Starting quarterback Matt Barkley continues to have his struggles at USC Trojans fall practice. Barkley keeps on throwing interceptions, Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are still throwing at a killer efficiency rate, and head coach Lane Kiffin is getting concerned that Barkley is not performing up to the level of his peers. Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
"As you look at it over camp, two freshmen are leading our team in completion percentage," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "He's behind them. That's them being really safe and conservative and him being aggressive at times."
Kiffin wants Barkley to complete at least 70 percent of his passes at today's scrimmage at the Coliseum. For his part, Barkley is unconcerned about the interceptions and completion percentage and said this easily is his best training camp.
Now, to be fair to Barkley, most of the work Kessler and Wittek are doing are coming against the second and third-team defensive units, and USC's defense is not particularly deep. Barkley has to go against the experienced starting line defense (which might turn out to be very good in their second season in Monte Kiffin's Cover 2 schemes) and it's crossing up the junior QB. So it could be that Kiffin is using a pretty arbitrary metric to judge the worth of his quarterback.
Barkley himself remains unconcerned.
"I love the energy I'm trying to put forth," he said. "I'm light years ahead in decision-making from even last spring. The defense has seen all our plays."
Barkley is going to have to learn how to adapt sooner rather than later to these defensive systems if he plans on making the next leap to the NFL, and it looks like he's comfortable with the way things are working right now. This could be a good sign if he can prove to overwhelm opposing defenses regardless of the configurations they throw out there.
For more on the Trojans, go to Conquest Chronicles.