LOS ANGELES -- USC athletic director Pat Haden said Wednesday that he regrets not starting a school-supported campaign for quarterback Matt Barkley's Heisman candidacy sooner.
"There's buzz now, but he's been playing great for a good month," Haden told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "He's been playing sensationally and he's clearly done his part, so I wish I would have initiated it earlier, thought about pushing it earlier.
"But it is what it is, and he's getting some good traction and he's certainly worthy of consideration. It's up to him to play great Saturday night."
Haden said there wasn't much of a thought to create some buzz after Barkley led USC to an upset win on the road at Notre Dame last month, as some fans clamored for. But after the win over Oregon last weekend, Haden met with USC coach Lane Kiffin and the school's head sports information director to discuss starting up a campaign.
"Generally, we try to let guys win it on the field, but we probably should have done something more for him," Haden said. "We just owe it to him as a kid, too.
"We're hopeful Matt's going to have a great shot."
Barkley, a junior who is considered a likely top pick in the 2012 NFL draft if he chooses to declare early, has thrown for 3,105 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season with a 67.6 completion percentage. He'd be in position to break all of USC's career passing records if he came back for his senior season.
Haden added Wednesday that the campaign would be a "little different" if the Trojans knew Barkley was returning in 2012.