USC: Why Play Matt Barkley In 2009?

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IJune 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans at the line of scrimmage during the spring game on April 25, 2009 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  The cardinal team won 16-10.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

Okay, let’s get something straight right off the bat. Matt Barkley, the 2009 Trojan uber recruit quarterback is a special talent. No less an authority than Head Coach Pete Carroll says so and when Pete talks, people listen. According to Carroll, no young quarterback he has had at USC has picked up the offense so quickly, not Matt Leinart, not John David Booty, no one has shown the football moxie that Barkley has exhibited in his short time in Trojan land. 

In addition to the offensive guile that Barkley reeks of, he has all the physical tools to get the job done. Whatever throw you need, Barkley can deliver it. In Matt Barkley, USC truly has the prototypical quarterback, destined, barring injury, to star on Sundays for whatever team is lucky enough to get him.

Now that we have established that, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Barkley needs to sit. Yeah, I know that playing time is won on the field and if Barkley is good enough to earn that playing time, then he should get it. But let’s face it, Pete Carroll is not going to start a freshman quarterback, and USC doesn’t need a backup with the talent that Barkley has to tote a clipboard when the Trojans have capable quarterbacks at the ready.

Aaron Corp, the speedy quarterback who won the job coming out of spring practices, gives USC a steady if not spectacular leader on offense and Mitch Mustain, the Parade All American transfer from Arkansas provides the Trojans with possibly the most talented backup in the nation.

USC’s offensive line will graduate at least three linemen after the 2009 season that will play on Sundays. Damien Williams, Ronald Johnson and David Ausberry, all junior wide receivers, could also be gone by the time Barkley is ready

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But this is USC and the Trojans will have more than capable replacements ready by the time Barkley is. That is one of the reasons that Pete Carroll is such a special coach.

The point is that USC doesn’t need Matt Barkley this year. With nine returning starters on offense, including a bevy of talented running backs led by Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Joe Mcknight, USC just needs a capable leader at quarterback and Aaron Corp provides that.

In the spring session, Corp threw one interception in fifteen spring practices. That brings a smile to both Pete Carroll and Jeremy Bates, the new USC assistant head coach, faces. They love his decision making and with Corp, USC gets something that they have never had before in the Pete Carroll era. Speed. And lots of it.

When Aaron Corp lines up behind center, he will bring an element to the offense that opposing coaches have never had to worry about when game planning against the Trojans. According to his bio, Corp runs the forty in 4.65 seconds but those close to the program have said he is closer to 4.55.

When Corp makes those good decisions that his coaches love, when nothing is there in a passing play, Corp has the ability to make good things happen with his feet. It is one thing to make good decisions, it is quite another to have the speed to legitimately turn that decision to pull the ball down into fifteen yards and a first down.

Matt Barkley will get his turn. He is far too talented not to.

Next year, Corp will be a junior, Mustain will be a senior, and Barkley will be a red shirt freshman with a year in the system under his belt. Barkley can and will wow the coaches running the scout team and if he is as good as we all think he is, then next year he will start and his Heisman campaign can begin in earnest.

Why burn a redshirt year for Barkley when the Trojans most likely won’t need him? There is plenty of time to build the Matt Barkley legacy.


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