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Clay Helton talks Barkley's frustration

We wrote yesterday of Matt Barkley's growing frustration as a quarterback, with the junior signal-caller singling out his teammates during Tuesday's practice and again in speaking to the media after the early-morning session.

USC's second-year quarterbacks coach Clay Helton, a former QB at Auburn and Houston, spoke after Wednesday's practice about Barkley and his on-field feelings:

[On Barkley announcing -- and showing -- his frustration Tuesday]: "I'll tell you what -- Matt's great. We've told him right now, what a great opportunity you have with the depleted resources on the offensive line, wide receiver. What a great opportunity to really be disciplined in your game and really go from, if one route's not there, to go to the next. A great example was Saturday in the scrimmage. We had a fourth-and-8 play, we called a deep-in cut that's not there, a little bit of an off-route, and he checks the ball down to D.J. Morgan and makes a first down and we continue the drive.

"Those are the type of things that we're preaching to Matt. I think Coach Kiffin's done a tremendous job in preaching that to him. I'm relaying it to him also and he's really taking it to heart. You gotta remember: Matt Barkley is one of the best competitors there is in the country, and he loves to compete and loves to win. What a great opportunity right now to be a very disciplined quarterback. It's neat to see him, in the last two scrimmages, nine touchdowns and zero picks. That's being disciplined, and that's what we're looking to continue."

[On how he assesses Barkley's 2010 season]: "I would say we progressed as a quarterback. You look at that first season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks and then you go to 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions -- essentially doubled your ratio there -- does that mean we're the best quarterback in the nation right there? No, we're still a work in progress. Do we want to be the best quarterback in the country? No question, and that's what we're working to perfect our game every day to do."