Barkley says emotions won't be a factor

Junior quarterback says he will not be overcome by emotions, as Matt Leinart was in Coliseum finale.

LOS ANGELES – In Matt Leinart's final game at the Coliseum in Dec. 2005, the quarterback was so overcome by emotion that he threw incompletion passes on his first five attempts.

If Saturday marks Matt Barkley's last game at USC, the junior says there will be no such issues.

"When I look back, that's when the emotions will probably kick in if I do decide to leave," Barkley said. "As of now this is just another game for us and it's a big one because it's UCLA and our last game. We have to finish strong."

Barkley finds himself as perhaps the most talked-about quarterback in college football fresh off his win at No. 4 Oregon, having thrown for 3,105 yards and 33 touchdowns with only seven interceptions this season and now firmly in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

But with arguments both for and against returning for his senior season, Barkley said all year long he has not made any decision.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin thinks there is a chance that Barkley returns to lead a team that could return 20 of 22 starters and would be a strong contender to play for the BCS championship.

"I think the majority of kids in his position would leave," Kiffin said. "I think because of who he is, it probably brings it closer to 50-50, because of what his values are in life comparable to most kids his age."

Significance Lost on Young Players?
While USC players reveled in their 38-35 upset win at Oregon, redshirt freshman linebacker Dion Bailey admitted that perhaps the true significance was lost on much of the young team.

"Us being young and naïve, we don't really understand the magnitude of what we did up there and Coach Kiffin tried to explain it to us on the plane," said Bailey, who had seven tackles against the Ducks. "Like me and Woody (Robert Woods) and Hayes (Pullard, we just thought we won another game. People doubted us and we know we were underdogs but we just thought we won another game. I guess it's a whole lot more to what we did.

"We don't quite get the full picture yet."

USC ended Oregon's 21-game home winning streak and 19-game conference win streak among other marks.

Bailey returned to a limited practice Tuesday after injuring his right ankle and leaving Autzen Stadium in a walking boot.

"I'm just trying to push through for our seniors so I can be out there on Saturday and help contribute to them going their whole career here undefeated against UCLA," he said.

Woods, linebackers Lamar Dawson and Hayes Pullard, defensive tackles Christian Tupou and DaJohn Harris and fullback Rhett Ellison were also limited.

Defensive tackle J.R. Tavai hurt his left ankle during practice, while wide receiver Marqise Lee took a hard hit from safety T.J. McDonald that left him briefly shaken up.

Quick Hits
-Kiffin wore a Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei sweatshirt after practice, satisfying equal time demands from his players and staff.

"I wore a (Gardena) Serra sweatshirt on ESPN, and then I wore it in our team meeting room," he said. "Then Barkley, Khaled (Holmes), Robbie Boyer, Kennedy (Polamalu) and Lenny Vandermade didn't like it very much, so I had to wear this today."

-Kiffin and USC are hosting a toy drive Saturday. Bins will be set up around the Coliseum to collect toys and other unwrapped gifts, which will be given to at-risk children throughout Los Angeles during the holidays.


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