With Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart out of the picture for the 2006 season, the Trojans have turned to Leinart’s back-up in 2005, John David Booty. As spring practice began at USC, Coach Pete Carroll showed a lot of confidence in his young quarterback as Booty completed a high percentage of his pass attempts during the first few practices of spring.
Unfortunately, the Trojans may be without Booty for the rest of spring practice. Booty felt a twinge in his back while he was jogging during practice and eventually ended up with back spasms.
While the initial indication was that the back spasms were probably nothing major, there is some worry that surgery may be a strong option because back problems have plagued Booty in the past. He suffered similar back spasms during his freshman year at USC and during his time in high school.
At this point, Coach Carroll has assigned Booty to sit out of practice in order to rest his back. If Booty is still experiencing pain in a few weeks, then the idea of surgery will be discussed and, in all likelihood, be the next step.
During Booty’s time out of practice, redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez will take over quarterbacking duties. Sanchez, USC’s top recruit last year, was expected to battle Booty for the starting role in 2006. With the injury of Booty, Sanchez has been awarded the opportunity to display his talent and desire for Coach Carroll and the rest of the coaching staff.
Coach Carroll has made it clear that he wants to take things one step at a time. At the moment, he wants to begin getting Sanchez ready in case Booty does require surgery. If Booty’s back heals up, then expect to see Booty and Sanchez challenging each other for the starting quarterback role for the Trojans in 2006.