know what they are doing that play really hard."

Practice Notes

- Chilo Rachal sat out Thursday's practice because he was suffering from the flu and has some tightness in his calf. Pete Carroll said they expect Rachal to start on Saturday against Oregon State.

- The Trojans continued to spend extra time on special teams during practice. At Thursday's practice the coaches stressed the importance of kickoff coverage and kickoff returns.

- Scouts from the Saints, Bears, Redskins and Eagles were out at practice Thursday watching the USC prospects.

- Safety Taylor Mays intercepted a Mitch Mustain pass and returned it for a touchdown during team drills.

- Broderick Green and Marc Tyler displayed their physical running styles against the first team defense today. The two big freshman tailbacks gave the starting defense all they could handle.

- John David Booty looked really sharp after his three week layoff. Booty connected on several deep passes with Patrick Turner and Ronald Johnson.

- Offensive lineman Thomas Herring is still sidelined. Herring has a noticeable limp and was wearing a brace on his right knee.


USCFootball.com Top Stories