Depth chart surprises abound

Lane Kiffin wasn't kidding when he said not to read much into end-of-spring depth chart.

USC coach Lane Kiffin went out of his way to declare that an end of spring depth chart, if one was released, would be essentially meaningless. But that still doesn't explain some of the more baffling decisions of the document released late Tuesday.

Quarterback Matt Barkley was listed as the holder on extra points and field goals, leading the junior to take to Twitter to make sure it wasn't some sort of practical joke. Considering Barkley didn't do any holding during the spring or at any time during his college career, it seems to be the epitome of a placeholder document.

It's not a surprise given the dozen or so prominent players that were limited or held out of spring altogether. Eight are listed as starter or co-starter, including center Khaled Holmes (neck), right tackle Kevin Graf (shoulder), Marc Tyler (hamstring/concussion), defensive end Wes Horton (foot), defensive tackle Christian Tupou (knee), middle linebacker Devon Kennard (hip), weakside linebacker Chris Galippo and corner Torin Harris (shoulder).

Factor in the 24 newcomers, and there will be major changes before the season starts.

But that still doesn't explain some of the inconsistencies with how players are listed based on Kiffin's prior statements. He said corner Tony Burnett was playing at an NFL-level, but the former walk-on is listed alongside Harris, who was unable to make an impact last season even as the secondary was gutted.

Linebacker Hayes Pullard was the surprise of spring, yet he is behind Galippo while Marquis Simmons and Dion Bailey share the starting spot at strongside linebacker.

Marshall Jones was rarely mentioned as an option at strong safety, but he is starting there.

Needless to say, Barkley probably wasn't the only one surprised Tuesday.


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