As I have said in numerous posts, someone on this team needs to step up and be a leader, be the face of this team and put their mark on this program right now for this season. John David Booty may be that player. In his first game he made his teammates stand up and take note, yes it was a slow start in the first half but that is to be expected. The coaches made the halftime adjustments and Booty ran with it.
From the Daily News' Scott Wolf:
In the third quarter against Arkansas, Booty ripped a pass all the way across the field to wide receiver Patrick Turner. It was just a 14-yard gain, but the ball covered much more territory than that and the play did not go unnoticed by USC's receiving corps.
"Matt couldn't make those throws," wide receiver Steve Smith said. "Booty can throw deep and pinpoint in the corners."
Added wide receiver Chris McFoy: "I don't recall Leinart ever making a pass like that."
Now, we will never forget what Leinart, White and Bush did for this program. Their names will forever be hallowed to this program and we won't soon forget the heroics that they provided for us. But this is a new time, with new goals and SC's skeptics are watching all that more closely to see if this program can continue to dominate as they have in years past or fall back with the pack.
Each player brings his own strengths and weaknesses. Leinart's was his speed and, to some, his arm strength. But Leinart was gritty and stood in the pocket and took the hits. He made the big plays when they needed to be made. He brought SC back in the 2nd half of the Rose Bowl after our less than stellar results in the 1st half.
Of course there are some detractors:
Freshman tailback Emmanuel Moody watched USC on TV last year, so he did not think 50 points against Arkansas was overly impressive.
"Fifty points is kind of a low score for USC football," Moody said. "We can do better."
This kid is a fireball. He is essentially calling out his own team to do better. That's being a competitor. And he's not the only one, CJ Gable knows he can do better than he did in his first game and has high expectations of himself. That sort of attitude breeds winning, we just need to keep it up.