Practice Report: Barkley Reprimanded

Barkley stands behind quote calling Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict a "dirty player," but says meaning was twisted.

LOS ANGELES – Lane Kiffin knows what it is like to be publicly reprimanded by a conference, as the SEC did after engaging in a war of words with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and then-Florida coach Urban Meyer in his one season at Tennessee.

But the USC head coach couldn't recall such action ever being taken against a player.

It happened late Tuesday, as the Pac-12 admonished quarterback Matt Barkley for comments he made last week about Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict, calling him a "dirty player."

"All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12's policies on Sportsmanship and Standards of Conduct, which call for our student athletes to treat opponents with respect and create and ensure a collegiate atmosphere in which to conduct competition," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "In these circumstances, Mr. Barkley's comments were a clear violation of Conference rules and he is being appropriately reprimanded."

When Barkley met with the media Tuesday morning before the reprimand came down, the junior stood by his comments but hinted they were taken out of context.

"Of course everyone blew it up, but what you didn't hear is that it was coming from a place of respect for Vontaze. I've played with him for so long. I know him as a player and a person and think he is a wonderful player, which is what I said," Barkley said.

"It doesn't change what I said about him, I think it's still true, but you got to be careful because people twist your words and do whatever they want with them."

Kiffin said he respected Scott's decision to hold Barkley accountable, but defended his quarterback, saying, "I don't know how you'd find a better person to represent college athletics and what we want Trojans to be than Matt Barkley on and off the field in everything he does.

"The thing you've got to remember about Matt is, Matt can't lie," Kiffin added. "He can't really say anything different than the way he feels. That's who he is."

Even as the Pac-12 took this rare step, the Trojans, however, are still waiting to hear from the conference regarding the three personal fouls assessed against safety T.J. McDonald.

Thomas, Simmons Out for the Year
Tight end Christian Thomas and linebacker Marquis Simmons will miss the rest of the season, Kiffin announced.

Thomas injured his hip in the first scrimmage of fall camp and returned to play against Syracuse and Arizona State, recording three tackles on special teams, but will require surgery.

A sophomore from Palmdale (Calif.) Highland, Thomas had six tackles last season while alternating between tight end and defensive end.

Simmons, a redshirt sophomore from Compton (Calif.) Dominguez, sprained his neck against Utah and remains in a neck brace.

Kiffin said those losses, along with the bumps and bruises that accumulate during the season, tax the scout team. To compensate, the Trojans do more work matching up the starting offense and defense against one another, same with the second units.

Another player sidelined for the season, redshirt junior offensive guard Abe Markowitz underwent surgery on his broken left foot, Kiffin said.

Farmer the Running Back?
Gardena (Calif.) Serra standout George Farmer was regarded as a can't-miss wide receiver, a five-star recruit and Scout's third-ranked receiver in the Class of 2011. But after suffering a concussion that limited his development in fall camp, Kiffin met with Farmer and his family and decided to redshirt him.

The bigger surprise is the decision to give Farmer a look at running back in individual drills, something Kiffin attributed to the lack of big plays coming from that position.

Redshirt junior Curtis McNeal broke off a 43-yard run late against Syracuse, but starters Marc Tyler and D.J. Morgan have not had a run longer than 26 yards this season.

"He looks great there," Kiffin said of Farmer. "If that could work out – it's something he did before he got to Serra, played running back – that would be real exciting. That would give us a big, physical guy (and) one of the fastest guys in the country. We're looking at that. As we look at that position, we're still lacking in game-breaking speed back there as we continue to see in games."

Quick Hits
-Left tackle Matt Kalil, corner Torin Harris (shoulder), running back Amir Carlisle (ankle) and linebacker Lamar Dawson (ankle) did not practice.

Dawson is no longer in a walking boot.

Offensive lineman Martin Coleman (shoulder) returned to action.

-Linebacker Shane Horton and defensive lineman J.R. Tavai each had interceptions in practice.


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