University of Southern California QB Matt Barkley left late in Saturday night’s loss at the Rose Bowl to the UCLA Bruins in a sling, and while early reports indicated a separated shoulder, no word on the extent of the injury is for certain, or has been confirmed.
More often than not, anytime an injury of this capacity occurs, the player is ruled out for several weeks, but with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish – and their potentially perfect season – knocking on the door of the Coliseum next Saturday, fans are demanding answers.
In a highly publicized press conference last year, several weeks following the Trojans’ dismantle of UCLA, 50-0 at home, Barkley announced that he was staying for another season, citing that USC had “Unfinished Business” – a campaign slogan used to market the team this offseason, but with minimal results.
Per usual, USC head coach Lane Kiffin is maintaining silence when it comes to delivering Trojan injury reports, although he made sure to specify to media that he was, in fact, returning to USC next season.
This news is baffling, as his father, Assistant Coach, Monte Kiffin assumed full responsibility for the defensive issues that have plagued the Trojans this season, but Athletic Director Pat Haden has yet to part ways. While fans petitioned Haden throughout Saturday’s game, no immediate decisions were made following the loss.
Lane Kiffin inherited Barkley who was recruited by former head coach Pete Carroll, and was the glue that held USC together during a dark, and tumultuous time. The most identifiable trend throughout the college landscape during today’s hangover is that Barkley’s passion for SC will cost him exponentially come April’s NFL Draft.
He was once a projected No.1 pick, then a Top 20. Now he’s projected to lose millions, and credibility due to play calling that handicapped his abilities, and possibly a first round slot. It is very apparent that Barkley extended himself farther than Kiffin was willing to return.
There are zero excuses for the turn of events regarding play against UCLA. The Bruins were good; they were better than USC. There are also zero excuses for Haden and the athletic department to be so unwilling to take drastic measures following a blown season hand delivered on a silver platter, and a fan base that gets nowhere when they demand answers.
Fans are starting to get unhinged at the thought that a once top National Championship contender is being reduced to the Maaco Bowl, and if reassurance isn’t established with personnel changes, this downward slope might cost USC more losses come National Signing Day in February.