Barkley, Woods look stellar on offense

USC coach Lane Kiffin described Thursday’s practice as “uneventful,” but apparently sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods didn’t get the memo.

Dynamic duo · Junior quarterback Matt Barkley has found a new favorite target in sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods this spring. - Stephanie Guo | Daily Trojan

Woods punctuated a fine day on the field with an acrobatic leaping catch in the back corner of the end zone on a perfectly thrown fade pass by junior quarterback Matt Barkley. The Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year made plays all over the field, and involved in almost every offensive play.

“Two guys that shined on offense were Barkley and Woods,” Kiffin said. “They had great days, nothing new on that.”

Throughout the spring, Woods has remained Barkley’s favorite receiver, and if the spring is any indication, his hard work is indeed paying off.

For more evidence, look no farther than Saturday’s scrimmage, where Barkley and Woods looked in sync all day, hooking up 10 times for 65 yards.

Although Woods’ big-play ability was a hallmark of his freshman season, he has put in the time and effort trying to hone his all-around game.

Questions about who will get  the backup quarterback spot are slowly being answered by redshirt freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins.

Jesse Scroggins had another good day, continues to develop and it’s exciting to see,” Kiffin said. “[He’s] improved everything: his accuracy, decision-making and command of the huddle. He still has a long way to go with the huddle, like any freshman would, but he’s made a lot of strides.”

Scroggins is battling fellow freshman quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for the No. 2 spot behind Barkley on the depth chart.

The USC receiving corps continues to be plagued by dropped passes. The number of drops has been rising, across the entire receiving corp.

The USC offense is reliant on solid all-around receiver play, especially with the defenses expected to key on Woods after his breakout year last fall.

Sophomore tight end Christian Thomas came down with an apparent foot injury Thursday and was sent to the locker room for x-rays, but they came back negative.

With all of the injuries at linebacker, new blood was required to fill in and one person specifically caught the attention of Kiffin.

“The guy that has jumped out has been Hayes Pullard,” Kiffin mentioned. “He’s doing really well, and it’s good to see since he was banged up last year. He really didn’t show us much last year, but he had a good offseason and he looks really good out there.”

Although the coaching staff was pleased with Pullard’s play, USC has yet to find somebody to fill in for an inexperienced offensive line.

USC coach James Cregg is trying to replace three starters, including potential top-10 pick Tyron Smith.

The depth of the Trojans has been a strength in previous seasons, but has been hard-pressed because of injuries and sanctions.





1 reply
  1. Matt K.
    Matt K. says:

    Laughed out loud when I read the headline. USC Alums all over the world agree, Matt Barkley is a stellar offense in so many ways, most especially to the American value of Equality and USC value of integrity.

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