Talkin' Football with Matt Barkley

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has had a busy offseason that included a coaching change, wrist surgery and helping with recruiting. In this exclusive interview the Trojans' signal-caller discusses the new coaching staff, what he learned from his freshman season and much more. Look inside for the details.

Q: First off, what exactly was your wrist injury and how is your wrist doing now?

Barkley: I don't know exactly what it was but there was some inflammation that was bothering me. It really flared up after the season ended, so I just cleaned it up and got it fixed up. I am already back at it so I am happy with the results of it. I'll be 100 percent for spring.

Q: Look back on the 2009 season; you had some very good moments and also some disappointments. How much did you learn from the overall experience and what was the biggest lesson that you that you took away from your freshman year?

Barkley: A lot of things with just how to approach the game and how to play it that were different from high school. A couple of things like checking the ball down and throwing the ball away were just two things that I really noticed, especially while watching the Super Bowl. That just made it so evident that I need to work on it this year. Those are two things that I really learned.

Q: The 2010 recruiting class is filled with explosive playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. How excited are you to work with those guys?

Barkley: I'm stoked. It's a great group of guys and I already have two here (Kyle Prater and Dillon Baxter). Our receiving corps is going to be one of the best in the nation. We just have to get them all on the same page. We could have all of the athletes in the world, but if we aren't on the same page with the same thought, going together as a team, then it isn't going to mean anything. I think they will definitely be able to do that and we will try to get them to believe in us and the program. It won't be hard to do that.

Q: Like you said, Dillon Baxter and Kyle Prater are already on campus working out with you guys. What has been your impression of those guys so far?

Barkley: I like them. I like their attitudes and how they are willing to work and get the offense down already. Both of them want to play, and they obviously have little things to work on, but coming in as freshmen they're not too bad.

Q: The departure of Coach Carroll was unexpected. What was your reaction to the news?

Barkley: I was shocked just like everybody else. I didn't see it coming. I didn't see it coming but realized whoever that they were going to bring in was going to be for the better.

Q: What are your thoughts on the new staff so far?

Barkley: I love them. They are different in a lot of ways but the philosophy is pretty much the same like Coach Carroll preached. We are getting back to the winning tradition of getting the mindset that we aren't going to lose. I think that is important and something that they have emphasized since the beginning.

Q: What specific areas of your game do you think you need to work on to take your play to the next level in 2010?

Barkley: Like I said earlier, throwing the ball away and checking it down are two things that I really, really want to improve on. I think that will improve my game as a whole, just with those two things.

Q: With the loss of Damian Williams and Anthony McCoy among others, which players do you think are ready to step up and emerge on the offensive side of the ball?

Barkley: I think Ronald Johnson. After his injury this past year he was kind of bummed that it kind of halted his year. He has come out and is working harder than ever. I think his speed, his determination and hands will take us far. That whole receiving corps is going to be competition across the board and there is so much depth. I think Allen and C.J. will step up as well as guys that will carry our running game.


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