Matt Barkley Has No Regrets About His Decision to Return to USC

January 17, 2013 – 11:30 am by Chris Fedor

USC quarterback Matt Barkley surprised a lot of people last year with his decision to return to Southern Cal as opposed to entering the NFL Draft. He made the decision for all the right reasons. Barkley returned because he wanted the opportunity to play for a National Championship or at the very least a bowl game. He accomplished neither of those things. Even though Barkley had some positive moments and his senior year was probably a great learning experience on how to deal with adversity, Barkley’s season was a disappointment. It ended early with a shoulder injury against UCLA, the Trojans won just seven games and by the time the Heisman Trophy was handed out, Barkley was an afterthough. His focus will now shift to the NFL Draft where he will have to prove to teams in the NFL that he is much more than a system quarterback and he is more like the signal caller teams saw his junior year as opposed to his final season in Southern Cal.

Matt Barkley joined ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd to talk about what he thought when he saw Chip Kelly’s offense, if he thinks he would be able to play in Kelly’s offense, what he makes of the story that there was an altercation between players following the loss in the Sun Bowl, if there was any chance of playing in the Sun Bowl and whether he has any regrets about going back to USC for his senior year.

What he though when he saw Chip Kelly’s offense:

“When I’m on the sideline and Oregon’s offense is on the field I’m usually making our checks and getting ready for our next possession but you do get some time to watch their offense work and it really is amazing to see how efficient they are and how quickly they run the offense and it’s really amazing how quickly they can score. If you look at the stats, I don’t know them off the top of my head but the average number of minutes their scoring drives are, it’s unbelievable. He definitely had that team conditioned and a fine oiled machine.”

Whether he thinks he could run Chip Kelly’s offense:

“I think I’m a different style of quarterback. There are players like that but I’m more of a pocket passer, pro style, west coast quarterback.”

What he makes of the story that there was an altercation between players following the loss in the Sun Bowl:

“I saw some of the reports on that and those aren’t really from people who were there and if you ask some of the guys who were there what happened, you only get those claims about people throwing punches or whatever was said, obviously in the locker room after that game which was a loss there’s going to be words exchanged and people weren’t in the best mood but that wasn’t to say we were fighting each other or there was an altercation or whatever people are saying. People were upset and I think the leadership was there. You saw the leaders step up in the locker room. T.J. McDonald, Khaled Holmes, myself, we stepped up when we had to and handled the situation in an appropriate way when others weren’t.”

If there was any chance of playing in the Sun Bowl:

“No. There was no chance. I thought there could leading up to that week but there was no question about I was holding myself out even though I could play. The doctors didn’t allow me to. My shoulder wasn’t ready. As much as I wanted to play, it wasn’t going to happen.”

Whether he thinks Lane Kiffin can bounce back as head coach at USC:

“I think so. There’s a lot going on at USC, a lot externally going on with the program and the sanctions coming off the scholarships and so it’s a hard position to be in and it’s been a difficult year but I think he can bounce back.”

If he has any regrets about returning to USC for his senior year:

“I wouldn’t say that there are any regrets about coming back at all. I made my decision and I stuck with it. Didn’t doubt myself once. I think I definitely learned a lot over this year and looking back there might have been a few things I would have done differently this year to maximize our teams effort. Definitely things I will learn that will have better prepared me for the NFL this year in how to handle adversity and to spark a team but in regards to the decision, the actual decision to come back, I haven’t regretted that once.”
If he thinks part of the problem with the USC offense was trying to force-feed the ball to Marqise Lee:

“You can always say what happened as to why certain events unfolded the way they did this. I think at times everyone is going to question play calls, my throws or whoever is running the ball but I don’t think we can pinpoint exactly why the season turned out the way it did. I spread the ball around when I could but just some things didn’t happen the way we thought they would.”

Listen to Matt Barkley on ESPN Radio here

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