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Booty is in the Drivers Seat

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John David Booty hasn't exactly had it easy in his quest to the Trojans starting quarterback. After graduating high school early to enroll at SC his thoughts were clearly on making his mark and earning the starting the role. But there were a couple of things standing in his way, one was Matt Cassell the other was Matt Leinart.

From someone who should know.

"John David Booty has a chance to be the best player in the country," says coach Pete Carroll, who should know a great quarterback when he sees one. "His performance last year surpassed our expectations."

The stakes were high in 2006 with SC coming off that heartbreaker against Texas and after all the talent that left after that season he clearly had his work cut out for him. There were of course a lot of skeptics, but Booty had a magnificent season overall with a smattering of disappointment along the way.

Even after throwing 25 TD passes and only nine interceptions in a 10-2 regular season, Booty was on rocky ground because the Trojans, up to their hip pads in high expectations, had lost to Oregon State and then, much to the chagrin of USC boosters everywhere, to UCLA.

Well S--t happens and while we are all disappointed at that loss I think its safe to say that Booty's, and SC's, season was not defined by that loss. Booty got back on his horse and gave SC a tremendous win in the Rose Bowl Game, as he proved that he can get through the tough times. Of course there were his detractors and calls from some fans for Mark Sanchez to get the call but that is not how it is at SC. Booty is the starter until he becomes ineffective, injured or he graduates. Yes, he will have to earn his stating job just like everyone else but does anyone honestly think that he won't be under center when the season starts? I don't, because there is just too much on the line.

If Booty thought last seasons expectations were tough he will get a real kick out what is yet to come. With SC favored to be the preseason #1 in the eyes of many pundits and publications as well as all the talk of that trophy that has become such a fixture within Heritage Hall, there really isn't any doubt in my mind that he will be up to the task but then again he really doesn't have choice. This is his team now and the players and staff can see how his leadership has matured.

[...] His teammates must have thought so, too. They named him a captain during fall camp, and he quickly assumed a strong leadership role. "He didn't come out and say I'm competing for this job," says Lane Kiffin, former offensive coordinator and current Raiders head coach. "He came out and said, `I'm going to start.'"

No one how the season will go but I am confident that without Booty's leadership in the coming season SC will have a much tougher time reaching the goal that they have set for themselves. I for one am very confident that he will do what he has set out to do.

FIGHT ON!