Carroll Taps Barkley As Starter
Aug. 27, 2009
Set to make history as the first true freshman quarterback to start a USC opener, Barkley earned the job following an impressive spring and fall after enrolling at the university a semester early. Still 18 and just months removed from high school, Barkley won the job over Aaron Corp.
"It's clear to us as a staff that Matt Barkley is ready to be the starting quarterback at USC," Carroll said. "He has exceeded all our expectations. He has all the physical ability, he has the mentality and temperament to handle the position, his personality is very well received by all the players and he's extremely talented.
"At this point, he's ready to be the guy for us."
Barkley will take the reins of the Trojan offense for Saturday's mock game at the Coliseum in anticipation of next week's season opener against San Jose State.
"We'll utilize this weekend to have Matt learn what it's like to go through preparations as the starter," Carroll said. "For our ability to perform at our very best next week, it helps us to express it now instead of game week."
After a spring rife with competition, Corp, who was named the starter in April, was temporarily knocked out of the heated battle at the onset of fall training camp, when he cracked the head of his left fibula on Aug. 10 and sat out of full-speed work for two weeks. Wearing a knee brace, he returned to practice Tuesday but will have a limited role in Saturday's end-of-camp scrimmage.
"Aaron has done a marvelous job of getting back from his injury," Carroll said. "By next Saturday, we'd expect him to be ready to play if needed, but he's not ready yet. The competition will continue at this position, but at this point, Barkley is our starting quarterback."
Though the competition, as always, will remain open, Carroll stressed that tapping Barkley as the No. 1 quarterback is not a temporary decision.
"He's the starting quarterback at USC -- it's not a one-game deal," Carroll said. "He seized the opportunity that was in front of him and took control. He deserves all the credit in the world and we expect nothing but great things from him."