Corp vs. Barkley and more from USC scrimmage

April, 20, 2009
4/20/09
11:08
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

With five days until its "Trojan Huddle" spring game, it's a good bet that Aaron Corp will emerge from USC's spring practices as the No. 1 quarterback.

But it's becoming more apparent with each passing practice that recruiting gurus were right about Matt Barkley: He's special.

Still, the LA Times called Corp's effort in Saturday's scrimmage his "best all-around performance of the spring."

Corp completed 13 of 18 passes for 170 yards and rushed for 33 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown pass but he threw downfield a number of times and led three scoring drives.

And particularly noteworthy: Corp has yet to throw an interception the entire spring. This seems to be the most important detail at this point of the competition, according to the LA Daily News:

If there is a difference between the two quarterbacks, Barkley has thrown an interception in each of the three scrimmages. USC coach Pete Carroll referred to it as a "bone-head pick that we threw."

On the plus side for the true freshman, Barkley came back and played well afterwards, showing an ability to shake off an error.

Beyond the quarterbacks, there were some other noteworthy nuggets.

  • Before the Rose Bowl, the Pac-10 blog asked a Trojans beat reporter, "Who's that stumpy running back?" It was Curtis McNeal, a redshirt freshman who continues to make a case that he'll need touches next fall. McNeal (10 carries, 62 yards) and Marc Tyler (9 for 49) have taken advantage of injuries at that notoriously deep position to showcase their talents.
  • Defensive end Everson Griffen and tackle Averell Spicer are playing their way out of the doghouse. Griffen has 3.5 sacks in Saturday's scrimmage, which caused coach Pete Carroll to note that no one could block him. A focused and driven Griffen might be the best pass-rusher in the nation. Spicer, meanwhile, was last seen nationally getting flagged for critical personal fouls on consecutive plays in the Trojans' loss to Oregon State last fall. He had 1.5 sacks in the scrimmage and appears to have played his way back onto the first-team defense.
  • What might be motivating both Griffen and Spicer is a lot of young and hungry talent on the defensive line. Malik Jackson, who returned a Barkley interception on a screen pass for a 42-yard touchdown, is pushing Griffen, which is only a good thing.

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