|USC Legends News|
The curtain lifted on the college football season and the reviews are in on the players and coaches who have stepped into leading roles this season.
Of course one good performance - especially against, say, North Texas - does not a star make. And a clunker on opening night doesn't spell doom for the rest of the season - though it can seriously damage your national title hopes.
Here's a look at how some of the more highly anticipated debuts went:
John David Booty and the USC tailbacks as The Replacements in a 50-14 win at Arkansas.
The 50 points were a bit misleading because Arkansas was determined to help the Trojans' newbies with turnovers. Still, Booty looked like a guy who's been paying very close attention to Matt Leinart for three years, going 24-for-35 for 261 yards and three TD passes.
As for the tailbacks, Chauncey Washington and freshmen Emmanuel Moody, C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford give USC more talented players at that position than any team in the country. It remains to be seen if any one of them will be a dominant player a la Reggie Bush and LenDale White, but don't bet against it.
Colt McCoy in the role of Vince Young for Texas in a 56-7 victory over North Texas.
McCoy played every bit as well as he should have considering the Not-so-Mean Green would have a tough time against the Longhorns' scout team.
Really, this was a dress rehearsal. The redshirt freshman quarterback delivered all of his lines without a stumble and hit his marks without a hitch. McCoy passed for 178 yards and three TDs, ran for a score and didn't throw an interception. It was a good confidence booster, but who knows how he'll play against Ohio State?
The Ohio State linebackers, taking over for A.J. Hawk and his wrecking crew, in the Buckeyes' 35-12 victory over Northern Illinois.
The trio of James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman and Indiana transfer John Kerr led a rebuilt Buckeyes D that had a hard time corraling Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe.
The nation's leading returning rusher is a 5-foot-7 human super ball, so it's no shame that he put up big numbers (285 yards from scrimmage). The big first-half lead provided by Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. clearly took the edge off the defense's play and it allowed coach Jim Tressel to be liberal with the substitutions - 23 defensive players saw action, including blue chip freshman LB Ross Homan.
Let's give them an incomplete and see what happens in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Anthony Morelli brings a new style to the role of Penn State quarterback in a 34-16 victory over Akron.
The departed Michael Robinson could go off script and improvise with the best in the nation. Morelli's talents are confined to his NFL-caliber right arm, which he used to throw for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a rain-soaked win over the Zips.
"That kid can throw from one half to the other, 20 yards deep," said impressed Akron coach J.D. Brookhart. "You won't see a better arm this year."
Penn State hasn't had this type of quarterback since Kerry Collins, which worked out pretty well. Morelli has the arm, but on Saturday Joe Paterno will learn if he's got the stomach for the job when Penn State takes its show on the road to Notre Dame.
Idaho coach Dennis Erickson returns to the school that gave him his first head coaching job.
Since moving to the big stage of Division I-A, the Vandals have been desperate to find the right leading man. Under Erickson, who won national titles with Miami and coached in the NFL, the Vandals showed promise despite a 27-17 loss at Michigan State.
There's not nearly enough talent in Moscow for Erickson to make the Vandals a big hit this season, but they made the most of what they had on Saturday and made their Big Ten hosts very uncomfortable.
Even in defeat, the 59-year-old coach deserved to take a bow.
Dan Hawkins and the Buffaloes bomb in Boulder, losing 19-10 to Division I-AA Montana State. All the Hawk Love in the Rockies won't make up for the fact that Gary Barnett left Colorado in better shape ($3 million dollar buyout) than the team he left behind.
"You know, I've been doing this for a long time and I've lost before," Hawkins said after CU's first loss to a I-AA team. "If you can't understand how to deal with losses, you're never going to win. To me, it's only devastating if people make it devastating."
What is devastating is Colorado's upcoming schedule with Colorado State, Arizona State and Georgia before Big 12 play begins.
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