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USC Football: Matt Barkley, Trojans Lacking Discipline This Season

Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans just have not been executing correctly, and it's submarined their national title chances. The fellows at Conquest Chronicles and Reign of Troy explain.

Ezra Shaw

What most disappointed you about the way USC played this weekend and why?

Trevor Wong, Conquest Chronicles: It's how the Trojans lost that made it almost unbearable to watch at times. There were penalties almost every other down and a turnover almost every other possession. The penalties, of course, had been talked about frequently leading up to this game, and this time, a better team took advantage. And for as many times as Arizona tried giving the game away with penalties of their own, along with numerous dropped balls, USC never capitalized.

Michael Castillo, Reign Of Troy: It has to be a lack of killer instinct. They came from 10-points down in the first quarter, to go up by two scores in second half, yet couldn't put Arizona away. It's has to do with the way that USC rolled over when they faced adversity and completely abandoned the game play of attacking with Marqise Lee.

The Trojans had a lot of trouble against Stanford and the criticisms were that they were frazzled and couldn't answer the bell when they got hit the mouth. Yet, a month later and while theoretically more experienced, they couldn't stop a 26-0 run. They let a team that had trouble finishing games take to the Trojans and it was yet another second half failure for SC, which all comes down to coaching.

USC has an incredible amount of talent, but if they keep failing to make second half adjustments, they could wind up losing five to six games this season.

Josh Webb, Reign Of Troy: The biggest disappointment this weekend, by far, was the lack of discipline shown by the Trojans. Not just with penalties, but with missed assignments and personal responsibilities. Blown coverage, missed blocks, poor mental decisions, and forcing the issues did the Trojans in this weekend.

Additionally, Barkley's decision-making this year hasn't been the subject of that much scrutiny due to the injuries to the offensive line, most notably Khaled Holmes. That needs to change.

Despite the fact that USC's offensive line has had issues this year, most of Barkley's interceptions have been his fault. Barkley has a tendency to hesitate on throws and windows close on him before he's made a decision. This forces him off the intended look and to his alternate reads and lower percentage throws.

Additionally, Barkley has shown a tendency to look-in his receivers and this has allowed defensive backs to anticipate his throws. These aren't problems that Barkley should be having in his senior year and they are putting more pressure on the defense to come through in tight situations. All of this comes back around to discipline. Barkley should have the discipline to trust his instincts instead of hesitating on his reads. Similarly, Leonard Williams should have the discipline to refrain from committing multiple personal foul penalties in the game. If the Trojans don't develop some discipline before Saturday, Arizona is going to look like a walk in the park compared to the long night Oregon can put them through.