Barkley is upping the ante...

There has been a lot of chatter about Matt Barkley possibly becoming the starting QB for USC next season. There are a couple of ways to look at the current competiton and depending on how you view things the glass is either half full or half empty.

I think way too much is being made out of it. We have become accustomed to Pete Carroll naming the new starter at the end of spring ball but the early departure of Mark Sanchez changed the landscape and probably moved the timetable up quicker than Pete Carroll wanted. I think we saw that in Pete Carroll's demeanor at the Sanchez press conference. Couple that with adding a new QB coach and a new offensive coordinator and you can see how its a lot to handle.

USC has been lucky in that they have always had a solid back-up ready to go but they have always had a couple of years to season the talent before handing over the reins. It doesn't really matter how good Corp, Mustain and Barkley were/are the fact remains that none of them are a clear cut favorite to be named the starter. If Sanchez had stayed it would have given all three a little more time to get settled in especially with a new QB and OC installing a "new" system.

So how do you look at it?

Corp, Mustain and Barkley all come with solid pedigrees but how does that translate into being ready to assume the helm.

Sure, Barkley is doing an impressive job so far in spring ball considering he would be getting ready for his senior prom if he had stayed in high school but is that because he is THAT good or because Corp and Mustain may not be all that we thought they were. It's a tough question that I don't have an answer for but it is legitimate.

Ted Miller offers up some interesting observations...

Just last week, it seemed reasonable to discuss Aaron Corp moving to the head of the line at quarterback for USC. And Corp still figures to be announced as the Trojans' No. 1 quarterback before the spring game on April 25.

But when true freshman Matt Barkley -- really a high school senior, considering that's what he was before the first of the year -- completed 10 of 13 passes for 195 yards with three touchdowns in a scrimmage last Saturday, it thickened the plot considerably.

It also continued a pattern of Barkley gaining comfort with the offense, which allowed the talent that made him the nation's No. 1 prospect this recruiting season to blossom.

This means two things:

1. This fall likely will feature the most wide-open quarterback competition USC has had under coach Pete Carroll;

2. Mitch Mustain, the former national prep player of the year and a high-profile transfer from Arkansas, may be out of the race.

(Mitch: Don't despair. I'd like to introduce you to Matt Cassel).

Never before during Carroll's going-on nine-year tenure has the lead quarterback coming out of spring lost his perch. And Carroll, who obsesses about turnovers like Imelda Marcos does about shoes, has never previously considered a freshman.

So this is a break from a firmly established tradition.

I just don't see how Barkley will be named starter at the end of spring ball. Its not impossible to think that he could be named during training camp but not now. I have seen a lot of chatter on the message boards about how Corp has looked hesitant or not a s sharp as Barkley. I can't make that call because I haven't seen any of the practices but from what I have read from people whom I consider pretty knowledgeable I wouldn't be shocked. We have already seen that Mustain has taken fewer reps than both Corp and Barkley but I am not going to try and read into it too much.

Regardless the fact remains that Barkley's solid play in spring ball has forced the coaching staff to put off their final decision until training camp.

USC coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday he would "minimize the significance" of naming a starting quarterback at the end of spring practice, mainly because freshman Matt Barkley might need more than 15 practices for a fair evaluation.

Sophomore Aaron Corp remains the No. 1 quarterback and it would be surprising if he was not named the starter at the end of next week. His spring performance (no interceptions) propelled him to the lead and he continues to take the most snaps with the first unit.

But Barkley's quick grasp of the offense makes it a logical decision to wait until the fall for an official decision.

"We need to name someone as the No. 1 guy for (the last scrimmage) and treat it as if we had a game tomorrow,"

Carroll said. "It might take a little longer than usual. In all fairness, this competition could go a long time. If Matt gets a summer and another fall camp, he'll surely be better."

Carroll said it's no different than past years because the spring starter always had to win his job again in the fall. But none of the spring winners (Matt Leinart, John David Booty, Mark Sanchez) ever lost out to their competition after winning in the spring.

Hmmm...

I am not buying that last paragragh. Does anyone think that Mark Sanchez was ever in danger of losing the starting job last spring?

Because we have been so used to having a starting QB stay through the full years this makes it a little bit different for us to adjust too. I really don't care who starts as long as they lead USC to the Pac-10 title and help them win another high profile Bowl game. I just can't get all worked up over it because only the coaching staff knows exactly what they are looking for.

It is possible that Barkley could start but I think its a longshot.

One thing is for sure though...Barkley has upped the ante and he won't go away quietly. Does anyone think that the 2009 season might not be as good as we have seen in the past setting up 2010 for an incredible run?

It's possible...

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