Booty Trying to ‘Put It All Together'

Rookie quarterback John David Booty is familiar with the West Coast Offense, but that doesn't mean the Vikings' offense is second nature to him just yet. See what Booty had to say about getting acclimated to his new surroundings.

It's easy for rookies at any position to come into the first weeks of their NFL careers and feel a bit overwhelmed. The surroundings are unfamiliar, their teammates and coaches are new and the playbook is bigger.

That process often gets magnified at the quarterback position, but Vikings rookie John David Booty has been handling the acclimation like a professional so far.

"I'm not so much overwhelmed with what I'm seeing or going against, I'm just trying to put it all together," Booty said during his indoctrination into organized team activities last week. "There are a lot of plays that are similar in terminology, similar the way the routes are run. I'm just trying to differentiate the certain plays that are coming together and know exactly what you're doing on any given play. That's what's most important to me right now, and also who you are hot off of and the snap count – all those things are big deals that are just a little new to me right now.

"It's just like going into college your freshman year – it's just all new. The speed of the game, I feel as though that's something that I have to catch up with, but not nearly as much as where I need to be mentally. That's just all part of playing quarterback."

Lucky for Booty, he landed where he wanted to. In an interview on ESPN before the draft, Booty specifically mentioned the Vikings as the team that would be ideal for him. Why? Well, the learning curve could be straightened a bit quicker with his familiarity with the West Coast Offense. He was the starting quarterback for two years at USC with one version of that offense and won two Rose Bowls.

But since no two offenses are completely alike, Booty also knows there are times when his familiarity with the USC version could become erroneously intermingled with the Vikings version.

"After five years at SC with that one terminology ingrained in my mind, now you've got to erase all that to learn a new terminology," Booty said, recalling his thinking after leading the Trojans to one last victory. "As soon as the season is over in January, just forget about all the plays that you had and just forget about everything. You need to start looking over other teams' calls and styles – you have a West Coast, you have different things. You just try to get different terminologies to erase what you had in college so that when you come here it's going to be a whole new deal right away."

It has been suggested that Booty couldn't have landed in a better situation than what he's trying to master in Minnesota, but is his experience with a similar – but not exactly the same – offense an advantage or disadvantage?

"I think it can be a bit of both," he said. "When it's so different, you can forget about all the other stuff that you had. When it's similar, it can be so much the same that sometimes you can get caught up in between the two. I think it can really work either way for you. I think it just depends on the play that is called at that time."

Coming from USC helped in other ways, as well.

First are the quarterback connections he had while maturing in that program. He began his collegiate career when Carson Palmer was making the former football powerhouse a champion once again, and now Palmer is considered one of the better signal-callers in the NFL. After that, Booty got more mentoring when Matt Leinart took the Trojan reins in his grasp before Booty finally got his chance.

Those are just the big-name quarterbacks, and Booty has played with dozens more USC players who are now in the NFL. It has helped make his transition into the pros a less intimidating experience.

"I played with so many pros at USC and we still remain close with all the guys who I guess you could say are stars – Carson and Leinart and Reggie (Bush). So seeing these guys is not like crazy to me, and I have brothers who play professional sports and I was always around, even as a little kid," Booty said. "But it's great to be around these guys and know that you're playing with NFL players who are paid to be the best in the world. To me, as an athlete, it doesn't get any better than this, being around these type of players who love football as much as I do.

"As far as the speed, I had that at SC every day. That part is not the huge part. They're picking it up and moving real fast now that the vets are all here. I do my best to get my couple of reps and understand what's going on."

Booty also received college instruction from coaches who are now in the NFL or once interviewed for an NFL position, including Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin. Sarkisian interviewed for the head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders and then took himself out of the running while Kiffin eventually took that job. And then there was Pete Carroll, who held several NFL coaching positions before returning to the college ranks to build back the USC program. Booty credited Carroll, Kiffin and Sarkisian all with offering him advice on his journey into the NFL.

"It was great to have those guys prepare you on what to expect. You try to understand and figure it out, but there is still stuff you have to learn when you're here," he said.

Note: Booty was picked as one of the 35 most marketable rookies by trading-card partners of the NFL. Booty, a fifth-round draft choice, was the only rookie picked lower than the third round to be invited to a photo shoot a few weeks ago. "I'm sure SC had a huge thing to do with that, and also being that Southern Cal is such a huge deal all across America," Booty said.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"It's easy for rookies at any position to come into the first weeks of their NFL careers and feel a bit overwhelmed. The surroundings are unfamiliar, their teammates and coaches are new and the playbook is bigger.

That process often gets magnified at the quarterback position, but Vikings rookie John David Booty has been handling the acclimation like a professional so far.

\"I'm not so much overwhelmed with what I'm seeing or going against, I'm just trying to put it all together,\" Booty said during his indoctrination into organized team activities last week. \"There are a lot of plays that are similar in terminology, similar the way the routes are run. I'm just trying to differentiate the certain plays that are coming together and know exactly what you're doing on any given play. That's what's most important to me right now, and also who you are hot off of and the snap count – all those things are big deals that are just a little new to me right now.

\"It's just like going into college your freshman year – it's just all new. The speed of the game, I feel as though that's something that I have to catch up with, but not nearly as much as where I need to be mentally. That's just all part of playing quarterback.\"

Lucky for Booty, he landed where he wanted to. In an interview on ESPN before the draft, Booty specifically mentioned the Vikings as the team that would be ideal for him. Why? Well, the learning curve could be straightened a bit quicker with his familiarity with the West Coast Offense. He was the starting quarterback for two years at USC with one version of that offense and won two Rose Bowls.

But since no two offenses are completely alike, Booty also knows there are times when his familiarity with the USC version could become erroneously intermingled with the Vikings version.

\"After five years at SC with that one terminology ingrained in my mind, now you've got to erase all that to learn a new terminology,\" Booty said, recalling his thinking after leading the Trojans to one last victory. \"As soon as the season is over in January, just forget about all the plays that you had and just forget about everything. You need to start looking over other teams' calls and styles – you have a West Coast, you have different things. You just try to get different terminologies to erase what you had in college so that when you come here it's going to be a whole new deal right away.\"

It has been suggested that Booty couldn't have landed in a better situation than what he's trying to master in Minnesota, but is his experience with a similar – but not exactly the same – offense an advantage or disadvantage?

\"I think it can be a bit of both,\" he said. \"When it's so different, you can forget about all the other stuff that you had. When it's similar, it can be so much the same that sometimes you can get caught up in between the two. I think it can really work either way for you. I think it just depends on the play that is called at that time.\"

Coming from USC helped in other ways, as well.

First are the quarterback connections he had while maturing in that program. He began his collegiate career when Carson Palmer was making the former football powerhouse a champion once again, and now Palmer is considered one of the better signal-callers in the NFL. After that, Booty got more mentoring when Matt Leinart took the Trojan reins in his grasp before Booty finally got his chance.

Those are just the big-name quarterbacks, and Booty has played with dozens more USC players who are now in the NFL. It has helped make his transition into the pros a less intimidating experience.

\"I played with so many pros at USC and we still remain close with all the guys who I guess you could say are stars – Carson and Leinart and Reggie (Bush). So seeing these guys is not like crazy to me, and I have brothers who play professional sports and I was always around, even as a little kid,\" Booty said. \"But it's great to be around these guys and know that you're playing with NFL players who are paid to be the best in the world. To me, as an athlete, it doesn't get any better than this, being around these type of players who love football as much as I do.

\"As far as the speed, I had that at SC every day. That part is not the huge part. They're picking it up and moving real fast now that the vets are all here. I do my best to get my couple of reps and understand what's going on.\"

Booty also received college instruction from coaches who are now in the NFL or once interviewed for an NFL position, including Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin. Sarkisian interviewed for the head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders and then took himself out of the running while Kiffin eventually took that job. And then there was Pete Carroll, who held several NFL coaching positions before returning to the college ranks to build back the USC program. Booty credited Carroll, Kiffin and Sarkisian all with offering him advice on his journey into the NFL.

\"It was great to have those guys prepare you on what to expect. You try to understand and figure it out, but there is still stuff you have to learn when you're here,\" he said.

Booty was picked as one of the 35 most marketable rookies by trading-card partners of the NFL. Booty, a fifth-round draft choice, was the only rookie picked lower than the third round to be invited to a photo shoot a few weeks ago. \"I'm sure SC had a huge thing to do with that, and also being that Southern Cal is such a huge deal all across America,\" Booty said.

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