Matt Barkley didn't call out Lane Kiffin by name in his most telling comments to Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver, but he didn't really need to either.
We've mentioned often here how much of a debacle USC's 2012 season was. Not only were the Trojans bad on the field, they embarrassed themselves off the field in some spectacular ways. And we've also pointed how much that falls back on Kiffin.
In Silver's examination of Barkley and his fluctuating draft stock since a disappointing season, Barkley has a quote that paints a pretty clear picture of dysfunction at USC:
"I could've had a bigger voice, given more input and taken it to the next level — pretty much as the owner of the company might … not just letting things happen," Barkley said.
"You put faith in your coaches, but when you see trends, things not happening the right way, and when the team rests on your shoulders, it's almost like you have to step up. You can't just let these things go by and watch them disintegrate in front of you. You've got to put the glue in somewhere. Looking back, I wish I'd been more forceful."
Wow. Just cut the quote down to "You put faith in your coaches, but when you see trends, things not happening the right way," and that says plenty.
All teams have leaders in the locker room, of course. But when the star quarterback portrays a situation in which things are disintegrating and he regrets not being the one to hold them together (presumably because the guy being paid millions to coach the team wasn't doing that well enough ... or at all), that's not normal.
Barkley also thought the play-calling got predictable, with USC trying to force the ball to receiver Marqise Lee.
"Kiff kind of suited the play-calling toward Marqise," Barkley said. "It was rough at times, because defenses kinda knew what was coming. It was sort of predictive. Robert Woods is a great player. … You want to be respectful of your coaches, because they are your elders, but when it falls on your shoulders, you probably should get involved."
There have been stories that Kiffin is changing some things this spring. By all accounts, including Barkley's comments, it's obvious that the changes better be pretty dramatic if USC is going to be any better this season.