How Big a Gambler Is Pete Carroll?

Does Carroll go high risk/high reward, or does he go the more steady route at quarterback?

Pete Carroll is not afraid to take challenges with the USC football program — it would not be the dominant force it is today if he played it safe all the time. But just how big a gambler is he?

By the end of the week, Carroll needs to pick a starting quarterback. That signal caller will get all the reps next week leading up to the opening game against San Jose State. That game really means nothing — USC could do a promotion where one lucky ticket holder gets to play quarterback against San Jose and the Trojans would still win by 21.

It’s all about having the quarterback ready for Ohio State on Sept. 12.

Carroll has two choices:

First is Matt Barkley, the super-talented freshman. He has shown off a gun of an arm, and has remained cool under fire. He’s a leader. He’s also a freshman, and he keeps making freshman mistakes. We can promise you that Jim Tressel has put in a few defensive wrinkles that Barkley has never seen before. Barkley also could make the big play that wins a game in the Horseshoe. Or the one that loses it.

Aaron Corp is the very good, steadier quarterback. He gets that he is surrounded by a bunch of NFL-level talent and if he just gets the ball to Joe McKnight in the flat he’s going to look good. On a USC offense loaded with talent, it’s more about game management then winning it by yourself. Heck, Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl that way.

Back at practice, Corp has looked healthy, if just a little bit slower and hesitant to run for the first. He’s got a good arm, too, you don’t get to be California High School Player of the Year if you can’t throw the ball as a quarterback.

If you’re willing take a risk, to let Barkley learn on the job, you could develop THE quarterback of the future for the team. At least until he bolts early for the pros.

However, Corp was the man before his injury, and likely when USC lines up against San Jose he will be the man under center to start. Carroll is not a fan of turnovers, and Corp does that less. But Barkley will get snaps this year, and when he does he could ignite this controversy all over again.

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