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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Matt Barkley's surgery on wrist is 'minor'

USC's starting quarterback is expected to be ready for spring practice in March.

January 27, 2010|By Gary Klein

USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who started 12 games last season as a freshman, underwent wrist surgery Tuesday but is expected to be ready for the start of spring practice in March, the school announced.

In a release, USC described the procedure as "minor" and said it was done to "relieve stiffness and clean up inflammation."

Neither Barkley nor Coach Lane Kiffin could be reached for comment.

Barkley suffered a shoulder injury in the second game against Ohio State and did not play against Washington. He finished the season with 15 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

Barkley never complained of a wrist problem, but Steve Clarkson, who has tutored Barkley as a private coach since the quarterback's freshman season at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, said Barkley had "loose fragments" in his wrist that resulted from an early-season injury.

"It kind of affected his ability to throw a consistent spiral," Clarkson said. "It was an annoyance from time to time because he would not be able to turn over his wrist and sometimes the ball would flutter."

Matt Leinart was the last USC quarterback to have off-season surgery on his throwing arm. Leinart underwent a procedure on his left elbow in January 2005 and did not participate in spring practice.

Seto let go

Rocky Seto, the Trojans' defensive coordinator last season and a member of the coaching staff since 1999, was informed by Kiffin that he would not be part of his staff.

Seto, a former walk-on linebacker for the Trojans, played under John Robinson and coached under Paul Hackett and Pete Carroll. Seto said he was not angry and wished Kiffin and the Trojans well.

"The last 13 years have been a tremendous blessing," Seto said. "I wouldn't change it for anything."

Seto's future with the Trojans appeared in doubt when Kiffin hired his father Monte as defensive coordinator and announced the hiring of Willie Mack Garza, who coaches defensive backs. On Tuesday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers coach Joe Barry told reporters he was leaving the NFL team to return to USC, where he played and coached as an assistant.

Seto also said he had spoken with former coach Carroll about opportunities with the Seattle Seahawks.

USC officials would not confirm Barry's hiring, but Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik told Tampa Bay media at the Senior Bowl that he let Barry out of his contract to work at USC.

Barry, who played linebacker for the Trojans in 1992 and 1993 and served on USC's staff in 1995, told the St. Petersburg Times that he was looking forward to returning to USC and working with Monte Kiffin.

"It was a tough decision, especially leaving Tampa," Barry said. "Our family loves living here. The fans have been unbelievable. We've had some good times, obviously, with the Super Bowl year. . . . Even though last year was difficult, it was still special to be able to walk out onto Raymond James every Sunday."

But USC, he said, "made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I think SC couldn't have hired a better head coach to replace Pete Carroll than Lane Kiffin, and with Monte there, and the fact that I played there and my first coaching job was there, it just was the right thing for me and my family."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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