'Your protection plan has to bat 1.000'
Some of the most awkward yet strangely eyeballs-glued-to-the-screen television in TV today is back for another season with the return of Jon Gruden's QB camp. Everyone's favorite out-of-work coach is back to yet again poke, prod, confuse and enlighten another set of NFL Draft hopefuls in advance of the main event later this month.
This time around the subject is former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Hailed as a "Carson Palmer plus Mark Sanchez multiplied by Matt Leinart" type prospect, Barkley's career was sidetracked before he ever stepped foot on campus thanks to scholarship reductions, a coaching change and a two-year bowl ban stemming from the Reggie Bush scandal. Though it essentially existed inside of a vacuum thanks to sanctions, USC quietly turned in a very solid 2011 season with a 10-2 record, capped by a season-ending four-game winning streak that included an upset of Oregon, led by a junior quarterback that ranked eighth nationally in passing efficiency with 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Needless to say, USC's 2012 campaign did not go as planned. The Trojans started the year as the AP's No. 1 team and finished 7-6 with a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Barkley threw 36 touchdowns but saw his interception total more than double to 15 while missing the Notre Dame and Georgia Tech games due to a shoulder injury.
Armed with that information, Barkley sat down with Gruden, and this clip focused on his pass protection scheme against UCLA. The same UCLA game that caused him to miss his final two outings as a Trojan. "Every day, every week, every month, this has got to be a part of your lifespan now," Gruden explained in classic Gruden-style. "Write it down over and over and over again: your protection plan has to bat 1.000. Not .386. We're not going to the All-Star Game and having a Home Run Derby here, we're going to hit every one out of the (expletive) stadium. Are you with me?"