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USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: COACH HAD DOUBTS WITH BOOTY.

Byline: SCOTT WOLF Staff Writer

USC offensive line coach Pat Ruel said he initially felt doubts about quarterback John David Booty starting last spring, but believes the junior's development was a key to the Trojans' 10-2 season.

Ruel credits quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian for the turnaround.

``I saw John David Booty in the spring and boy, I didn't know, because I'm comparing him to Matt Leinart and I'm not seeing it,'' Ruel said. ``But by the end of fall camp, I was thinking, `This kid is awesome.'

``Steve Sarkisian did a great job.''

Ruel said freshman offensive linemen Butch Lewis, Nick Howell, Zach Heberer and Charles Brown would all spend time with the first team in practice this week to see where they fit in for next season. But Brown and Howell, who are redshirt freshmen, might be making a pitch for playing time in the Rose Bowl.

``Nobody's got a guaranteed spot going into the bowl game. Maybe Ryan (Kalil). Hey, it's competition time.''

Sore thumb: Kalil is playing with a sprained thumb that occurred before the UCLA game. It's one reason USC would like to have Matt Spanos available for the Rose Bowl.

Spanos took his last final exam Monday and said he thinks he passed it. If he did, he would be eligible to play against Michigan after being academically ineligible this season.

``He jammed it real bad and it was hard for him to use it, but it's not a serious injury,'' Ruel said regarding Kalil. ``He's a tough guy.''

All-Americans: Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett was a repeat first-team selection on the Associated Press All-American team. Kalil and offensive tackle Sam Baker were second-team selections.

Baker was a first-team selection by the Sporting News while Jarrett and Kalil made the second team. A surprise selection to the second team was freshman safety Taylor Mays.

The Sporting News originally announced safety Josh Pinkard made the team, even though he tore knee ligaments in the season-opener against Arkansas, before correcting it to Mays.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 13, 2006
Words:335
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