PASADENA CA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans drops back to pass against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl on December 4 2010 in Pasadena California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Is it just me or is most of the news we are reading about the offense?
As we have noted before, with Marc Tyler being out fro the time being the question is who will be the starting running back?
Dillon Baxter has the most game experience, while Curtis McNeal has the most time within the system We discussed Amir Carlilse's performance but lost in the shuffle is D.J. Morgan. Morgan's performance at Monday nights scrimmage was impressive as well...
Morgan, a redshirt freshman, said Tuesday that he was happy to show coaches he could withstand carrying the ball 24 times during the Trojans' first scrimmage the night before.
Sophomore Dillon Baxter garnered most of the attention afterward for his solid performance, but it was the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Morgan who started the scrimmage and will continue to push for a starting role in the Sept. 3 opener against Minnesota.
"I showed the coaches I can handle a lot of carries, and if I mess up I can get over it and just keep playing ball," said Morgan, whose only miscue was a fumble that he recovered. "I showed myself that I can do this and I can handle the pounding."
It wasn't all wine and roses though. Morgan did fumble the ball during the scrimmage drawing some ire from Lane Kiffin...
Here is Morgan being interviewed by Scott Schrader from FightOn! 24/7
Morgan lost control of a ball during a handoff, and in USC coach Lane Kiffin's world, that means an immediate trip to the doghouse. Kiffin said sophomore Dillon Baxter would probably start if USC played a game today because of the fumble.
"I know how he feels about that," Morgan said.
It is nice to see the potential at the tailback position show what it has without any of the personality clashes we have seen in the past. These are going to battle, but the environment is more team first.
Now, I don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security, but if the tempo keeps up, USC's offense is going to pack a lot of punch once it gets rolling.
Of course, that will all hinge on the O-Line and the performance of Matt Barkley but there is a lot of promise there.
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Speaking of Barkley...
Barkley's continued spotty play is trying Lane Kiffin's patience...and Kiffin is turning up the heat.
Kiffin believes Barkley sometimes forces passes out of frustration. Barkley disputes that assessment.
So it was again Monday night after the Trojans’ scrimmage at the Coliseum. Asked to judge Barkley’s performance, Kiffin said: "There was a disappointing play that sticks out. He tries to throw the ‘sluggo’ (slant-and-go) over here to the right toward the end of the first half – back to the frustration of not having great success."
Barkley threw that pass on first-and-10 from his own 26-yard line after converting a fourth-and-3 on the previous play. The pass sailed over the head of intended receiver Robert Woods, whom Nickell Robey had well covered.
I asked Barkley about Kiffin’s frustration theory. The quarterback wasn’t buying it.
This is Kiffin's way of pushing Barkley
There are high expectations on Barkley. He should be a little more immune to making these types of plays in Kiffin's eyes.
I am not going to comment on whether or not Kiffin calling out Barkley in this way is the right thing to do or not, but he knows Barkley and the situation a lot better than I do and he expects a lot more out of Barkley as a third year starter.
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For the next month, Aundrey Walker and Khaled Holmes are going to be inseparable, because Walker’s going to want the advice of his likely next-door neighbor on the USC offensive line just as much as he did Tuesday, on his first day practicing as the Trojans’ first-string right guard.
The behemoth freshman from Ohio State territory thoroughly impressed the coaching staff with his performance behind Kevin Graf at right tackle in Monday’s scrimmage at the Coliseum – so thoroughly, in fact, the coaches decided to scrap plans to keep him at tackle for the time being and move him to right guard immediately.
Redshirt sophomore John Martinez had been playing the position in the first week of camp. Walker will take over the starting spot for at least the immediate future and could very well end up starting the Trojans’ opener against Minnesota in less than four weeks.
This kid is a beast!
I can see why the Ohio State faithful were pissed that we pulled him west.
I realize it is still early yet, but if Kiffin is making this move now then they obviously see something very special with this kid. Why not put him a position with the first team to see how he really responds going up against USC's stout defensive line.
This will be fun to watch...now if we can everyone healthy.