There is no question that Matt Barkley is an exceptional talent!
Even though he was thrown into the deep end of the pool last year when he started as a true freshman he had some games last year where we saw his talent. Of course there were some moments that clearly showed his inexperience at the D-1 level but that is to be expected.
But coming into this season many expected a significant improvement.
For the most part I think we have seen it. His TD to INT ratio is much better than it was last year. He has made some great throws and and managed a number of games pretty well...but Barkley is still a work in progress.
His two missed throws that would have been sure TD's form the past two games show us that he has some work to do but the coaching staff isn't too worried...
USC coach Lane Kiffin saw positives in quarterback Matt Barkley's play Saturday at Arizona that his numbers don't reflect.
Playing with the lead most of the time, Barkley sustained drives, didn't force any passes and committed only one turnover that wasn't his fault.
"I thought he managed the game extremely well," Kiffin said Sunday.Kiffin said the second half felt like a "four-minute drill" – the football term for the end-game sequence when a team with the lead tries to run out the clock. USC entered the second half with a 21-14 advantage that swelled to 24-14 with 3:35 left in the third quarter. The final was 24-21.
Again, Barkley has made progress but there have been times where Barkley has looked like he has hit a wall.
About those two missed throws.
The sophomore and his coaches attributed those misses to timing issues that should be corrected by the time USC visits Oregon State on Saturday.
Even though he played his full allotment of snaps at Arizona, Woods "looked like a normal receiver and not like what he had been," USC coach Lane Kiffin said.
Johnson was well enough to break into the clear late in the first half against the Wildcats, but he got rerouted along the way, resulting in Barkley's pass landing near his feet.
Receivers do get "rerouted" out of their patterns but with the time Barkley was getting because of the O lines great protection he could have easily adjusted. The overthrow to Woods in the ASU game is all on Barkley. I wouldn't say Barkley has happy feet but I would say, as do many others, that he still has trouble controlling his anxiety on the field.
It seems that there are times where if he is out of the game for long periods of time that Barkley gets cold...his production just drops off.
That to me is anxiety.
And Reser stadium in Corvallis is not the easiest place to play in so Barkley has his work cut out for him.
I have no worries that he won't get through it. It will just take time.
The bigger jump in production is between year 2 and year 3 so I would expect Barkley to work his way through this, but we need to start seeing that progress in the last three games of the season.
Barkley gives us the best chance to win, I have said it before and I stand by it. I have enjoyed watching him play and over the past two seasons we have seen him make some nice plays and manage some tough situations. He is our guy.
There are about 115 other schools that would take Barkley in a New York minute!
He just needs some polishing.
Here are a few more notes on the offense...