Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley made a big statement on Thursday, putting together the most impressive practice of any quarterback this spring.
"This was probably the best day so far," Barkley said. "I have just been relaxed and calm going through my reads."
While Aaron Corp has taken a slight lead in the quarterback derby by making the least mistakes, it could be argued that Barkley has made the most plays, and that was certainly the case on Thursday.
"He threw a couple of great balls today," Pete Carroll said. "I was thrilled that he threw a couple of big balls and made some nice plays when the heat was on here at the end of practice."
While most young quarterbacks struggle with learning the plays and the mental side of the game, Barkley has proven to be a quick study and hasn't had any major setbacks.
"He's having a pretty go at it. He's not getting bogged down by the installation or by the terminology," Carroll said. "He just has an aptitude and it's giving him a chance to compete."
With seven practices under his belt, Barkley is now starting to get comfortable with the offensive scheme.
"I am starting to get more and more comfortable everyday," Barkley said. "I feel comfortable right now.
"I feel like I am playing the best that I can play right now. I feel confident in the way that I am playing and more used to the offense."
At the midpoint of spring practice, the young quarterback feels he can win the starting job.
"That's what I came here to do," said Barkley.
Smith the Starter?
Sophomore Tyron Smith has been on of the Trojans' most impressive performers this spring, and the young lineman has looked just too good to keep off the field.
Earlier this spring, Smith was moved to right tackle and the move has been a big success.
"Tyron (Smith) has really taken over at the right tackle spot," Carroll said. "That was a great thought by Pat (Ruel) and the offensive coaches to give him a shot at it.
"He has not looked back at all and has been very solid there. That looks like a good move for us."
Smith has worked with the first team offensive line this past week, and after Thursday's practice Pete Carroll said he is on track to become the starting right tackle.
"He's ahead right now," Carroll said. "He's going with the first team."
Senior linebacker Luthur Brown didn't practice on Thursday after injuring his shoulder during Tuesday's practice.
"He strained his shoulder on a tackle that he made the other day," Pete Carroll said. "It's the same shoulder that he had hurt before so they are going to be real careful with him."
Carroll expects Brown to be sidelined for the rest of spring practice.
"I don't think he's going to be able to go for the rest of the spring," Carroll said.
The shoulder injury is another tough break for Brown, who has been plagued by injuries his entire career at USC.
"It's been so hard on Luthur," Carroll said. "He has had such a rough go."
Brown, who has the versatility to play all three linebacker spots, came into spring healthy and was hoping to compete for a starting spot, but will once again have to watch all the action.
"He really could be contributing too. He's a really good player," Carroll said. "We know enough about him to know that he is a really good player and could be a big factor, helping this football team.
"He's as good as any of the guys that we have had here. He just hasn't been able to maintain any consistency at all."
News and Notes
- Tight end Anthony McCoy returned to action.
- Damian Williams, Jordan Cameron and Travon Patterson all had long touchdown receptions on passes from Matt Barkley.
Barkley had his best performance of the spring on Thursday. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)
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