August 22, 2009

Practice Insider: Defense dominates

USC head coach Pete Carroll said he wanted to make things tough on freshman quarterback Matt Barkley and the Trojan offense in scrimmage situations.

After the third scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, Barkley has to feel like he's playing NCAA Football '10 on Heisman difficulty.

Windows for passing closed as soon as they opened, and the result wasn't too pretty.

Barkley and the USC offense managed to score zero points Saturday, with the only score coming on a safety.

While Barkley's struggles weren't as obvious as they were in USC's last scrimmage, he never was able to move the ball on a consistent basis - largely because no one was really all that open.

"We felt like we could run the ball a little bit and weren't worried about that. We tried to get the throwing game going a little bit, but they kept covering us," Carroll said. "The secondary is really good. They make it really hard. There aren't any guys open. So you better win on your one-on-ones, and the ball's gotta be just right. I think that's two weeks of proving that. It is what (one of) our strengths should have been, and I think it looks like one."

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