Tape It Up: USC: Sanchez It Is

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USC: Sanchez It Is

After a few test runs, it looks like John David Booty will be watching Saturday's game from the sideline, as the senior's broken finger is not yet up to snuff and after a four-interception post-breakage performance last week, the Trojans are not ready to take their chances on that broken bone just yet. In his place will be redshirt sophomore Mark Sanchez, who has been taking all of the first-team snaps this week as Booty has been gingerly testing his broken finger. After throwing around 50 balls in mid-week practices, Booty is not convinced that his accuracy is good enough to earn him the starting spot this week, as the Trojans can ill afford another Pac-10 loss, and Arizona is knocking on the door.

Head coach Pete Carroll sounded pretty set on Sanchez, even if Booty does get his swelling down and accuracy up before Saturday. In Wednesday's news conference, Carroll said that "it could turn out that John is okay, that we hold him in reserve and go with Mark through the preparation." He also talked about the possibility of giving Booty a break so that he can come back and finish the season strong, since "strong" is not an adjective that has been used to describe Booty at any point in the recent past.

The Trojan offense has committed eight turnovers in the past two weeks, so they'd like to field a quarterback who does not have turnover potential already built in. Although Sanchez might not be the ideal candidate - he has thrown two interceptions in his 10 career passes - at least he's got all his fingers bending in the right direction.

As of Wednesday, Booty's grips were clean, but his release was certainly bothering him. An official decision will not be made until later in the week, but all signs point to putting Sanchez under center.

Bruised and Battered
Also working on healing this week are center Matt Spanos, who missed practice because of a recent hand surgery (unrelated to Booty's finger issues); tailback Stafon Johnson, who got some running in during Wednesday's practice but is still not 100 percent; and tailback Joe McKnight, who is missing practice time with sickness. Linebacker Thomas Williams also did not practice due to an ankle injury, so Clay Matthews is most likely to start in his strong-side linebacker spot.

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