“At times though we focused too much on him as a team and we took away from other great playmakers like Robert (Woods) and our tight ends who were phenomenal players to where defenses saw that and kind of overcrowded Marqise,” Barkley said on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday. “He still managed to make plays. I think we could have done a better job of utilizing other players.”
Barkley said that in response to Patrick, who was gushing over Lee and calling him the best player in college football this season.
On Wednesday, Kiffin was asked about Barkley’s comments and disagreed with them.
“No I don’t think that’s true,” Kiffin said via the Los Angeles Times. “Basically, Marqise Lee had one more catch than Robert Woods did the year before, so when you have players like that you want to make sure they’re touching the ball.”
Lee had 112 catches for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns in 12 games. Woods had 73 catches for 816 yards and 11 touchdowns, which was well shy of the 111 catches, 1,292 yards, and 15 touchdowns he racked up his sophomore season. No other player had more than 27 receptions in USC’s offense.
It seems like Barkley has a point, especially considering that he threw a career-high 15 interceptions. Maybe Kiffin should reconsider Barkley’s comments.
You can see Barkley’s interview with Patrick below. Some of the other notable things he said were that the high expectations for the team may have gotten to them, and that he did not have any regrets about returning to school for his senior season. He also thinks Johnny Manziel is most deserving of the Heisman Trophy. The parts about Lee begin around the 11:50 mark.