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Kiffin: Barkley Will Start Saturday Versus UCLA

Patrick Crawley |
November 30, 2010 | 3:55 p.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor

Lane Kiffin isn't taking any chances this Saturday against UCLA.

The Trojans coach told the L.A. Times Tuesday that Matt Barkley will be the starter for this weekend's game. No qualifiers. No what ifs. No buts.

Barkley will be the starter.

USC Coach Lane Kiffin on Tuesday told Times columnist T.J. Simers   that quarterback Matt Barkley   will play Saturday against UCLA.

Barkley was in uniform but did not play against Notre Dame because of a high ankle sprain suffered against Oregon State.

Simers said he told Kiffin that he had seen Barkley walking on campus and that the sophomore was limping slightly.

"Slightly," Kiffin said.

"So does that mean he will play?" Simers asked.

"He will play," Kiffin said. "Notice I didn't say, like I normally do, 'I hope he'll play.' "

Following the Notre Dame debacle, the last thing USC needs is another embarrassing loss to a rival. That's likely the reason for Kiffin's early decision concerning Barkley.

He's usually coy with the media when it comes to injuries and starting roles.

Not this time.

There's too much at stake.

Seven wins and a loss to the Fighting Irish are bad enough. Adding a loss to the Bruins would be devastating to Trojan fans and detrimental to Kiffin's long-term coaching outlook at his dream program.

This Saturday's game is too important to screw around.

Which is why Barkley will be the starter, ankle sprain and all. Mitch Mustain had his run. It turned out poorly. Now he's done and it's time to get back to business.

Welcome back, Matt.

To reach editor Patrick Crawley, click here. Follow him on Twitter, @BasketballFiend.



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