As we all know, with the departure of Matt Barkley to the NFL, the USC Trojans have not yet named a starting quarterback. Luckily for the USC football team, they have very good options to choose from. Lane Kiffin must decide whether Max Wittek, Cody Kessler or Max Browne will take the lead of the offense.
USC’s fall practice began on Saturday with all 3 quarterbacks competing for the starting job. Wittek and Kessler alternated snaps with the first-team offense, but Kiffin made no indication as to who the frontrunner was. Wittek and Kessler, who are now in their 3rd year at USC, have significantly improved their game and freshmen Max Browne has gotten stronger and put on more weight to fit his 6-foot-5 frame.
When asked what he is looking for in his starting quarterback, Kiffin simply stated it will be the quarterback that manages situations best and avoids turnovers. As you can see, Kiffin never mentioned experience. If experience played a factor, Wittek would get the starting job since he has seen the most time on the field out of the 3. Last season, Wittek started against Notre Dame and threw for 186 yards and recorded 1 touchdown with 2 interceptions. In the following game, the Sun Bowl, against Georgia Tech he completed 38% of his passes and recorded 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. His performance in those games didn’t allow him to take over as the starter–they only strengthened the idea in Kiffin’s mind that he needed to take time to decide he would replace Barkley.
That’s where Kessler comes in. During spring football, Kessler showed his skills and proved that he has what it takes to become the starter for this team. Out of the 3 quarterbacks, he posted the best numbers and had the best reaction from coaches and players based on his performances. However, that wasn’t good enough for Kiffin to name him starter. Luckily for Kessler, experience isn’t a factor. In his career at USC, he’s completed 2 passes for a total of 9 yards. Kessler knows how tough the competition is and he knows the pay off if he wins the competition. “You’ve got to seize the moment” is all Kessler said.
Then there’s Max Browne. Right now, Kiffin, almost every reporter and fans believe Browne is a part of the 3-way race to be the starter– but I think differently. Browne has made impressive throws during spring training camp and has focused on getting better. Although he is still in competition mode to be the starter, his main focus seems to be improving his passing game day by day. Even though he’s officially part of the three-way race for the starting QB spot, it looks as though Browne will redshirt his first season and continue to grow as a QB for the USC football team.
Now, my favorite part: the prediction! I predict that Cody Kessler will win the competition and start for the Trojans on August 29th at Hawaii. Obviously this prediction assumes the fact that Kessler is healthy and able to play. If this happens, sources say that Max Wittek will consider transferring from USC. After all, Wittek is a 5-star QB and can be a starter at most other colleges in the nation. If Wittek decides to transfer, then Browne will be the backup QB for Kessler.
Luckily, the QB that is chosen as the starter has a lot of weapons at the wide receiver position, including Heisman hopeful Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, who had a spectacular freshman season last year.
We don’t know and we can’t predict what our offense will look like for this coming soon, but I can tell you this… we will know sooner than later. Will it be Kessler? Will it be Wittek? Will it be Browne?
The answer awaits…
Follow me on Twitter, @Nerses_Aposhian for more updates on the USC football team.