Hawaii-Southern Cal Preview
Matt Barkley and Southern California are ready to take care of
With Barkley back for his senior year and the top-ranked Trojans
eligible for the postseason again after a two-year ban, USC starts
a season of high expectations Saturday night at home against Norm
With USC ineligible for bowls the last two years due to NCAA
sanctions, Barkley wasn’t expected to be around once the Trojans
could again qualify for a postseason berth. He likely would have
been a top-five pick in the NFL draft in April, but he opted to
stay in school and will be among the early favorites for the
“I think it’s clear my love for USC and how much I love this
school and everything about it, and I wasn’t going to give it up
just for two games that we couldn’t play in,” said Barkley, who
guided USC to a 10-2 mark in 2011.
USC printed up shirts with the words “Unfinished Business” over
pictures of Barkley and T.J. McDonald, a safety who also returned
for his senior season. It’s clear that the Trojans’ leaders are
eager to compete for a national title.
“The unfinished business, that thought and that ideology is
really just one game at a time and to finish those games,” Barkley
said. “You see so much about finishing, and when you’re four years
at college, that concept of finishing, I want to end that on a good
Barkley was third in the nation last year with 39 touchdown
passes, two more than top overall draft pick Andrew Luck of
Stanford for the highest total in the Pac-12. The Trojans’
star-studded passing game features dynamic receivers in Robert
Woods and Marqise Lee, a duo that had 26 TD receptions in 2011.
Coach Lane Kiffin was concerned about his lack of depth at
running back before his program was able to take advantage of the
scandal at Penn State to obtain the services of Silas Redd, fourth
in the Big Ten with 1,241 yards rushing last year. Redd joins a
ground attack that includes Curtis McNeal, who ran for 1,005 yards
Seven defensive starters return, although three of the lost
starters are on the line.
“There’s going to be a lot of guys that have no experience
playing in our defensive line,” Kiffin said. “So the only way you
get game experience is the games.”
Standing on the opposite sideline will be a familiar face to USC
fans in Chow, who will make his head coaching debut. Chow served as
the Trojans’ offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll from 2001-04,
with Kiffin also on the staff.
“No one has more respect and admiration for the University of
Southern California football program than I do,” Chow said. “I was
fortunate to have coached there, great people, great coaches from
Mike Garrett to Pat Haden to Lane and all the coaches, I worked
with some of them. Two of my kids graduated from that school. But
you know what? It’s not about them, it’s not about them at
Since leaving USC, Chow has run into Kiffin each of the last
five years. Chow was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee
Titans when they beat Kiffin’s Oakland Raiders in a regular-season
game in 2007 and a preseason game the next year.
Chow was UCLA’s offensive coordinator when the Bruins beat
Kiffin and Tennessee in 2009 and lost to Kiffin’s Trojans the next
year. In 2011, Chow served in the same role with Utah and his team
lost to USC.
“We’ve played him so many times,” Kiffin said. “My dad’s
(assistant head coach Monte Kiffin) played him at Tampa, we played
him at the Raiders and we played him at Tennessee and we played him
at two different programs here at UCLA and Utah. It’s kind of crazy
how many times we’ve played him.”
Chow inherits a team that went 6-7 and is picked to finish
seventh in its first season in the 10-team Mountain West
Conference. He has announced that Duke transfer Sean Schroeder will
be his starting quarterback.
Kiffin said this week that he is not familiar with the
left-handed Schroeder. The coach doesn’t seem too worried about the
Warriors, who are 0-7 all-time against the Trojans.
“This will be about us in this game, most openers are,” Kiffin