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USC REPORT

Booty Gets Work as Decision Nears

September 17, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that he will determine which players will redshirt this season by the time the Trojans play their Pacific 10 Conference opener against California.

USC has a bye this week and plays at Cal on Sept. 27. "By the Cal game, we should have a real good sense for the guys that we're going to hold back," Carroll said.

Much of Carroll's focus will be on freshman quarterback John David Booty, who worked, as planned, almost exclusively with the first-team offense during team drills Tuesday. Booty and starter Matt Leinart are expected to share the majority of snaps today and Thursday as well.

"I don't know how it looked physically, but just as far as mentally knowing what I wanted to do with the ball, and getting the opportunity to step up, this was the best day I've had," Booty said after practice. "I feel like I did well, but I still have things to learn. The biggest thing now is game experience, but that may be a year or so away."

Booty, who has not played in a game, said he has not been told that he will redshirt, but he would not be averse to the idea if Carroll and offensive coordinator Norm Chow thought it best.

"If they do, then obviously they feel that's best for the team," Booty said.

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Freshman Whitney Lewis, who was switched from receiver to fullback early in training camp, also worked with the first-team offense.

"The transition of positions has made him a little bit behind, so he's getting a ton of work," Carroll said.

Sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock took part in limited team drills for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain before the season opener. "I'm still just a little nervous about people hitting it and landing on it funny," he said. "But I should be ready to rock and roll for Cal."

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Sophomore linebacker Oscar Lua underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, linebacker Coach Nick Holt said. Lua had surgery on his right knee in December after tearing knee ligaments during practice for the Orange Bowl. He is expected to miss a few weeks of practice and will probably redshirt.... Freshman running back Chauncey Washington (ankle) did not practice and said he would return next week.... Defensive lineman Van Brown (groin) practiced and said he would be ready for the Cal game.... Kickoff for USC's game against Cal will be 3:30 p.m. Fox Sports Net will televise the game.

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