Answer Monday! (Part 3)

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In this segment a question about Matt Barkley.

Q: Trojan Conquest said:
There seems to be two views on Barkley from Trojan fans……….Those that love him, and those that think he had a dissapointing season last year. He still doesn’t have a signature victory, and he doesn’t step up and perform in the 4th quarter when elite QBs need to. Do you think he’ll step up and be an elite QB next year, or continue to struggle and be average? Also, which QBs in the Pac 12 would you rate higher?

A: I’m not sure he can be an elite QB. I think he can is the most important member of USC’s football team and his absence cost te Trojans a victory over Notre Dame. But in games like the Stanford and Washington contests, key throws were not made to win the game.
Last month I was asked to rank the Pac-12 QB’s. Here my answer:
I’d say Andrew Luck (Stanford) is No. 1, Darron Thomas (Oregon) No. 2. Then I think it’s pretty close. I’d rank Matt Barkley (USC) somewhere in the 3-4 range. I’m not sure he is ahead of Nick Foles (Arizona) or Jeff Tuel (Washington State). Some might scoff at Tuel but he is working with a lot less than the other QBs. Ryan Katz (Oregon State) and Brock Osweiler (Arizona State) are only a hair behind Barkley. I suppose Jordan Wynn (Utah) is there too but I did not see a lot of him last season other than the disastrous TCU game.

Q: uscmike said:
I notice that USC’s conference basketball games on Thursdays are often not televised on FSN or Prime Ticket. I understand why Fox picks a UCLA basketball game over USC, but why is it that the local Fox stations will sometimes show a match-up from other conference schools over USC? Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that a USC game would get more local viewers than, say, a Wash-Cal game. Has USC done anything to try to address this issue? One would think that USC would want maximum exposure for the basketball team. Any info you can provide is greatly appreciated.

As always, thanks for the forum, Scott.

A: The reason you get those games that do not interest you on Prime Ticket or Fox Sports West is that that Fox has a contract with the Pac-10 to televise certain games. And often, USC is not the choice of Fox.
USC’s way of addressing it is to sometimes televise the game on the Internet. Not very satisfying, I agree, but better than nothing.
That is why USC probably needs some type of channel like Texas started that can televise more games. Even a Pac-12 network might not address but then I hear that basketball games will be played on more nights to maximize exposure as soon as next season.

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  • Trojan Conquest

    I tend to agreee with Wolf (scary) on Barkley not being an elite QB. I just hope that he steps up. I’m thinking the same thing was said about Palmer before he became elite. The comment that Osweiler is only a hair behind is crazy. The guy has really only played in 2 games. He had an unbelieveable game against UCLA, and a below average game against UoA that they won because of their defense. Erickson said that the UCLA game was abnomal when compared to how he looked in practice. Even though he could be good, it’s way premature to say he’s only a hair behind Barkley. ASU is in trouble if he doesn’t step up. Threet is done because of concussions, and they have nobody behind Osweiler.

  • Exile.

    Does it ever occur to you that Barkley is not very intelligent? Could this be a factor in his decision making processes such as reading defenses? I don’t want to be overly critical but I often wonder if he is just not bright.

  • booty11

    Hey Trojan Conquest how about winning at Ohio State against the soon to be Rose Bowl Champions? Or being 3-0 in the rivalry games? Those are signature victories. But in his defense lets not forget Luck was in his 3rd college year last year, it takes people time at QB to become elite. Name a freshman or sophomore who has dominated.

  • Gnossos

    tOSU, vs. fucla = John Hancock!

  • Jethro Sabbath

    Notice how a conversation about quality quarterbacks in the conference goes pretty deep and even includes a school yet to play a conference game but nobody from UCLA.

  • Trojan Conquest

    booty……sorry I’m not a Kool-Aid drinker. Barkley did nothing great in the Ohio State game. And even if he did, it’s sad to have to go back to a game in Sept of 09. And who cares that he beat terrible UCLA and Notre Dame teams. And Luck was great his redshirt freshman year, better than Barkley’s soph year. He was elite his first year of playing. Like I said, I hope he steps up and becomes elite. I just haven’t seen it yet.

  • uscmba

    I’m with Trojan Conquest on this one. I don’t see Barkley as an elite QB. Now, with that being said, he is a very good quarterback. Unfortunately, he was so highly touted coming out of Mater Dei that it was almost inevitable that he wouldn’t initially live up to expectations. Further, he’s following arguably one of the best succession of USC quarterbacks in history. You had two Heisman trophy winners in Palmer and Leinart and two very good quarterbacks in Sanchez and Booty. That’s a very hard act to follow. Hopefully, Barkley will show some serious improvement this coming season. We do have to remember he was only a sophomore last season. Anyway, let’s hope he proves me wrong and has a dominating season. I’m pulling for him. Fight on!

  • Trojan Conquest

    uscmba………agreed.

  • mo

    A lot of ignorance displayed in the above posts, not to mention Wolfie, of course…oops, I mentioned it.

    I am neither a fan or Barkley nor a hater be.

    The QB position is the most misunderstood by people because it is the most visible and therefore, appears to be the easiest to critique.

    Every year tons of HS QB’s are hyped and almost none do anything as freshmen. Gilbert of Texas was “Mr. QB” and he threw something like 10 more picks than td’s last year.

    Barkley is so far ahead of where Carson Palmer was as a junior it’s not even comparable. In fact, as a true frosh, Barkley was better than Palmer was when Palmer went into his junior season.

    Barkley had a good freshman season and improved on it tremendously as a soph. The truth to his “disappearing” in big games was in the playcalling. If you watch every game this past season you will note that Barkley had a much more effective first half than second half of the season. It was not because of the tougher comp in the 2nd half of the schedule.

    Kiffin went very conservative in the 2nd half of the season. If you go over every game tape you will see more bubble screens, more 3 yard outs, almost no passes downfield to stretch the defense, because of that, USC’s receivers failing to gain any separation at the end of the season because when teams manned up they played them like white on rice, and, when teams zoned, they played right up on the line of scrimmage. That’s not an opinion, it’s all there in the game tapes.

    Kiffin also coached the offense like it was a pro team. He changed strategy each week trying to beat teams using different strategies and adding a ton of formations and plays. You may remember in the 2nd half of the season that USC not only had several delay of game penalties, but had to call more timeouts due to inability to beat the play clock, and, confusion on the part of the wideouts and backs.

    Barkley just made a public comment stating that he liked Kiffin’s playcalling, but, is glad to see that things will be simplified. In other words, Kiffin has learned his lesson and USC will not try to fool everybody but instead will be more efficient in running what they run, just being very, very good at doing less instead of crappy trying to do everything in one week’s time-this isn’t the NFL with 40 hour+ work weeks.

    Barkley can only work with what he’s given. If the HC wants to call three consecutive passes that go from being thrown laterally to a long attempt of 3 yards, that’s not Barkley’s fault.

    Barkley is already seen as a 1st to 2nd round NFL prospect by NFL scouts. Maybe all but a handful of teams would have liked to have had him throwing 26 td’s for their teams last season.

    And, lastly, to the guy wondering if Barkley is smart enough. You can be Einstein and not learn the offense. It’s not about grade point average, or, measurable human intelligence, it’s about being a football player. Barkley has command of the offense.

  • mownyc

    I’m with Mo. Yes, MB could be better. He WILL be better. If he improves as much as he did last year, he’ll be an “elite” QB and a lock to go first round.

  • uscmba

    @mo, I agree with you about the playcalling. So many passes were merely “long hand-offs” a la bubble screens. However, that is a pass that Barkley doesn’t throw very well consistently. It just seems to me that he takes too long to set up to make that quick throw. I’ve watched many of these relatively easy throws sail high or take that split second too long, thus allowing the defensive back to close quickly. These same bubble screens also help Barkley’s efficiency numbers. Anyway, want a great example of someone who can throw the quick sideline pass? Andrew Luck. I believe it’s simple matter of agility, getting your feet and body in a position to throw more quickly. We all know Barkley moves around the pocket like an aging veteran quarterback. (That’s probably why Kiffin ordered Barkley to lose weight before last season.) Heck, Jon Kitna of the Dallas Cowboys is more mobile, and he’s almost 40! I know we’re being critical of Barkley. I know I’ve been in the past. I do recognize that he was only a sophomore. There are good things about Barkley, but I just don’t see him as a future elite QB. Let me restate, I am pulling for him, and I hope I’m wrong.

  • Trojan Conquest

    mo……..if we displayed “ignorance”, then you displayed arrogance. Just because I’m not in love of Barkley, doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. I agree with the play calling, but bottom line is that Barkley really didn’t “tremendously” improve his soph year. There were a number of games where he just didn’t execute in the 4th quarter to either win a game or put one away. I hope he steps up and becomes elite. We’ll find out sooner than later. He’ll be a junior starting his third year.

  • sureshot

    @mo – I agree. Do what you do, and do it better than your opponent. It’s not great strategy to change and adapt to your opponent (at least on offense) especially when you are more talented at nearly every position. You don’t have to telegraph what you’re doing, but if you execute the play, you will find success more often than not.

    Kiffin just needs to let his guys go out there and fly around.

    And Monte, take note of Cal vs. Oregon game. Play man to man and get your defensive line to penetrate into the Oregon backfield and you’ll be okay.

  • Lane Kiffin

    What SC games have you been watching ??? … that dummy Kiffin has called the same crappy three plays since he was given the ultra-talented 2005 O and almost ruined it. Kiffin has an IQ of about 60

    ‘If you go over every game tape you will see more bubble screens, more 3 yard outs, almost no passes downfield to stretch the defense ‘

    That is all the dummy ever calls , no matter who he has or what the score is. Haden cannot fire the moron fast enough. What a crappy excuse for a football coach.