QB Controversy at USC??

Steve O Speak

With today’s news that Aaron Corp will likely start on Saturday for the ailing freshman Matt Barkley when the Trojans take on the Washington Huskies, it brings to mind a question. Just how secure is the Matt Barkley starting job in Southern California? I know most USC fans and the coaches will tell you that Barkley has done a wonderful job and he’s the greatest since Matt Leinart. So far USC is 2-0 so its been hard to find much to complain about, but if you take a look in side Barkley’s numbers you’ll see that he’s hasn’t been as effective as the USC hype machine would lead you to believe.

In his first game against San Jose State, Barkley was 15-19 for 233 yards and one touchdown. On paper that looks impressive, but watching the game you would see that a number of his completions were thrown high or low, that limited the receiver’s ability to get yards after the catch. A lot of those completions wouldn’t have been made against a better defense. Barkley’s inability to hit receivers on the numbers was somewhat exploited in week two against Ohio State. Barkley’s completion percentage dropped 30 points, with a 15-31 for 195 yards and an interception performance against the Buckeyes. Barkley did lead the game winning drive in the 4th quarter, but that was the only real touchdown drive he led. USC’s first touchdown came after the interception return and four straight running plays to punch it in. Barkley has also shown an inability to throw an accurate deep ball, which has always been a big part of USC’s game plan (especially with WR Damian Williams). Barkley lacks the mobility to make plays with his feet, and keep plays alive by moving outside the pocket. Already he’s been sacked three times and hit plenty of others (which led to this shoulder injury).

So what happens when redshirted sophomore Aaron Corp takes the field this Sunday and lights the Huskies up for 300 yards and four touchdowns? Pete Carroll will say that Barkley is still his guy, but the numbers  and the facts don’t lie. Corp has a better grasp of the offense, better mobility and is a more accurate passer. He knows how to hit a receiver in stride to turn moderate gains into game breakers. The biggest knock on Corp has been his lack of arm strength in throwing the deep ball, but since Barkley doesn’t have the accuracy to throw it that’s a wash now. Barkley is the best quarterback of the future and the better pro prospect, but Corp gives the Trojans a better on the field general right now and a better chance to win. I think if Corp sees the field this Saturday his performance will make it tough to take him off of it the following week, and could just possibly start a real quarterback controversy in Southern California.

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