Wednesday Practice: Opportunity Knocks

Pete Carroll has coached some pretty talented quarterbacks in time at USC, so when he says that Matt Barkley is "off the charts" people sit up and take notice. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Wednesday's practice.

Barkley's ‘Off the Charts'

Pete Carroll has coached some pretty talented quarterbacks in time at USC, so when he says that Matt Barkley is "off the charts" people sit up and take notice.

Carroll said exactly that and more when asked about the talented freshman that will work with the first-team offense while Aaron Corp is sidelined.

Typically, freshman quarterbacks have been known to struggle with their transition to the college game, so Carroll was asked how Barkley is different from the mold.

Carroll responded by referring to Malcolm Gladwell's popular book Outliers

"(Gladwell) talks about guys that through their development and upbringing, at times they can accelerate past other people because of the amount of time, and the quality makeup around them, the support group and all that," Carroll said. "Whatever it is, he's (Barkley) off the charts."

Carroll said that Barkley is well ahead in his development as Matt Leinart, Matt Cassel, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez were at the same point.

"This is not the same process," Carroll said. "We are way ahead."

Matt Leinart won a Heisman and two national championships, Mark Sanchez and John David Booty both led the Trojans to Rose Bowl wins, but none of those players were serious contenders for the starting spot as freshmen.

"We have seen a lot of great players just struggle for a couple of years and not be ready to go," Carroll said. "He's not in that mode. He's in a different mode.

"I remember first commenting really seriously about five days into spring practice that geez he's continuing to handle things and get better. When is going to stop? It hasn't.

If Matt is able to work his way to the No.1 spot and hold onto to that, we have an unusually gifted guy."

Corp Staying Positive

It seemed as if the quarterback competition between Aaron Corp and Matt Barkley was getting closer and closer with each practice this fall.

Barkley, the strong-armed quarterback from Mater Dei looked to be gaining ground each day, and now the competition has been turned upside down with the news that Corp will be sidelined for 1-3 weeks because of a crack on the head of his left fibula.

"It was scary. I got rolled up on and heard pops, which that was probably the break," Corp said of the injury. "I have never had that happen before so initially I got up real slow, real wide eyed, but when they did the on-field test my ligaments were fine, so I am blessed right now."

While Corp was fortunate to not have any ligament damage his injury could force him to miss up to three weeks of valuable practice time.

"Five days is looking pretty good," Corp said. "Three weeks is probably the worst-case scenario. A lot of it is just how I feel and hopefully it doesn't take three weeks."

The injury to Corp certainly leaves open the possibility that Barkley could be named the starter for the season opener against San Jose State.

"I didn't think of it in terms of that. I thought of that as, I have to miss some practice," Corp said. "Matt does have an opportunity but I didn't think of it in terms of that."

Corp will be limited from the physical side of the game but plans to do plenty of film study to stay mentally sharp.

"That's my job. Right now everything is film study and rehab, and I can still throw so my arm can stay in shape," he said. "The main thing is getting better in the meeting room and getting better that way.

"A lot of it is mental now."

The redshirt sophomore signal caller remained optimistic despite the tough situation.

"It will be a little bit of a challenge," Corp said. "But at the same time this is an opportunity for me to get into the film room and do some extra studying and see the game from a mental perspective, which could help me out in the end."

News and Notes

- Jarvis Jones (headache), Marquis Simmons (hamstring), Shareece Wright (knee), Torin Harris (hamstring) and Justin Hart were among the players that didn't participate in practice on Wednesday.

- Defensive tackle Averell Spicer was helped off the practice field after suffering an ankle sprain.

- The injury to Spicer gives JUCO transfer Hebron Fangupo an opportunity to work with the first-team defense, something Carroll is excited to see.

"He's a very powerful guy and he's got good movement," Carroll said of Fangupo. "He's as potentially good as anybody we have had play the three technique spot. It's just a matter of time. He's going to be a factor for us."

- Incoming freshman Patrick Hall was on campus today. Pete Carroll said that Patrick Hall has finished all of his school work and all the necessary paperwork and transcripts are being put together at the eligibility center. Hall was expected to get a physical today and could start practicing soon.

"We are counting on him making it," Carroll said. "We think everything is in order."

- After Wednesday's practice Pete Carroll said that linebacker Luthur Brown had "gotten the grades that he needed to get done." Nothing is official yet because the grades needed to be posted but Brown could rejoin the team and give the Trojans some much needed depth at linebacker.

"We really need his experience out here," Carroll said. "It will be a big boost to us."

- 2011 defensive lineman Greg Townsend Jr. from Beverly Hills High School was in attendance , Townsend was one of the top defensive linemen that camped at USC this summer.

- The defensive line had a big day during the first day in full pads. Armond Armstead set the tone by stuffing Joe McKnight for a loss during the run period. Hebron Fangupo, Everson Griffen, Wes Horton and Averell Spicer all added quarterback sacks. Defensive back Josh Pinkard and linebacker Mike Morgan also recorded quarterback sacks.

- Cornerback Kevin Thomas delivered the hit of the day on tight end Blake Ayles. Ayles caught a short pass and tried to turn up field but Thomas lowered his shoulder and leveled Ayles.

- Tailback Curtis McNeal, who has been a bit quiet this fall, had one of his better performances today. McNeal scored a 6-yard scamper during 11-on-11.

- Fullback D.J. Shoemate pulled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley during 7-on-7 drills. Barkley hit Joe McKnight for a 45-yard gain on the previous play.

- The Trojans practice at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday.


USC starting QB Aaron Corp is out for 1-3 weeks.


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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com



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