Barkley looks to seize the moment

With Aaron Corp out anywhere from 1-3 weeks the Matt Barkley to start chatter is picking it up steam. And if Barkley continues to progress expect that chatter to reach a fevered pitch as the team gets closer to its season opener on September 5th.

Obviously, it does not really matter what the fans think it is only about what the coaches think but that does not mean that many will start to speculate. You know this is a big deal when a New York Paper picks up the story. Right now the QB spot at USC is one of the most closely watched positions in college football.

Because Corp and Barkley are both young in the process this is a different feel that what we saw last season when Sanchez went down. I don't know it that is good or bad but it is different. With a tough road schedule a QB that is not as experienced as at least a QB with at least starting a few games under his belt the task will be a little bit tougher on whomever gets the call. On thing is for sure though Barkley has a shot to be the first pure freshman to a game at USC.

Michael Lev of the OCR makes some interesting observations...

Coach Pete Carroll wouldn't look that far ahead, but he did acknowledge that this situation is different from the one involving Mark Sanchez a year ago. Sanchez missed most of August because of a knee injury. But once he returned, there was no doubt who would be the starter.

"I felt more that way, that he was securely the No. 1 guy," Carroll said. "This competition is obvious here."

Carroll repeatedly has said Barkley is more advanced than any freshman quarterback he has worked with at USC – a group that includes current NFL players Matt Leinart, Matt Cassell, John David Booty and Sanchez. Carroll took it a step further Wednesday, referring to Barkley as an "outlier" as defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling book.

"He talks about guys that, through their development and upbringing, at times they can accelerate past other people because of the amount of time (spent), the makeup, the support group. Whatever it is, he (Barkley) is off the charts," Carroll said.

We have always heard about the competition but many of us have always thought that is was more lip service than competition. I mean did anyone ever think that Sanchez was going to beat out Booty? What about Mustain or Corp beating out Sanchez? That was never going to happen though I did want to see the competition go all the way to the end.

I don't know how close or far apart they really are but some seem to think the gap was closer than we all thought.

Barkley narrowly lost out to sophomore Aaron Corp in the spring, but the precocious 18-year-old leaped into the front-runner position on Wednesday when the Trojans learned that Corp could be sidelined for up to three weeks because of a leg injury.

USC opens its season Sept. 5 against San Jose State at the Coliseum. If Barkley takes command of the position, he could become the first true freshman quarterback in USC history to start an opener.

"I don't think there's pressure on me at all, at least I don't feel any," Barkley said after practice. "It's just exciting. I love football and this is a chance, an opportunity that's been placed in front of me and I've just got to grab hold of it."

I love the kids confidence...if he wins out he is going to need it.

Here is the kicker to me...

Carroll acknowledged that Sanchez, who started three games in 2007, was "clearly the No. 1 guy," when injured, a status Corp does not similarly enjoy over Barkley, a four-year starter at Santa Ana Mater Dei High.

"I think this competition is obvious," Carroll said. "We see it every day and Aaron knows that and Matt knows that, so I think it's a little bit different."

Saying that it was important for Corp to "keep his mind right," Carroll added, "He can't drift off and lose what he has gained in terms of installation and understanding and verbiage and communication. He needs to stay really fresh because that's what his job is as we keep moving."

Drift off??? I find it puzzling that PC would say that. It is clear that Pete Carroll sees that Barkley is advanced at the position well beyond his years...

"We'll see where we go," Carroll said. "Barkley is out here playing football like he's been here a long time and he's five days old (into training camp).

"He's off the chart. We've seen a lot of great players struggle here. He's not in that mode. With (Matt) Leinart, (Matt) Cassel, (John David) Booty and Mark Sanchez, they all struggled, this is not the same. If Matt is able to work into the No. 1 spot and hold on to it, we'd have an unusually gifted guy."

On a side note...I remember when the clowns from across town and that shill Rick Kimbrell tried to push the storyline that ucla actually got the better deal when they picked up Brehaut's commitment. Kimbrell said that even Norm Chow thought that Brehaut was a special player and had more true talent than Barkley...right, maybe he is but if he is so special why isn't he getting first team reps? He is a true freshman so nobody expects him to be ready...that is why it is clear that Barkley is that special.

I mean come on, Mustain isn't even in the discussion except on the periphery. And I have been more than in the tank for Mustain in the past, it just hasn't worked out.

I trust Pete Carroll's judgment on this. If he thinks Barkley has a legitimate shot at starting and not just giving us lip service then I will believe him. One person who remained pretty quiet on this is is QB coach Jeremy Bates...I would love to hear a little more from him. As the new guy at USC he might bring a real fresh interpretation of how these two kids are shaping up.

This is far from over....

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