USC quarterback Matt Barkley started and finished the 2009 season as the starter under former coach Pete Carroll, but took it in stride when new coach Lane Kiffin stressed the quarterback spot would be an open competition between Barkley and last season's backup, Mitch Mustain.
He took it in stride and ran with it. Through 10 practices this spring, Barkley has taken a clear lead over Mustain — and strictly on a performance basis. The sophomore Barkley has improved multiple facets of his game as compared to last season, including mobility and decision-making. Perhaps most importantly, his interception totals are down — way down.
After Tuesday's practice, Barkley praised his performance in Saturday's scrimmage, discussed practicing without an injured Ronald Johnson, and the differences between the 2009 and 2010 seasons: