USC Coaches: The Smart Play Would Be To Start Matt Barkley

Doug UrschelCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2009

The photo I selected has not been tainted.  The photo depicts Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley shaking hands following a game.

Is it me, or does Barkley look about 20-pounds heavier and two inches taller than Sanchez?   Sanchez is listed as taller and lighter than Barkley in most printed guides.

Sanchez and Barkley share an important quality about them.  The quality is just about impossible to describe, until you see the results.

The "it" factor is the quality of which I speak. 

The "it" factor is not taught, and you don't learn the quality from books.  A person will have the quality or not.

Sanchez and Barkley have an abundance of that quality.  They each ooze the quality from their skin.  That is something that shouldn't be ignored by a coach.

That quality binds teams. The "it" factor allows a person to become the natural leader of the team.  He becomes that special person who leads by example and personality.

Personality and a trait that cannot be adequately described is not all that describes Matt Barkley.

Matt Barkley started for four years at prestigious Mater Dei High School.  Mater Dei has had a nationally respected football program for years.

The fact that Barkley started for four years should be praise enough, but he also became the first junior to be named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.  He was also awarded as the Most Valuable Player of the Under Armour All-American Game.   

His award list is long, to be sure.  His future is endless.

Barkley enrolled at USC early so he could not only begin college studies, but also begin learning USC football.

Barkley attended Spring Camp and impressed coach Pete Carroll.  Carroll called Barkley the fastest offensive learner he has ever had.

Barkley was moved into the second-team position, after a very close battle for first-team.

Barkley has a proven strong arm.  It's hard to imagine another Trojan quarterback (QB) with such arm strength.  His size is greater than the other QBs, making him less likely to get injured.  

The selection of the starting QB may go beyond the playing field.

The other two QBs have had two full seasons ahead of Barkley.  Each may elect to return for an additional year.  If they do, Matt Barkley may not have the ability to start until 2011.

Somehow, I don't believe that's what Barkley signed on for.

USC already has a verbal commitment from a 2010 QB and who knows how many more are coming?  Folks, there is some history here.

The USC QB position came open when Matt Leinart was drafted into the NFL.  There was a decision to be made at QB and the the decision made was an unwise one.

There was a QB available, who had a few years in the USC system, but had little game-time.  He didn't participate in Spring Training, due to an injury.

There was another QB on campus that was the High School Player of the Year.  He completed Spring Training, but was directed to the bench for two years.

The other QB started, but didn't do as hoped.  He broke his finger during one game and attempted to play through the injury.  This poor decision led USC to a one point loss, which cost them an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. 

The decision to continue with the hurt QB was credited as the reason USC lost the game.  Pete Carroll later stated that he had made a bad decision.

There was another QB available during that game.  His name is Mark Sanchez.  It was felt Sanchez didn't have the experience.

Currently, the QB who has been named the starter from Spring Training has a broken bone in his leg.  The coaching staff is hoping that this QB will be ready to practice the week of Aug. 24.

Does any of the above sound familiar?

The QB is about to have missed just shy of two weeks of fall practice.  Hello!  There is a top flight QB that is available now.  Why is there a question about who should start?

When does "If you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it" kick in?

I've often asked myself about how a player sitting on the bench feels, watching another in his position playing with arm cast.

What's the word I'm looking for to describe the above?  Oh yes.  It's called "disrespect of talent."   

I'm looking at the 2009 USC season as follows:

- USC will have the advantage of a running game over any team they will play.

- USC is deeper in quality running backs than any team in the nation. 

- USC will have the advantage in their wide receivers over any team they play.

- USC's offensive line is superior to any team they face.

- USC's defensive line will be as good or better than any they face.

- USC's defensive backfield clearly has the deepest and best defensive backfield in the nation. 

- USC's linebackers will be faster and hit as hard, if not harder, than any team they will face.

So what's the problem?  Why is anyone considering playing QBs with less playing time at USC than I have?

The only consideration should be given to the future.  Matt Barkley is the future and the now of USC. 

Barkley hasn't thrown for a touchdown at USC.  Neither has the other QB who is being considered as a starter.  However, the other QB has hardly seen the playing field for two years.

Does this sound familiar?

Start Barkley while all of the support players are there and seasoned.  Don't begin a project of giving a backup QB a chance to play.

By not starting starting Barkley, you reduce the chance that the Trojans, as a team, will win a National Championship. 

Pete Carroll's National Championships were won with Matt Leinart at the helm and not either QB projects.  I might add that one of the projects decided to leave after a year. 

His leaving left the entire Trojan team holding his luggage and waving good-bye.

Someone needs to get to coach Carroll and show him a schematic of his choices for QB.

Pete Carroll has chosen a path of making another QB a project, if he doesn't make Matt Barkley the starting QB.

Mark my words on that Trojan fans.  I'm as proud as anyone of being able to grasp the obvious.

I have heard over and over about how long a player at USC has waited to play and "deserves a chance to play."

Then I recall a Clint Eastwood line in "Unforgiven."  Clint looked down at the guy on the floor and said, "Deserves have nothin' to do with it."



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