Barkley and Farmer roommates

Freshman receiver George Farmer kept his roommate up late while writing a paper on Wednesday night, the first day of fall camp for the Trojans.

Then he caught a few passes from him on Thursday.

Farmer and USC quarterback Matt Barkley are roommates on campus at USC while the Trojans are in camp mode the next three weeks, before the fall semester starts Aug. 22. Rooming a junior and a freshman who play different positions together isn't a normal practice, but it makes sense when you consider that the Trojans don't have a clear No. 2 receiver and they might need Farmer to pick up the offense quickly to play right away.

Barkley said they already spent some time going over the playbook Wednesday. And, other than the light Farmer kept on while working that forced Barkley to fidget around in bed to find a way to fall asleep, the roommate situation is working out well is so far.

"It's good," Barkley said. "He doesn't snore.

"I like that I'm rooming with him -- I can teach him the right way."

Farmer didn't break any big plays during practice Thursday -- redshirt sophomore De'Von Flournoy did a lot of that in somewhat of a surprise. But his routes were consistently crisp when he was going against cornerback Isiah Wiley during one-on-one drills.

"He didn't get a whole lot of opportunities," coach Lane Kiffin said. "But he looked extremely explosive -- strong and physical, with good hands. Looked like physically everything that he's supposed to be."

Farmer, listed at 6-1 and 205 pounds, is one of a few candidates to start across from sophomore Robert Woods, with senior Brandon Carswell, junior Brice Butler and redshirt freshman Kyle Prater also possibilities. The other trio all have advantages over him in terms of experience, but the same could be said for the then-freshman Woods a year ago, and he ended up beating all comers and seizing the No. 2 job.

Woods was seen with the playbook constantly, even at mealtimes and while walking around campus. By September, a month after he first dug into it, he was already up to speed. Farmer and Woods were high school teammates at Gardena Serra, a fact not lost on their quarterback.

"He's like Robert," Barkley said of Farmer. "All those Serra guys, I guess, are trained the same way. He's trying to soak up as much as he can, asking questions.

"I try to help him the best I can."