Barkley won’t play scared

USC quarterback Matt Barkley was only a modest Halloween fan as a child, never straying too far from character when choosing his costume.

“Usually always a football player or something,” Barkley said Tuesday.

Barkley, then, should feel comfortable Saturday night when the fourth-ranked Trojans, who are fifth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, play at No. 10 Oregon.

Of course, a zealous crowd at Autzen Stadium is expected to do everything it can to unnerve the freshman. But Barkley is looking forward to another challenge after leading the Trojans to victories at Ohio State, Notre Dame and California.

“The energy is going to be awesome and it’s going to be a cool atmosphere, especially on Halloween night,” Barkley said. “Who knows what their uniforms will be?


“Probably something crazy as usual.”

Barkley was not his usual self in last week’s victory over Oregon State.

He passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, but two passes were intercepted. A third interception was nullified when Oregon State was called for a late hit on Barkley.

Barkley said after the game that his performance was mediocre. After reviewing tape, he did not change his assessment.

“There were a lot of plays that I thought I could have done better with,” he said. “My footwork was a little sloppy.

“Some balls just hung up there too long. I didn’t really put any zip on the ball. It was really not like me. I don’t know why.”

Coach Pete Carroll reiterated that Barkley has not been fazed by tough environments -- “Never. Not for a second” -- and he expects that he will play well against an Oregon defense that ranks third in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Barkley, who has seven touchdown passes and five interceptions, is not worried about the Ducks’ defense or the crowd.

“I feed off that energy, I feed off that noise,” he said. “I love it.”

Asked by a reporter if he liked Barkley’s “bring-it-on” attitude, Carroll chuckled.

“Not necessarily,” he said. “No. He’ll learn.”

Conditioned response

The forecast calls for a 50% chance of rain Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

Wet weather is not expected in Southern California this week but Carroll said the Trojans would be prepared, having practiced in the rain for two days the week before the Notre Dame game.

“That was about as sloppy a mess as you can get,” he said during his weekly news conference. “We are going to use that, and we are not going to turn the sprinklers on this week.”

Later, the Trojans practiced in cold and windy conditions.

“Good elements to be working in,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of stuff that can go on up there. . . . We’ll be ready.”

Chip off old tackle

Oregon State receiver James Rodgers suffered a chipped tooth when his helmet came off after a hit by USC safety Taylor Mays, a play that resulted in the suspension of a Pac-10 official for not calling a facemask penalty.

“It wasn’t bad,” Rodgers told the Oregonian. “He was trying to make a play and he accidentally pulled my helmet off.”

Rodgers also said, “He told me it was his fault and I said that’s all right.”

Quick hits

Receiver Damian Williams was held out of most drills because of a bruised glute. . . . Tight end Anthony McCoy (ankle) did not practice, so Rhett Ellison remains on track to start. . . . D.J. Shoemate will probably start at fullback for the second consecutive game in place of Stanley Havili (shoulder). . . . Receivers David Ausberry (calf) and Brice Butler (back) did not practice for the second consecutive day. . . . Safety Drew McAllister (hip) is on crutches.