Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Barkley and Lee quickly resolve issue
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee had a brief argument near the end of the third quarter of Saturday's game against Hawaii, which primarily consisted of Barkley animatedly gesturing and yelling at his star receiver following an apparent on-field miscommunication.
Barkley threw incomplete on first down in Hawaii territory when Lee ran the wrong route based on an incorrect interpretation of the coverage. When he came back to the huddle, Barkley lit into him some. The USC Trojans ran one more play before play paused for the final quarter break.
Then, just like that, it was over. Barkley and Lee discussed the issue on the sideline during the break, figured out the source of the problem and were back at it in a few minutes -- or "five seconds," according to Barkley.
It clearly didn't cut into Lee's 10 total catches and 197 receiving yards much, either.
"If I get on him he knows what I’m saying," Barkley said of Lee. "He won’t start pouting about it. So we’re good."
Barkley has not typically been very demonstrative on the field in his three-plus years at USC. The most memorable flare-up from him to date has been his digging-into of Marc Tyler after a fumble near the end of the Oregon game last season, but Saturday's moment might have been No. 2.
He didn't regret his actions when asked about them Tuesday.
"I don’t think you can be emotionally fragile on the field," Barkley said. "I know he isn’t, and I’m the last person to be."
For his part, Lee didn't realize his mistake until he spoke with Barkley, which serves as evidence enough that Barkley was right to speak with the receiver.
"At the time, I didn't know what I had on the play -- I was kinda confused," Lee said. "Then Matt got upset a little bit and talked to me and after that we were OK.
"It's this thing where you're a team and you know you're gonna make mistakes, so you gotta let it go and move on."
The Trojans did move on, scoring five plays later. But Lee wasn't targeted again on the drive, in favor of Soma Vainuku, Robert Woods and Randall Telfer.
Told Tuesday that the TV announcers took him to task for gesturing to Barkley to throw the ball higher on an earlier dropped pass, Lee seemed genuinely apologetic.
"Now that the announcers talked about it, I guess I won't do it," he said. "But it was no disrespect. Matt knows it was no disrespect. ... I guess I'll just keep it to myself."
He added that he should have been able to catch the ball anyway.