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April 25, 2009

Corp, Barkley could shine at Huddle

The month-long journey from the beginning of spring practice to the end of the season comes to a conclusion Saturday when the USC football team takes the field to face one another in the annual Trojan Huddle at the Coliseum.

While Pete Carroll has gotten 14 practices to look at his team, plenty of the Trojan fans at the Coliseum Saturday might be getting just their first or second look at the team.

Here's a look at a few things you'll likely see if you check out the Trojans' final spring gathering.

Matt Barkley could have a big day.

Barkley didn't win the starting quarterback job this spring, losing out to Aaron Corp, but Saturday Barkley will have the advantage of working against the No. 2 defense while Corp takes on the starters. Corp will also share some snaps with Mitch Mustain, but Barkley will take the overwhelming bulk of reps on his team with Garrett Green still nursing an injury.

With some pressure lifted off of Barkley's shoulders by not winning the battle this spring, look for the true freshman to show no fear and chuck the ball down the field. He'll make the second unit pay.

Corp will look like a starting quarterback.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Corp's determined to show coaches and USC fans that Carroll and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates made the right decision by naming Corp the top guy at the position.

Corp could be victimized by some early nerves, but those should go away the first time he makes a play with his arm or with his feet.

Corp might not look as prolific as Barkley does on Saturday, but Corp will move the offense, and he probably won't make any major mistakes. For now, that's good enough.

Everson Griffen will get a sack.

Whether he's jumping offsides, guessing the snap count or moving faster than anyone else on the field, Griffen's been wreaking havoc in the backfield all spring long. There's no reason to think he won't do it again during the Huddle.

Griffen's been the single biggest impact player this spring, thanks largely in part to new defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. Franklin has Griffen playing harder than he ever has, and the big junior's vast athleticism and skills shine through on a near constant basis.

Curtis McNeal will make you say 'Wow' at least once.

On Friday, Carroll called McNeal the most valuable player of the spring, and it's hard to argue with that assessment. With injuries to Joe McKnight, Marc Tyler, C.J. Gable, and Allen Bradford, McNeal showed he's got some toughness and grit to go with his flash.

Still on Saturday, look for the freshman running back to continue his case for real significant playing time by breaking at least one play for more than 15 yards. He's a good pass catcher and could do it in space, or he could take a run and make one or two nice moves and break into the secondary.

Either way, Trojan fans will be impressed


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