So, you may or may not have heard that the USC Trojans are traveling to Ohio State to play some football.
If you are not aware of the pending Hoedown at the Horseshoe, either you live in Antarctica or you are just plain ignorant. ESPN has covered the story nonstop since USC’s manhandling of San Jose State. Or, if you prefer the other angle, since Ohio State nearly blew the game against a mediocre Navy.
But, as ESPN sometimes does, they relied on their on-location reporters to ask the wrong questions.
If I had 20 hands, I would still not be able to count the number of times that Matt Barkley was asked, “How will you deal with the noise?”
Seriously, ESPN? What are you going to ask next? “How will you handle the shift from seeing blue opposing jerseys to red opposing jerseys?”
This noise “controversy” has successfully irritated a majority of the Trojan faithful, as they feel there are much larger concerns with a True Freshman quarterback than simple “noise.”
ESPN, along with the other major news outlets, asked the wrong questions this week. Thankfully, I have the right answers.
Matt Barkley could care less about the noise. A player of his level, and of his personality, is not affected by noise. All those times he answered reporters claiming that the noise does not affect him—it’s the truth!
All indications, and all my contacts on campus, have told me that Barkley speaks the truth. The noise isn’t a big deal. Obviously, though, he is going to feel pressure.
Matt clearly felt jittery on the first drive of last week’s game, and he will feel jittery again. Yet it won’t be because of noise.
Instead, how about the worry of letting his teammates down in a big rivalry? While that is a concern, a player of his level is probably thinking, “How can I help my team win this rivalry?” Matt Barkley has been surrounded by praises of his maturity, both publicly and privately.
Sure, everyone has heard Pete Carroll shower Barkley with praise, and many think it’s a ruse. But very few have heard the players talk casually about how impressed they are with Barkley, and how before the season they felt he was the best choice for the starting job.
So today, as you watch USC in the horseshoe, don’t be the one to bring up “the noise factor” when discussing Barkley. Assume that Barkley is a competent player—after all, he is a USC quarterback—and take that next step to a higher level of USC conversation.
Mitchell Golden is the USC Campus Voice Reporter, reporting directly from the USC campus in Los Angeles.