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USC Quarterback Notes and some Links

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Busy day here on Vacation...the sun is back out and the rain has passed so its back to the beach. I am going to combine a bunch of things into one post...

So, Matt Barkley had a bit of a set back in yesterdays first session of practice.

The rush to anoint true freshman Matt Barkley as USC's starting quarterback always is apparent, especially when fans cheer his touchdown passes at Howard Jones Field.

But the movement hit a snag Thursday morning in practice when Barkley threw three interceptions, his first of training camp, as the defense finally abandoned its butter-finger reputation from the first five days.

In Barkley's defense, the final interception was a tipped pass caught by linebacker Jarvis Jones, but quarterback coach Jeremy Bates did not excuse the other two.

I think it pretty obvious that everyone is anxious to see Barkley get on the field but I think we all need to temper our enthusiasm and let things play out. Barkley is going to make some mistakes no matter how much more mature the coaching staff thinks he is in the position. I think too much is made over how many INT's a QB throws in camp. I could see where it might be a concern if a veteran QB like Sanchez or Booty threw a bunch of INT's in camp in their senior season but I just can't worked up over it when the new starter who is an underclassman or a true freshman...it is jjst going to take some time.

In the afternoon session Barkley bounced back...

Matt Barkley learned from his mistakes Thursday.

The freshman quarterback with a chance to start USC's Sept. 5 opener against San Jose State had three passes intercepted during a brief morning workout.

Five hours later, the Trojans returned to the field and Barkley did not commit a turnover while taking nearly every first-team snap during a 2 1/2 -hour practice.

"It didn't faze me," Barkley said of the morning miscues.

Turnovers, and the ability to avoid them, will be a determining factor if Aaron Corp returns from a leg injury in time to compete with Barkley to regain his place atop the depth chart.

Again, I just don't get the story here...Corp will be back in time to be the starter on the 5th. All the reps that Barkley is getting will obviously help him going forward but I just don't see him starting if Corp is 75% ready to go.

I asked the question yesterday on what Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates opinions of the situation are. Bates offers up some interesting observations...

(On how Barkley has handled the first-team responsibilities so far)

"He’s taken it over. He’s the No. 1 quarterback in practice, and we’ll see when Aaron gets back what happens. This is a good experience. When I was with the Jets (in 2005), we went through five quarterbacks in one year. The backup always has to be ready, and when it’s your turn, you have to take it over. That happens.

"Matt’s doing a great job. He’s great in the huddle. He’s taking the leadership role serious. He’s executing pretty good."

Bates also noted in the LAT article that Barkley's interception happened on complicate plays that he was implementing into the offense for Barkley for the very first time. Pete Carroll knows what he is doing he just needs a little more time work out the kinks.

Matt Barkley is going to have a long career at USC so why rush it? I think its is a mistake to put this kid on the pedestal before all the facts are in. Aaron Corp has some great potential as well but he needs time to settle into the position. His injury will set him back, but not that much. I would not count him out yet as I still expect him to be the starter on September 5th.

Injured USC quarterback Aaron Corp made enough progress Thursday to suggest his recovery time from a cracked fibula could be closer to one week than three.

Corp (Orange Lutheran High) played catch after the Trojans’ morning practice. He then threw passes early in their afternoon session while wearing a new brace that reduces the pressure on the outside of his left leg.

Corp appeared to be limping less and said his leg is “definitely improving.” He planned to increase his activity level Friday in hopes of returning by early next week.

“I thought Aaron looked pretty good,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “He was dropping back comfortably. He’s going to make a quick recovery, hopefully.”

Carroll didn’t guarantee that Corp would retain his starting spot, emphasizing Wednesday that the competition between him and Matt Barkley would continue. Or as quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates put it Thursday: “He (Barkley) is the No. 1 quarterback in practice, and we’ll see when Aaron gets back what happens.”

Moving on...Some injuries of note.

  • USC starting defensive tackle Averell Spicer will be out two to three weeks with a high ankle sprain, which could put in jeopardy his start on Sept. 5 vs. San Jose State. While junior Derek Simmons is listed behind him on the depth chart, 330-pound JC transfer Hebron Fangupo has been impressive in camp thus far.
  • Also at USC, tight end Blake Ayles will undergo further testing for an irregular heartbeat, though Ayles told the Orange County Register he expects to practice Friday. Meanwhile, No. 1 cornerback Shareece Wright's bruised knee swelled up and may require an MRI.

That Blake Ayles news is a little disconcerting especially after we lost Frankie Telfort due to a heart ailment. Lets hope he passes his tests.

Here is Taylor Mays' Chat transcript from ESPN yesterday

This is an interesting read on USC's dominance of the Pac-10 the past several years. This actually a good read from the Seattle P.I..

It will be fun to read your reactions to this piece on Slick Rick's take on the ongoing Taylor Mays v. Eric Berry comparison.

At Pac-10 media day I chatted with the one coach who can provide real insight into the discussion: UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.

He's faced both Berry and Mays in 2008.

Here's what he said about Mays:

"Taylor is the unblocked tackler. Because of their defense's structure, it's hard to get a body on him. So he comes down and becomes that extra guy at the point of attack who makes a lot of plays around the line of scrimmage... His impact is more felt in the run game... Taylor is more of a downhill player, although he plays centerfield very well. He can do both, which makes him unique. He's Steve Atwater but can also play centerfield."

And Berry:

"Berry is more of a guy who makes plays on the back end. He's an Ed Reed type of guy who sort of wanders around and doesn't necessarily play the rule of the coverage and trusts his instincts. Coaches get to a place where they are so comfortable with his instincts they let him gamble a little bit."

Again, different players put into different roles on their respective teams...We need a break from this subject.

That's all for now...I am grabbing my bucket of beers, my box of cigars and my iPod and I am hitting the beach!!!