Booty, Hinds Find Their Comfort Zone

Times Staff Writer

With Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart out while recovering from elbow surgery, John David Booty and Rocky Hinds split repetitions through the first two weeks of USC’s spring practice.

On Sunday, both quarterbacks showed the benefits during an 82-play scrimmage at Howard Jones Field.

Working against a secondary that featured only one scholarship cornerback, Booty completed 16 of 21 passes for 132 yards with one interception. He led the offense to a touchdown on the first drive. Hinds, a redshirt freshman, completed 14 of 17 passes for 159 yards, including touchdown passes of 22 yards to William Buchanon and 10 yards to Chris McFoy.

Coach Pete Carroll said he was pleased with most of the scrimmage, which was held in front of hundreds of observers, including dozens of high school juniors and their parents.


The scrimmage gave the coaches their first opportunity to simulate the communication chain that will be used during the season. New offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin called plays from a perch above the field and quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian checked the calls on the sideline. Carroll spent the first part of the scrimmage calling the defense, some of the second part monitoring the calls on offense.

“It worked exactly how we wanted it to,” Kiffin said.

Carroll said the staff tried to get the ball into the hands of running backs Chauncey Washington and Michael Coleman and receivers Buchanon, McFoy and Whitney Lewis. Washington, a redshirt sophomore, gained 31 yards in 10 carries and scored on a five-yard run. Coleman, a freshman, was limited to minus-two yards in six carries. McFoy caught five passes for 46 yards, Buchanon three for 68 yards and Lewis one for nine yards.

Mario Danelo kicked field goals of 22 and 40 yards and had a 40-yard attempt blocked.


Junior offensive tackle Winston Justice, who had been working with the reserves throughout the first two weeks of spring practice, started at right tackle.

Safety Scott Ware made several of the biggest hits of the day and finished with a team-best six tackles.