The Rocky Road for Quarterback John David Booty
To whom much is given, much will be expected. John David Booty entered the 2006 football season as the heir apparent to the thrones of Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. No problem, right? Booty is gifted, has a lifetime of quarterback experience and a family with football expertise.
John David Booty was raised in a football family. His father coached all of the Booty sons and raised them to play football. 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.
Much was expected of John David Booty as successor to Matt Leinart.
All the pieces were in place for Booty to lead the Trojans to the National Title and pick-up a piece of Heisman along the way. Not much was expected of the men of Troy in 2006, it was a rebuilding year (re-loading in Trojan verbiage), so everyone was surprised when at the end of the season, the Trojans were one game away from playing in the BCS Championship against Ohio State. Then the unthinkable happened, the Trojans loss to a lesser-ranked UCLA team, knocking them out of the title game. The Men of Troy rebounded with zeal, dismantling a highly ranked Michigan team in the Rose Bowl.
On the basis of that 2007 Rose Bowl victory, USC came into the new season as the consensus number one team in the nation for 2007. Booty was also thought of by many as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. All is right with the world, right?
Not right. The Trojans did not look like a number one team in its home opener against the Idaho Vandals. They did not lose the game, but in a 38-10 victory, the team looked less than stellar. It was to be an omen for the rest of the season. The Trojans soon romped over Nebraska and Washington State, then stuttered and stumbled against Washington, Stanford and Arizona. Against Stanford, Booty broke a finger and the Trojans lost the game. Booty then sat out the next three games.
This all but sealed the fate of USC's National Championship hopes and with it, Booty's candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.
During Booty's recovery period, Mark Sanchez filled in admirably. He came away with a win over Arizona, romp over the helpless Fighting Irish and a 7-point loss to Oregon. Booty was visibly upset that he was not able to contribute during this time, but both he and Sanchez took things in stride and supported each other throughout the struggle.
This past weekend, Booty returned to the line-up and in his first day back on the job, beat the Oregon State Beavers 24-3. He struggled at times with his timing and accuracy but did come away with 19-33, 157 yards and two touchdowns. Booty also led the Trojans to a third touchdown and a field goal.
John David Booty focuses in on taking the field against OSU.
So, what's next? John David Booty has a chance to redeem himself. He needs to win this week over a very tough California team on the road, then a highly ranked 8-1 Arizona State team two weeks later. The season ends with a home game against cross-town rivals UCLA. All three of these games are going to be difficult. Booty needs to win out.
If this scenario plays out, USC should be invited to a respectable bowl game. Booty needs to win that game as well. This would redeem his struggles of the current year. A win in an upper tier bowl game will also regain credibility for both Booty and the Trojans. Anything less would just be a cap for a so-so 2007 season.