It hasn’t been the year that Matt Barkley had hoped for when he passed on the NFL draft around this time in 2012. His senior year was cut short by a shoulder injury and USC came up way short in its expectations. That said, Barkley is still an intriguing prospect and all eyes will be on his upcoming pro day.
The quarterback, who does an interesting interview here that’s mostly conducted by San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, says his arm will be stronger than it was before the injury. We’ll see.
Matt Barkley joined The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Philip Rivers and Nick Hardwick to discuss how his rehab is going, what he’s focused on getting better at, if the combine and pro day process has been stressful, the interview process at the combine, his upcoming pro day and his leadership style.
How is your rehab coming?:
“It’s been a long, patient journey, but I’ve had some time to recover now and I’ve been throwing quite some time at this point, to where I’ve been throwing this week [with] great velocity, great trajectory. It’s starting to feel back to normal. No doubt, by the time pro day comes around, it’ll be better than it was before. I think I’ll have a stronger arm than I did.”
You’re down at an academy in Florida. What are you working on?:
“I think everything starts with your feet as a quarterback. Doing a lot of footwork stuff. Chris Weinke is the quarterback coach down here and I think he’s done a great job pointing out little things, being critical of technique. So really, I’ve been focusing on my feet. … Then they focus on so much down here in terms of the speed and training aspect of the weight room and lifting that I’ve been focusing on a lot of things off the football field.”
Are you enjoying this time period or is it just really stressful?:
“I haven’t really found any of this to be stressful at all. I think you really only get anxious and nervous when you’re unprepared or you don’t trust in your future. Yeah, there are some unknowns — what’s going to happen, where I’m going to end up — but I’ve really just savored this whole process just in terms of the interviews and rehab, knowing that I’ll end up where I need to be.”
Did you have any weird or interesting interviews during the combine?:
“I didn’t really have any crazy stories. I think people just wanted to get to know me. I think they knew that I didn’t really have any red flags or serious issues that would come up. … Obviously the question of last season came up, so they all ripped me on that, the differences between my senior and junior year.”
And shifting gears to the upcoming pro day?:
“We’re just starting to. A couple weeks ago I was all focused on the combine, and now it is that pro day phase. We’re just getting into the scheduling and rehearsing of that. … I have Robert Woods coming out as a receiver. … And then I’m bringing back some old SC players that are free agents right now. … I’ve got a good group, a good stable of receivers who I know and played with.”
How would you describe your leadership style?:
“I’ve kind of learned to lead differently. I think, naturally, I’m a leader by example, a guy who will get there early and do things right and guys will see that. … But I’ve learned to be a vocal leader, get in the guy’s face if you have to, fire them up. … At the same time, you’ve got to know when to take a guy off to the side and talk to them one-on-one because that’s how they learn best.”