After Saturday's scrimmage in the Coliseum, we got our first real indication from head coach Steve Sarkisian that there has been some separation between the incumbent, Cody Kessler, and the challenger, Max Browne.
Sark spoke with the media after practice, giving an update on the quarterback duel after two weeks:
Sarkisian on USC QBs: “Max (Browne) is improving, but maybe not at the rapid pace that Cody (Kessler) has so far.”— Rich Hammond (@RegisterUSC) March 29, 2014
He went on to elaborate a bit as to what Kessler is doing to distance himself from Browne:
Sark said Kessler has a quick release, good arm strength and good accuracy with the ball as well. #USC— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) March 29, 2014
Kessler backed that up during Saturday's scrimmage, when he connected with wide receiver Nelson Agholor for a 65-yard touchdown bomb.
The Trojans have only practiced six times this spring, and they're learning an entirely new offensive scheme while they're at it. Even though Kessler already had the edge due to having started nearly all of 2013, Browne came into spring camp with his own advantage, having more immediately played in a spread offense.
So the fact that Kessler is already creating separation between himself and Browne is noteworthy, as it suggests Kessler is picking up and adapting to the uptempo offense better.
During 2012, Kessler threw for 2,968 yards and 20 touchdowns and had moments where he showed he had some legs. Against Arizona, for example, the quarterback rushed for 34 yards, showing that he can make plays on the fly if need be.
While no one is expecting Kessler to be a true mobile threat, it's reassuring to know that he isn't a statue in the pocket, either.
Earlier this spring, Sark said he had no timetable to name a starter but that he would ideally like to know who it would be by the end of spring. That decision might become increasingly easier for the head coach to make if Kessler continues to impress in the way he has through two weeks.
For more of Sark's comments from Saturday's scrimmage, click here.