In a column on SI.com, NFL writer Peter King spends some paragraphs breaking down what happened to USC quarterback Matt Barkley last season, after King talked to scouts. And according to one, Barkley was a "victim of poor coaching and a deficient offensive line last year."
It goes to show that sometimes watching film and common sense mesh up very well.
College players don't generally go from being great as juniors to disappointing as seniors. Sometimes it happens because of great teammates graduating, and perhaps we underestimated the loss of left tackle Matt Kalil when it came to Barkley. But he still had a fantastic crew of receivers led by the great Marqise Lee. Sometimes odd regression happens because of injuries, but Barkley was struggling way before he hurt his shoulder against UCLA.
So we're left with the offensive line, which was a problem of course. And the coaching. Based on the way USC imploded in every single possible way last season, that seems as good of a reason as any.
King's story talked about other reasons, most notably that Barkley didn't have the same fastball last year, but that hardly seemed the case on many of his throws. He had many of the same tools, he just made way too many mistakes as the team imploded around him.
Barkley can rebound, especially under the right coaching staff. He can't do anything about a terrible senior season, but he can still be a good NFL player. We've all seen that talent level from him in the past.
Now it's just that NFL scouts can see what everyone who watches college football already knew. USC's staff needs to do a little bit better job.
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