USC’s Matt Barkley hopes to hit right chords against Stanford

Matt Barkley has been busy this week.

When USC’s quarterback was not fielding questions about the compare-and-contrast matchup Saturday with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, he was preparing for the fourth-ranked Cardinal and making like a guitar hero.

On Tuesday, during an appearance on Dan Patrick’s national radio show, Barkley attempted an electric version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” before switching to acoustic guitar and singing Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.”

On Wednesday, Barkley plugged in an electric guitar and played the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” in USC’s sports information office.

The junior also is hoping for an electric performance on the field against Stanford, which comes to the Coliseum with a 15-game winning streak that began with a 37-35 last-second victory over the Trojans last season in Palo Alto.

Luck is a Heisman Trophy front-runner and the presumed No. 1 pick in the next NFL draft.

Barkley also is regarded as a first-round pick if he makes himself available for the draft.


“Our level of respect makes the game kind of special,” Barkley said. “There’s nothing he can do to stop me, and I can’t stop him, so it’s not a matchup like that.”

Luck showed two years ago against USC that he was capable of running as well as throwing effectively.

Barkley is not regarded as a scrambler, but he escaped the rush several times last Saturday in USC’s victory at Notre Dame.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Barkley also delivered a block when receiver Robert Woods reversed direction and turned upfield as he ran toward the Trojans’ sideline.

Barkley thought he would have to block Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, but Trojans running back Curtis McNeal got to Te’o first.

Barkley laughed when recalling how he blocked a smaller cornerback.

“I just try and get low and he kind of ducks and gets out of the way,” he said. “I thought it was bigger. … It was kind of lame watching it on tape.”

Depth issue

McNeal and fellow tailback Marc Tyler were unavailable for short periods against Notre Dame because of minor leg injuries.

Both will play against Stanford, but the ankle injury that has sidelined George Farmer and the removal of Dillon Baxter from the program leave the Trojans with redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan and freshman Amir Carlisle if Tyler or McNeal is injured or ineffective against the Cardinal.

Baxter scored his only touchdown as a Trojan last season against Stanford.

Quick hits

Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for Saturday’s game, USC announced. … Woods, who sat out Tuesday because of unspecified injuries, and kicker Andre Heidari (ankle) were limited in practice Wednesday. … Cornerback Torin Harris remains sidelined because of a shoulder injury.