Quarterback Quandaries

USC and UCLA are facing serious questions at quarterback right now due to both injuries and ineffectiveness.

At USC, backup Mark Sanchez took all of the first-team reps in practice yesterday while John David Booty nursed his broken finger. For now, the Trojan coaching staff will move forward, assuming that Booty won't play against Arizona. But if Booty is healthy enough, then it sounds like he will play.

USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was asked if Sanchez could ever play over a healthy Booty.

Booty has "done a lot for this program, he's played extremely well in big football games, and he had an unlucky second half, really," Sarkisian said, adding, "As always around here, competition is always open at every position. If he went out and struggled this week in practice and wasn't very good and Mark played good, then yeah, it might be a topic of conversation."

While it might be too soon for some people to think about 2008, this is worth considering: any playing time that Sachez gets this year, will give him a leg up on next year's competition with Mitch Mustain. You may remember that Mustain was the highly-touted Arkansas recruit who went 8-0 as the Razorbacks starter last year before transferring to USC after his high school coach and college coordinator was forced out of Fayatteville. Right now, Mustain is busy running the scout team as he's required to sit out this season.

At UCLA, the picture is much worse. Ben Olson will undergo arthroscopic surgery today on his partially torn lateral collateral ligament, and has been ruled out of the Bruins' Oct. 20 game against Cal. Patrick Cowan is still recovering from a partial tear of his MCL, and his status remains uncertain. McLeod Bethel-Thompson struggled mightily against Notre Dame, and Bruins fans would be nervous to see him drop back in the pocket again.

If Cowan can't play against Cal, and the Bruins decide that Bethel-Thompson isn't right for the challenge, then UCLA could go with Osaar Rasshan who had moved to wide receiver earlier this season. Another option, is freshman Chris Forcier, but UCLA wants to redshirt him this season. It's possible that Karl Dorrell will need to rethink that.

October 9, 2007 5:41 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

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