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Matt Barkley will be watching the draft with interest

Sophomore quarterback also works on holding for field goals for the first time.

April 20, 2010|By Gary Klein

USC quarterback Matt Barkley won't be eligible for the NFL draft until 2012.

But the sophomore said Tuesday that he would watch with interest Thursday night to see how this year's quarterback class fares. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, Florida's Tim Tebow and Texas' Colt McCoy are among those expected to be selected in the three-day draft.

"I know a couple of them, so it's kind of cool," Barkley said. "I'm getting to that point where I can relate to some of them."

Barkley continues to make strides this spring. The slimmed-down Barkley passed for five touchdowns in last Saturday's scrimmage and has not had a turnover in two scrimmages.

After practice Tuesday, Barkley worked for the first time as a holder for field goals. He is not expected to perform that duty for the Trojans, but practiced it at the behest of special teams coach John Baxter.

"Coach Baxter said it's a good to skill to have at the next level and I've never done it before," Barkley said. "It's a lot easier than I thought."

Making a statement

Senior linebacker Malcolm Smith wants attention for what he does on the field, not for what he says away from it.

He got reaction for both after last weekend.

Smith, limited some this spring because of off-season ankle surgery, shined in Saturday's scrimmage.

"Probably of the first eight plays, he made three of them himself and really flashed," Coach Lane Kiffin said. "He really looked like a big-time NFL guy."

But a comment Smith made Sunday on his Twitter account also drew reaction, especially from UCLA fans.

"I'm a clippers fan and I'm not gonna lie it's hard to cheer for a team that doesn't win," Smith tweeted. "Is this what it's like to be a UCLA fan?"

The comment, of course, made the rounds of social networking sites and Internet message boards.

"I didn't know it was going to be a big deal," Smith said. "I don't have anything against UCLA…. I wasn't trying to start anything."

Pump up the volume

Kiffin loosened the reins at the end of practice, piping in music for a goal-line drill.

"It's going to be loud on the road so you have to be able to block out everything," defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. "Basically, that music helps you get back into your technique instead of getting all emotional."

Quick hits

Receiver Ronald Johnson did not practice because of an elbow injury suffered in the scrimmage….The Trojans practice again Thursday.

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