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Aaron Corp Breaks Leg: Is This Barkley's "Wally Pipp" Moment?

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IAugust 12, 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)

So this is how it all begins. Matt Barkley's "Wally Pipp" moment.

It was announced today that Aaron Corp, USC's starting quarterback heading into fall practice, has a slight break in his fibula. The injury occurred when an offensive lineman rolled onto Corp's leg during a previous practice.

Corp was expected to return to practice on Wednesday, but that was before the details of the injury were announced. Aaron Corp is now expected to miss two weeks of practice.

Now normally this would not create so much of a stir, but the guy behind Corp at the quarterback position is not your normal backup QB.

No, the guy behind Corp is one Matt Barkley.

Barkley is the mega recruit out of Mater Dei high school who just happens to be the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school last year.

What's more, Barkley has been everything and more as advertised in his first few months in Trojanland.

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At 6'3", 230 pounds, Barkley is blessed with a rocket for an arm and an intellect for football that Pete Carroll has said he has never seen from a quarterback his age.

Jeremy Bates, the former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, now helps run the offense for the Trojans. He says that Barkley's arm strength reminds him of Jay Cutler and the kid's football savvy reminds him of Peyton Manning.

Let that sink in for a moment.

So what does this all mean?

Well, for one, it means that Corp has literally suffered a bad break. No pun intended.

Corp has done everything asked of him and more. He won the job by being efficient and has developed into a great leader.

He also is a fleet footed quarterback (something that Trojans have never had in the Pete Carroll era) and makes good decisions both with his arm and his feet.

It also means that for all his hard work, Corp may not hold on to the starting quarterback job.

Barkley came into fall practice hot on Corp's heels.

The main drawback to Barkley's game in the spring was his unfamiliarity with the Trojans offense. Barkley took care of that by studying and learning the Trojans playbook. You know, that football intelligence everyone raves about.

When Barkley entered fall practice, he was already breathing down Corp's neck. Now, with Corp on the shelf for the next two weeks, Barkley has an opportunity to take over the position. And he is good enough to do it too.

Whether or not Pete Carroll gives back the starting job to Corp because, let's face it, many coaches don't like their players to lose their jobs because of injury, may not matter.

Carroll has built the Trojan program with a mantra of competition. If Barkley shows that he is the "man," then Carroll will accede to that. For Carroll, it is all about winning.

Given the accolades that Barkley has already received from the only guys who really matter, it may only take two weeks for Barkley to win the job.

Is that the ghost of Lou Gehrig I see on the Trojan practice field?

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