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USC's Booty works with first unit, aims to get starting job back

LOS ANGELES -- John David Booty worked with the first unit
Monday and appears on track to get his job back as the starting quarterback of Southern
California (No. 19 BCS, No. 13 AP).

"We'll take it one day at a time, see if he makes it through
the week," USC coach Pete Carroll said after practice. "He feels
great -- the best he's felt, by far. If John feels good and gets
through this thing, he'll play this week."

Asked to clarify, Carroll said Booty would start against Oregon
State if healthy.

Booty, a fifth-year senior, sat out USC's past three games
because of a broken middle finger on his throwing hand and was
replaced by third-year sophomore Mark Sanchez.

"By far," Carroll replied when asked if Booty looked better
than at any time since breaking his finger in the second quarter of
USC's 24-23 loss to Stanford on Oct. 6. Booty threw four
interceptions in the second half as the 41-point underdog Cardinal
rallied to hand the Trojans their first loss of the season.

"His finger looks better, the ball spun more today than any
time [since the injury]," Carroll said. "He's had a great rest,
that helped."

Booty had done very little throwing between Wednesday of last
week and Monday.

"I've got my velocity back, the ball's spinning again," he
said. "Full go all week. Right now, it feels pretty good. I don't
know how close the bone is to healing. It's about the pain, that's
going down every day. Hopefully it will continue to feel like it
feels today."

Sanchez, making the first three starts of his career, passed for
130 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a 20-13
victory over Arizona, 235 yards and four TDs with no interceptions
in a 38-0 win at Notre Dame and 277 yards and two touchdowns with
two interceptions in a 24-17 loss at Oregon (No. 5 BCS, No. 4 AP) on Saturday.

Oregon State (5-3, 3-2) brings a three-game winning streak into
Saturday's game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Beavers beat the
Trojans 33-31 last season in Corvallis, Ore., to snap USC's 27-game
Pac-10 winning streak.

The Trojans (6-2, 3-2) are 20-0 in November games since Carroll
became their coach before the 2001 season.