The unmistakable voice of defensive line coach Ed Orgeron could be heard echoing of the buildings surrounding Cromwell Field all morning. Orgeron was issuing a wake-up call, and not just to the students trying to sleep in nearby dorms, but to his players – letting them know that the undisciplined play of the past isn't going to be tolerated this spring.
Can Barkley go from good to great? – That was one of the main questions after the first practice of the spring. Can Matt Barkley, who is now in his third year as the starting quarterback, go from being a good passer to one of the elite signal-callers in the country?
As just a sophomore, Barkley completed 62.6% of his passes for 2,791 yards and 26 touchdowns while continuing to grow into a leadership role.
This offseason, he was clearly the team leader on the offensive side of the ball, organizing drills and keeping players focused during offseason throwing sessions.
So what areas does the third-year quarterback need to improve on this spring?
"Last year he improved a lot on his decision-making, and you saw his touchdown to interception ratio increase dramatically, and now he has to do that again," Kiffin said of Barkley, who tossed 26 touchdown passes and 12 interception in 2010, a solid improvement from his freshman season in which he threw 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
The talk of Barkley's continued development will naturally fuel speculation that a successful junior season could be his last as a Trojan.
"If he has a good year I am sure he will look to go to the NFL, like most guys do after their junior year," Kiffin said.
Which is just another reason why the competition for the backup quarterback spot remains so intriguing this spring.
Morgan adds some flash – The sight of D.J. Morgan racing down the sidelines on a pair of long runs was one of the most encouraging signs from the first day of spring practice. We have stated several times this offseason that the coaches are very high on the speedster from Taft High School, and he didn't disappoint on Tuesday.
Coming off a redshirt season in which he showed glimpses of what made him such a highly regarded recruit, Morgan is now in the mix for playing time and provides the offense with a true big-play threat.
"I thought he flashed a couple of time," Kiffin said. "The ball bounced outside a couple of times and you could see his speed."
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