Barkley remains his biggest critic

Even after throwing for school-record 468 yards against Arizona, quarterback Matt Barkley is more concerned with overthrow on final pass attempt.

LOS ANGELES – Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck got the chance to call his own plays Saturday, directing a no-huddle offense for several possessions against UCLA. Matt Barkley would certainly like the opportunity to do the same.

Barkley has done so at times in USC's two-minute offense. He certainly has some familiarity calling his own plays, having done so during his high school career at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei working in a spread shotgun attack.

"We definitely have the personnel to go four wides and just move the ball down the field," Barkley said. "It's not really a staple of our offense, but if need be, I'd be fine with doing it."

USC head coach Lane Kiffin pointed out that the junior did it against Cal and Oregon last season. The Trojans also pushed the tempo at times last week against Arizona and the offense seems to benefit in those situations.

"It puts the defense on their heels," Barkley said. "They can't line up different shifts and formations as quickly and you know what you are doing so you are playing fast. There are definitely a lot of advantages to it."

Barkley threw for a school-record 468 yards, earning Pac-12 Player of the Week recognition for the second time in three weeks, but was more concerned about the seven incomplete passes he had.

Notably, he overthrew Brandon Carswell on fourth and one when a first down would have effectively ended the game, also bypassing Robert Woods underneath in the flat.

"It's good when you can count your incompletions, that's what you want to be able to do, on one hand, but some of those balls were just terrible throws," Barkley said." Especially that last ball, underthrew Cars on that. Was eating me up the whole night.

"It kind of settled in yesterday, Sunday a little bit, just how well our offense played. You always want to hold yourself to a high standard."

In his third season as a starter, Barkley has done just that, elevating his play by completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,587 yards, 14 touchdowns against four interceptions.

His arm strength has improved noticeably, same for his touch. But while Woods tends to play down low and freshman Marqise Lee attacks the ball as its highest point, Barkley says he doesn't change how he delivers his throws to his top two receivers.

"I'm throwing to where I think either one of them can catch it," he said. "I have faith that Robert can go up if he has to or Marqise can do down for the ball. But it's really cool to see Marqise high pointing the ball like he is rebounding a basketball. He's just so good at that."

Still, for all Barkley's growth, Kiffin was quick to point out just how quickly perceptions can change after going from a three-turnover performance at Arizona State to a monumental showing the following Saturday.

"Well a week ago the stories are that we weren't any good and that there's no way Barkley is a first-round pick anymore so we have to take it all in," he said.

Quick Hits
-Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was not at practice. Kiffin said he was in Louisiana to attend to a family matter.

Assistant head coach Monte Kiffin worked with the defensive line in Orgeron's absence.

Wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore was on the road recruiting.

-Corner Torin Harris (shoulder) did not practice.

-Wide receiver Kyle Prater had his left foot in a walking boot and did not practice.

-Linebacker Lamar Dawson (ankle) returned to practice.


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