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Barkley, Kiffin in concert

LOS ANGELES -- Lane Kiffin has his critics. Matt Barkley has his detractors as well. But when a coach and a quarterback find a groove, as Kiffin and Barkley seemed to Saturday, you simply wonder whether it's a sign of things to come.

To be sure, Kiffin has some games better than others as a play caller, and Barkley reminds us every now and then that he was once coached by Jeremy Bates. But on Saturday, against the Syracuse Orange, with USC's offensive line unable to provide run blocking or a lot of time in the pocket, Kiffin and Barkley showed their stuff.

Sure, it helps to be blessed with one great receiver and a slew of talented but raw skilled players at all other positions, with two rookie tight ends, a true freshman wide receiver opposite Woods, and a former tight end playing his first season at fullback. Kiffin called a great game and utilized those weapons, and his quarterback was right there with him play after play.