As the Trojans prepare for Saturday's matchup with the Washington State Cougars, the quarterback situation is still up in the air, but Pete Carroll is hopeful that Matt Barkley will be able to return as the starter.
"We are going to try and do it really right and see if we can get him ready and prepared," Carroll said. "In the meantime, Aaron (Corp) is doing his stuff and getting ready."
Barkley practiced on Tuesday and worked with the first-team offense during the service team period and 7-on-7 drills, before taking the rest of practice off to ice his shoulder.
"We tried to manage it, so we cut it off after he got through the service period and he had a lot of throws today," Carroll said. "We don't want to overdo it. The most difficult challenge right now is to manage this really well."
The coaches will limit Barkley's throws this week to alleviate the pain and tightness in his shoulder, but he will get plenty of work in the service period, to keep him mentally sharp and on top of the offensive game plan.
"The most important period of the day is the service team period for him and he took the majority of that," Carroll said. "That's the game plan stuff. The other work is good and important but that's the stuff that gets him ready for the game."
While Carroll was cautiously optimistic, Barkley came right out and insisted that he would be ready to play this weekend.
"Oh I'm playing, no matter what," Barkley said. "I don't care if it hurts or not, I will be in there."
Barkley said he still experiences a good deal of pain when he releases the ball but would play through pain if it persists.
"There is pain but it's just when I am releasing it and when I really try to whip it," Barkley said. "If I am the same today as on Saturday, I will just make it work."
Even with the pain, Barkley isn't in any danger of further aggravating the bone bruise.
"They just said it could tighten up but the actual contusion can't get worse," he said. "I couldn't hurt it anymore."
"I would like to get back out there and get a win under my belt. Coming off of that field was not a good feeling and I don't want that to be my only feeling as a starter," Corp said. "I definitely want to get back out there and prove that I am capable and this team is the real deal."
After passing for just 110 yards in his first career start, Corp said he watched the film, learned from his struggles and is ready to move forward.
"I wasn't happy but I am moving on, this team is moving on and we will be ready to go this week," he said.
Corp's play has been dissected and debated by football fans across the country, but when asked about all the criticism, the USC signal caller remained upbeat.
"There's criticism?" Corp joked. "I haven't really paid attention to that. What really matters is what is being said within the team."
Carroll said he is in no hurry to make a decision on the starter.
"I don't think I have any choice at this point. I don't know which way to go yet. Like I said, I like Barkley to get back in there and get back to playing again," he said. We will just have to wait to be sure.
"They are both in the right mindset and both working to get right."
Mays Still Limited
Pete Carroll planned to have Taylor Mays back at practice on Tuesday, but the All-American safety remained limited with a sprained right knee and was only able to work with the training staff.
"I was hoping that he would be ready today. I wished he would have been able to do more than that," Carroll said. "We are still restricting him. But that doesn't mean that he won't make it."
With Mays still limited, it appears that a decision on his availability could still be days away.
"They ran him real well. He got up to full-speed straight ahead and they just want to take another day before he does all of his lateral stuff," Carroll said. "I don't think that's a great sign."
Taylor Mays was still limited on Tuesday.
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