Barkley’s comments on USC leadership don’t speak well for Kiffin


Former USC quarterback Matt Barkley says he’s willing to put the blame on his own shoulders for the Trojans’ disappointing 2012, when they entered the season ranked No. 1 and ended the season unranked. But while accepting that blame, Barkley has made comments that don’t speak highly for USC coach Lane Kiffin, the former Raiders head coach who’s heading into his fourth season leading the Trojans.

Barkley said in an interview with Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports that he wished he would have been a better leader last year. Which raises the question of whether there was a leadership void at the top of the USC program.

“I learned how to handle adversity last season, and maybe I could have done a few things differently. I could’ve had a bigger voice, given more input and taken it to the next level — pretty much as the owner of the company might . . . not just letting things happen. You put faith in your coaches, but when you see trends, things not happening the right way, and when the team rests on your shoulders, it’s almost like you have to step up. You can’t just let these things go by and watch them disintegrate in front of you. You’ve got to put the glue in somewhere. Looking back, I wish I’d been more forceful.”

Barkley was knocked by some observers for forcing too many throws last year, but he suggested that it was Kiffin’s play calling that was forcing his hand: Barkley says Kiffin was so enamored with wide receiver Marqise Lee that Barkley wasn’t able to get the ball into the hands of the Trojans’ other starting receiver, Robert Woods.

“Kiff kind of suited the play-calling toward Marqise,” Barkley said. “It was rough at times, because defenses kinda knew what was coming. It was sort of predictive. Robert Woods is a great player. . . . You want to be respectful of your coaches, because they are your elders, but when it falls on your shoulders, you probably should get involved.”

So the Trojans’ tough season may have taught Barkley a lesson about leadership that he can apply as a pro quarterback. And the fact that the quarterback felt leadership was lacking may suggest that Al Davis was right about Kiffin.

50 responses to “Barkley’s comments on USC leadership don’t speak well for Kiffin

  1. Barkley made the mistake of looking to a con man for leadership, something con men are neither proficient at nor interested in.

  2. So he’s taking responsibility by making excuses and pointing fingers? He’s got a bright future.

  3. Get drafted first, then smacktalk Kiff. He’s probably not that respected in NFL circles, but you don’t want him trashing you right before the draft.

  4. I usually don’t want to bash people for getting jobs because of their last name, but I can’t believe an unproven Lane got all these high profile jobs(Raiders, Tennessee, USC) for any reason other than being the son of Monte. Never won more than 8 games in a season, never won a bowl game, etc.

    Would not be surprised to see him fired if this season goes badly.

  5. Cmon now Barkley, if you’re trying to get a GM to draft you higher by saying this, keep in mind they will be thinking twice now that you might publicly throw them under the bus when the players around them aren’t up to your standards.

  6. How was Al Davis right about Kiffin? He hired Kiffin! Realizing you made a mistake is not an impressive accomplishment if it should be obvious in advance. And it should have been obvious if Davis spent the time to interview him, that’s the time you get to find out everything you need to know to make the right decision!

  7. I like Woods a lot, hoping GB can snag him somehow. Productive, great route runner already. Reminds me a little of James Jones and a little of Greg Jennings.

  8. Nothing wrong with Barkley’s comments, but yeah, maybe he shoulda waited ’til after the draft to make them.

  9. Anyone can notice Kiffin and SC didn’t play things correctly last year.

    Barkley didn’t say anything about Kiffin being a bad coach, but merely the offense being run poorly, something anyone could say and Kiffin would admit.

    Was it a bad year? Yeah. Did Lane Kiffin coach them well last year? No. Did he coach them well two years ago, when they went 11-1 and beat Oregon at Oregon? Absolutely.

    Jury is still out on his ability to coach, which is why Haden kept him around.

  10. Says a lot when Al Davis, after all of his years in the game, mentioned moving the Raiders out of LA to go back to Oakland and hiring Kiffin as his two biggest regrets in life.

  11. This doesn’t affect his stock whatsoever in my opinion. It shows that he knows he could’ve been a better leader….he followed his head coach too much. At this point in time…. LK has ruined his rep in FB anyhow

  12. Please USC, keep Kiffin as long as possible. It’s high comedy watching him run a team that’s supposed to be a title contender… into the ground!

    Worst. Coach. Ever.

    Keep him around, I hate USC!

  13. Probably shouldn’t be taling bad about your coach. If you’ll do it in college then you will do it in the Pros but there aren’t any Pro Coaches that will tolerate it for long. Barkley was dropping in the draft already, now he will drop even further.

  14. Barkley could definitely be a top ten pick…in the second round.

    That being said, He may have as good a chance as any of this year’s QB class to be an NFL starter. Which says a lot more about this QB class that it does about him because there are about six with potential but none with first round certainty.

  15. Normally I don’t like players who criticize their coaches. It comes across like excuse making. But he’s just saying exactly what everyone who watched a USC game was thinking.

    Why, exactly, does Lane Kiffin keep getting job offers? He should be coaching a high school team.

  16. Perfect insurance policy for ponder . Sit for a year , take over for cassel if ponder succeeds, or take the starting 2014 if Christian fails. Skol vikes !!!

  17. If Barkley could throw the out pattern as well as he just threw his HC under the bus, the Chiefs would be calling his name at #1 Thursday night.

  18. Props to MB for defending himself now that he is about to be a pro. Thing is, most of the NFL decision makers totally believe him.

  19. Matt is just repeating what Lane said following the season in his press conference. This is not bashing Kiffin, it’s just repeating the same assessments everyone else made, Lane himself included.

  20. Absolutely crazy to look at Kiffin’s career and how many amazing breaks he got all because of his last name: NFL head coach with zero experience. They’re terrible and he gets canned but Tennessee can’t wait to get him. Tennessee isn’t very good while he’s there and he gets them into trouble with the NCAA but USC just has to have him. He just keeps falling up the ladder.

  21. Team GM – “Hey Coach, what about Barkley?”
    Coach – (If it doesn’t go well, he’s gonna throw me under the bus) “Uh, I’m thinking Glennon….or Dysert…”

  22. I find it funny the media painted this icture of Al Davis being crazy and insane when things happen yet a few years later everything he says turned out to be true and then the media agrees with Davis. You don’t usually see the media admit to it like PFT just did though. Instead they will say “well Al is still crazy cause he drafted JaMarcus Russell. That’s funny because days leading up to that draft the media was saying “will Al make the right choice by taking Russell” Any team would of taking Jamarcus at that spot. Raiders just have bad luck that’s all this is. Ronaldo McClain? Chris Mort, Mel Kiper every so called “Expert” said McClain would be a NFL star!. Well he turned out to be a idiot, That’s not Al Davis fault. Once again that’s just bad luck. I do agree that Al was bad at picking coaches but Al owned a NFL team. Of course he wanted a say. Anyone of you that owned a NFL team would want your say on the team.

  23. This is Lane Kitten’s last season at So.Cal. what a failure. He rode on his fathers and Pete Carrol’s coattails for way to long. Loot at what he did at Tennessee, nothing. Then left them high and dry for his dream job only to ruin that program. Goodbye Kit.

  24. USC has been turning out sub standard Qb’s to the NFL years before Kiffin stepped foot on that campus.

    The fact that Barkley speaks of it prior to the draft suggests his Wonderlic score might rival that of Vince Young, dumb and dumber.

  25. Barkley was being extremely kind too! Kiffin is a horrible coach, just absolutely horrible. In the long run Pat Haden will be fired because of the decision of hiring such a putz and sticking by him.

    Matt Barkley is the best player QB in the draft by a long shot. Most of the east coast knobs all think that he’ll just be “just another Sanchez or Leinart USC bust”,… just more lazy analysis and lame misinformed opinions by the east coast media.

    Barkley will go in the first round, no doubt about it, and whoever drafts him is getting a nice looking prospect.

  26. Al Davis and Lame Kitten deserved each other. Al was overbearing as usual, made the collosal mistake of thinking that JaWalrus was worthy of a draft pick, and Lane was just over his head as head coach.

  27. Maybe someone will come to the opinion that both Barkley and Kiffin are no good. Isn’t that just as likely??

  28. He’s not throwing Kiffin under the bus, he just stated the offense was too predictable and he should have taken it upon himself to help correct it. Sounds like he learned something from last year. If his shoulder heals completely he may be the steal of the draft. Remember last year at this time he was the #1 player on the draft board. New scheme, new coach, who was clearly a step down from what they had…it all plays into some team getting him in the 2nd rather than top 5.

    Wish the Vikes would move Webb to WR/HB and draft Barkley. After Ponder messes up this year you insert Barkley and solve the QB issue while Peterson is still in his prime.

  29. Barkley will be bagging groceries in 5 years so I really dont care what he says. Any team that wastes a first round pick on this guy, and the millions of dollars that go with it, gets what they deserve. He has no chance at being a successful NFL QB. Add him to the list with Leinart and Sanchez.

  30. Has Kiffin made a couple mistakes? Sure, but he’ll learn from them. He should be USC’s coach for years and years to come. He deserves it.

    Jim Mora

  31. thestrategyexpert says:Apr 22, 2013 11:37 AM
    How was Al Davis right about Kiffin? He hired Kiffin! Realizing you made a mistake is not an impressive accomplishment if it should be obvious in advance. And it should have been obvious if Davis spent the time to interview him, that’s the time you get to find out everything you need to know to make the right decision!
    Hmm, partially correct, but nobody ever gets respect by never making the wrong decision. Respect comes from being a man and saying I screwed up, sorry and will try not to let it happen again. Remember when everybody mocked Al Davis because of that presser? I am no Al Davis fan, but I give him the fact that he was dead (no pun intended) on accurate with what he said
    when he let Kiffin go.

    Face it, Kiffin displays sociopath behavior in many senses, and they are very convincing liars. The real question becomes, can he get a job other than Upper Palookaville State after USC finally decides to cut ties?

  32. He should have waited until after the draft before saying this, many teams may look at this as sniping or undermining, a bad thing to put in you locker room. It could cost him draft position and a few bucks.

  33. I am is glad when I read these stories about USC. As a Washington fan I have been waiting years for USC to messup and hire a coach that will not be able to recruit like Carroll did. Watching what Carroll has done for the Seahawks shows this guy is one crazy judge of talent.

    With Chip out of Oregon, and USC having problems – here come the Huskies.

  34. I don’t know that this will hurt him. It might even help him. It certainly explains his inexplicable decline from a “maybe #1 pick” guy last year to “meh” this year.

    Well that and the injury. Someone could get a very good QB out of this.

  35. Even worse than this was on Gruden’s QB camp Barkley pointing out how Kiffin was whistling at him milliseconds before the ball was to be snapped, to change plays. Result: Barkely looks at Kiffin, ball is snapped to no one, fumble disaster.

    Plus, the disgrace of a bowl game where they got whipped by G Tech and then got into a locker room fight afterwards. I’m glad I’m young enough to be able to make it through the Kiffin years, and hoping (sadly) my Trojans lose a lot of games next year to seal Kiffin’s fate, if that’s what it take. Kiffin is not Trojan material.

  36. I normally would categorize this as excuse making but in fairness, Lane Kiffen has not shown the ability to be a successful head coach at any level. Poaching him from Tennessee when he hadn’t accomplished anything was a dubious move at best and is playing out as such.

  37. Lane Kiffin has NEVER been a leader; not with Oakland, not with Tennessee, and not with USC. The only thing he’s good at is blowing up teams and leaving the scene of a crime. I mean…he was literally minutes away from being attacked by a lynch mob in Tennessee. That midnight hurried press conference was proof of the slime he is.

  38. As an ND fan, I am ecstatic that Kiffin is at the helm at SC. They have a great program and I have seen first hand what can happen in Southern California when they get a good coach.

  39. Ask Tennessee if they were impressed with his leadership! He’s gutless and a punk. Sorry for SC, y’all won’t get better until he is gone.

  40. alright. Kiffin is not a good coach.

    But I find it kind of ludicrous to throw someone under the bus to cover your deficiencies. every offensive system provides for the quarterback to adjust the play. and every play has multiple pass options. no one is telling Barkley to only throw to Lee. only Barkley can control where he throws and only Barkley is the one who locks his eyes on the receiver.

    I guess when you have a sinking ship, everybody points their finger at everybody else…

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