USC Football: Matt Barkley and Robert Woods Connection Missing in Spring Ball


November 12, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Robert Woods (2) runs the ball against the Washington Huskies during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

At the beginning of 2011, USC lived and died off of the Barkley to Woods connection, as evident with Robert Woods’s 17 receptions in the season opener against Minnesota at the Coliseum. As the season progressed, the rapid maturation of Marqise Lee aided the Trojans passing offense and subsquently, allowed Curtis McNeal to shine. Unbeknownst to much of the national media, Robert Woods was never healthy in 2011, enabling Lee to play a large role in the second half and forcing a post-season ankle injury, which has knocked the Pac-12’s season single pass reception record holder out of Spring Ball.

Michael Lev of the Orange County register pointed out the absence of Robert Woods last week, and advocated the sitting out of the All-American, which was exactly the right call. It’s crazy to think that all of the numbers Woods put up last fall was in leiu of a nagging ankle that he hurt last spring, which makes his potential virtually endless should he regain his health.

So while the Barkley to Woods connection is out of order for time being, the time devoted to finding targets other than Woods and Lee is invaluable. The Trojans need those two if they’re going to keep the unofficial title of having the nation’s best receiving corps, but with George Farmer moving back to receiver and the losses of Brice Butler and Brandon Carswell, there’s a duality for Lane Kiffin’s offense, which is not only geared at finding new faces but replacing the old ones.

Nelson Agholor will be a big boost to fall camp, but spring gives guys like Farmer and Victor Blackwell an opportunity before Agholor and Darreus Rogers step on campus for the Trojans in August. George Farmer has already played up to rave reviews for the Trojans in spring camp, the Trojans haven’t had three top flight receivers at the same time since 2003, when Matt Leinart was chucking the rock to Mike Williams, Keary Colbert and Steve Smith.