USC’s spring practice is done and football is officially over until the first week of August, so we’re going over the five biggest things we learned this spring.
We went over De’Von Flournoy‘s surprise spring on Monday, defensive back depth on Tuesday, offensive tackle struggles on Wednesday and grand-scheme defensive changes Thursday. Here's the fifth and final thing: A statistical decrease might very well be imminent for Matt Barkley.
Lane Kiffin kept saying Matt Barkley was bored this spring after his monstrous 2011 season, with all the plays the Trojans were installing already firmly ensconced in his brain and a number of his top targets out for significant portions of the sessions.
But Matt Barkley kept denying he was bored. So we'll take him for his word.
Still, could you fault the senior signal-caller if he was just a tiny bit bored with his fourth spring practice in a USC uniform?
And could that carry over this summer and early this fall? No one is saying Barkley is an unmotivated guy -- for a 21-year-old, he's accomplished an awful lot, and stands to accomplish a ton more in the next few years.
But to continue to get better at this level this year is going to be a huge challenge. He's going to have to get a little lucky, first of all, and have all of his top targets stay healthy. And he's going to have to play most of USC's games all the way into the fourth quarter -- no guarantee considering some of the likely outcomes early in the season.
So, last year, Barkley threw for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Those came in 12 games. This season, he'll have the opportunity to play in 14 games, which is by far his best chance to improve on those numbers.
But can he match that rate? It seems unlikely.
Of course, all that is secondary to the real barometer of Barkley's success in 2012: Wins. It really doesn't matter if his stats fall off some this year if the Trojans keep winning . . .
Regular coverage resumes Monday.