QB Barkley to stay despite Carroll's exit

Updated: January 11, 2010, 9:18 PM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Quarterback Matt Barkley intends to stay at USC despite the departure of coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

Barkley told The Associated Press that his desire to play for USC was larger than either of those two coaches.

"It's kind of disappointing to see them leave," Barkley said. "More than anything, it's a challenge to get better and just reach another level. I came to this school because I wanted to be a Trojan, and nothing about coaches leaving would change that for me."

Not only does Barkley -- who started as a true freshman this season -- intend to stay at USC, he's been trying to keep the team together as much as possible.

On Sunday night, as news of Carroll's resignation was breaking, teammates gathered at Barkley's apartment.

"I think if anything, this change will further solidify the closeness of the players," Matt Barkley's father, Les Barkley, said. "That's certainly my impression based on the way things have gone so far. I know Matt intends to take a leadership role in this."

Les Barkley said that an assistant coach had called Matt on Sunday night and told him that it was happening.

"Matt did not get a text message,'' Les Barkley said. "I don't know if others did. But there's going to be a lot of moving parts to a thing like this. I don't think there's a way such a high-profile coach can leave and have a seamless transition.

"I think everyone understands that.''

Barkley threw for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns as the first true freshman to start an entire season for USC.

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.