Quarterback Matt Barkley said Tuesday his comments last week about Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict, in which he called the Sun Devils linebacker a "dirty player," were taken out of context.
The comments clearly had an effect on the Trojans' 43-22 loss Saturday. Burfict, in particular, appeared even more motivated than normal. On USC's first series of the game he went up to the line of scrimmage during a snap count and got in Barkley's face, and his superb second-quarter interception was followed by him hugging Barkley, a move that appeared genius and disingenuous at the same time.
ASU coach Dennis Erickson went so far as to call out Barkley after the game, too.
"If you are going to say something, you better watch what you say," Erickson said. "That is kind of what happened."
Tuesday, Barkley praised Burfict's play and said the comments did not properly display what he meant to say about him. He didn't deny he said Burfict was "dirty" or rescind that comment, but, rather, implied that someone can be both dirty and great at the same time.
“Of course everyone blew it up, but what you didn’t hear is that it was coming from a place of respect for Vontaze," Barkley said. "I’ve played with him for so long. I know him as a player and a person and think he is a wonderful player, which is what I said. He played a great game.
"It doesn’t change what I said about him -- I think it’s still true -- but you’ve got to be careful because people twist your words and do whatever they want with them.”