Booty update

Quarterback John David Booty underwent back surgery Friday, where Dr. Robert Watkins operated on his herniated disc and also removed a fragment.
The official procedure is called a “microscopic discectomy” and usually offers a shorter recovery period than conventional surgery.
“Dr. Watkins made the point that he had to (have surgery) once he saw what was going on,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “It would be a mistake to wait it out.”
Booty’s recovery period is projected to be three months.

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Offense or defense?

Even though he hired a defensive coordinator for the first time, USC coach Pete Carroll continues to spend as much time with the defense as he did before the staff reorganization.
This is interesting because a number of people closely tied to the program believe Carroll made the change so he could devote more time to the offense, which has so many new faces in key roles next season and might require his attention.
Even though Carroll officially spends more time with the defense, he’s always exerted control over the offense. Most famously, he said he revamped the offensive philosophy in the latter stages of the 2001 season and did not fully implement the changes he wanted until the start of the 2002 season.

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Pro Day reunion?

There was talk at USC that former Trojans wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson (Carolina Panthers) and Curtis Conway (who retired following the 2004 season) might show up to catch passes during Matt Leinart’s workout for NFL teams on Sunday. Another possibility mentioned was former USC and current Detroit Lions wide receiver Mike Williams. Keary Colbert (Carolina Panthers) could certainly show up since he attended Thursday’s practice.
Tailback Reggie Bush is hoping to impress teams by benchpressing 225 pounds at least 30 times while Leinart is aiming for 20. Safety Darnell Bing wants to run the 40-yard dash in at least 4.4 seconds.

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We get letters . . .

Heres some quick answers to questions posed by readers so far.

1. A reader asked about Lou Ferrigno Jr., the son of the actor and a Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks. He joined the team as a walk-on and is playing linebacker.

2. Another reader asked why freshman cornerback Kevin Thomas was on the field during Texas final touchdown drive. Senior John Walker was injured during the game and replaced by Thomas.

3. USCs central coast radio affiliate is KVEN-AM (1450) in Ventura.

4. Fans attending Pro Day should be aware that the portion conducted on Howard Jones Field is closed to the public. All events at Cromwell Field are open, beginning around 11 a.m.

5. So far this spring, I have not seen USC practicing against the spread offense, which makes sense because theres really no one available right now to emulate a running quarterback. Tailback Michael Coleman performed the job during bowl practices but is out following hip surgery.

6. Several of you asked the identity of a former assistant coach who called a non-conference opponent and offered help. I cannot reveal his identity in order to protect my sources.

7. One of you asked if former defensive line coach Jethro Franklin was fired. No, he was offered the defensive coordinators job by Pete Carroll but decided the best way to become a head coach was to go back to the NFL as an assistant. Carroll then hired Nick Holt as defensive coordinator.

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Station break

So it looks like USC is changing radio stations, leaving 1540-AM for 710-AM, which has a much stronger signal. That’s the main reason for the change, which takes effect next season. There’s been complaints for several years, especially in Orange County, that fans could not get clear enough reception to hear games.

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Rose Bowl vs. Recruiting

OK, it’s been almost three months, but here’s a lingering question from the Rose Bowl.
USC’s undoubtedly compiled the nation’s top recruiting classes the past four years (or at least top three) but if that’s the case, it’s interesting to consider who was on the field on some of the most important plays of the game.
Perhaps the most memorable offensive play was Reggie Bushs lateral to a walk-on (wide receiver Brad Walker). Apparently Chris McFoy, Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett and Patrick Turner were not enough?
During Texas’ game-winning drive, USC’s defense featured twin brothers Ryan and Brandon Ting in the secondary. None of this is a slight of those players, who consistently work as hard (or harder) than anyone in practice.
But it shows that even with all those No. 1 classes, where were the so-called blue-chip players during those critical moments? Were they simply not utilized, hurt or just beaten out by their lesser-known teammates?

P.S. Does anyone remember Texas using walk-ons on any critical plays?

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You’ve got 10 minutes

USC quarterback Matt Leinart’s new handlers at CAA are already earning their money with the order that Leinart will not speak to reporters individually at Sunday’s Pro Day and only be available for 10 minutes in a group setting. Sounds a lot like when he played for the Trojans.
At least Leinart wasn’t the biggest celebrity at USC on Wednesday. The hit TV show “The OC” is filming on campus. Wonder if CAA can get Leinart a cameo?

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Pro Day

Sunday’s much-anticipated Pro Day, where Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Winston Justice, Darnell Bing, etc., will work out for NFL teams is open to the public. The event begins around 11 a.m. and takes place at Cromwell Field and Howard Jones Field. Fans are not allowed on the track but can watch from the stands.
There should be a large contigent of NFL coaches and executives, who will no doubt cringe at the thought of mingling with the public.

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