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Booty at the Helm

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When the season started there were a number of questions about this team and how all the new faces on this team would adjust and perform. The biggest question was how would QB John David Booty do at filling the shoes of two of the most productive QB's in USC history, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. While Booty's stats may be better than Leinart's, the experience level is not there yet. Booty has taken the helm without flinching and he has performed admirably.

Booty...Comfortable in his role
Photo: The AZ Republic

The Arizona Republic has a great article on JDB and how he has handled the pressure of following in the footsteps of two Trojan greats.

At the time, who would've thought the Trojans storied program was in such secure hands? Going into Saturday's game against Arizona State, the Trojans find themselves in the same spot as the previous two years: unbeaten and in the national-championship hunt.

Difference is, they're just not as shiny, and much of that is due to the inexperience of their Louisiana-raised quarterback.

This one doesn't sparkle like the ghosts of Trojans past. Carson Palmer won a Heisman Trophy in 2002. Matt Leinart won a Heisman, two national titles and 37 games before handing off to Booty, which must have felt like a jetliner shifting out of autopilot.

That's true, but the results are what matters not the aesthetics. Once JDB gets more comfortable with game experience and has his injured receivers back up to speed there is no question that things will start to take off. The benefit of having Smith and Jarrett back is stretching the field with the deep route so it will open up the run, which you just know is begging to take off, and removing the predictable passing plays across the middle that are easier to defend against.

Of course JDB is feeling the pressure to perform:

Booty feels the pressure; he just doesn't react to it. He admits his heart briefly stopped when he threw a pass right into a linebacker's arms near the end of last week's 26-20 win against Washington. Fortunately for him, the pass was dropped, the Trojans kicked a margin-padding field goal, and Booty chalked up another learning experience.

"Obviously, I'm pretty familiar with the offense, it's just getting more games under my belt," he said. "I feel like I'm getting more and more comfortable every week. I just can't make the same negative decisions week in and week out."

He has the weapons he needs to achieve what needs to be done. His line gives him great protection and the running game is coming along. Booty understands the high standards that have been set for this program. He seems to be in control and very comfortable with the role he has been given. He is anxious to make the big plays that the fans are dying to see. That sort of production is important to SC getting on track as they enter the tough part of the season.

He will continue to produce and acheive what he has waited so long for, the opportunity to lead this team.