USC Football: Updating the Trojans' Quarterback Battle

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IOctober 12, 2016

USC Football: Updating the Trojans' Quarterback Battle

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    The first week of the fall practice session has concluded and there is still no resolution to the mystery of who will be USC's starting quarterback in 2013.

    The players in question—Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and true freshman Max Browne—have all had their good moments, and each has struggled as well.

    What is for certain is that head coach Lane Kiffin will have to make a decision soon if he wants the first-string quarterback to get completely familiar with his starting cohorts, and he is running out of time.

    Still, Kiffin can't be blamed for wanting to make sure he gets this right, and with no one separating himself from the pack, he is forced to take a wait-and-see attitude, at least for the moment.

    So what has each quarterback accomplished so far?

Max Browne

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    Only a true freshman, Max Browne has everything one looks for in a quarterback, but unfortunately, that package also includes inexperience.

    Because of that, according to's Lindsey Thiry (subscription required), Lane Kiffin has recently said Browne is now not part of the battle to start for USC in 2013.

    So far, Browne has looked good in the first week of practice, but this is just likely a prelude to a redshirt year.

Max Wittek

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    It is still a two-quarterback battle, but it appears Max Wittek might be losing ground in this contest to see who starts for the Trojans in 2013.

    Despite Wittek throwing two touchdowns during the late Monday afternoon session, the redshirt sophomore still has some issues.

    Though he possesses the better arm, Wittek can't seem to shake his proclivity to make ill-advised throws, such as the interception he threw on Monday as reported by's Kristen Rodgers (subscription required).

    This comes on the heels of another interception he tossed on Sunday, although in fairness, that ball was tipped.

    Add those turnovers to the multitude of sacks he has taken in the fall, including two more on Monday, and it would seem Wittek is falling a bit behind Kessler in the second week of practice.

Cody Kessler

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    Well, regardless of Lane Kiffin's desire to play his decision regarding the starting quarterback close to the vest, make no mistake about it: Cody Kessler is the fans' choice.

    And objectively speaking, they may just get their wish.

    Though Kessler doesn't possess the physical attributes of Wittek, he does many things well, and perhaps most importantly, he takes care of the ball.

    Despite throwing three interceptions recently, Kessler has been mostly mistake-free while also showing a good grasp of the offense.

    One other thing Kessler does well is move both in and out of the pocket, and this attribute—when compared to Wittek's relative immobility—should also play in his favor.


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    Regardless of which way Lane Kiffin goes with this decision, it would serve him well to pull the trigger soon.

    With time running out in the fall practice session, whomever Kiffin tabs will need to spend an abundance of time with his starting mates in order to put the best offense on field when the Trojans open the 2013 season at Hawaii.

    At this point, especially after Kessler had a strong spring, it would appear he has the inside track to open this season as USC's starting quarterback.

    But no matter which way Coach Kiffin goes, he needs to make a decision soon or risk not having that guy as prepared as he not only could be but also should be.

    Time to pull that trigger, Coach.