USC Quarterback Battle

By Oscar Hazell @OscarHazell

Lane Kiffin has still not decided on who will lead the Trojans offense.

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

Matt Barkley’s replacement seems to have come down to Max Wittek and Cody Kessler. Wittek is a big arm talent redshirt sophomore, who you would think would have the lead on the position, having started against Notre Dame and Georgia Tech last season. Although throwing a combined five interceptions and no Touchdowns in those games he has shown improvement throughout camp. His arm strength alone makes him ideal for Lane Kiffiin’s preferred pro-style offense, although he somewhat lacks accuracy. Wittek’s main rival for the starting spot is fellow redshirt sophomore Kessler, while Max Browne likely to be redshirted in his freshman year.  Kessler is perhaps a more rounded talent, favoring short to intermediate passing with a quick release and fast decision-making. Wittek’s has impressed during camp with a combined twenty touchdown passes and eight interceptions, while Wittek has had eighteen touchdowns and twelve interceptions.

Kessler is the Trojans fan base’s favored choice with over 80% wanting him to start in a recent poll.

This may be a result of the bitter taste in some fans mouth post Sun Bowl lose, where Wittek’s struggled against Georgia Tech throwing fourteen completions in thirty seven attempts for only a hundred and seven yards and tallied up three interceptions.

This is a worrying situation for Kiffin to find himself in, with his job somewhat on the line after a seven and six record last. He would have hoped one of his quarterbacks would have separated themselves from the bunch.

Marqise Lee will also be hugely impacted by the decision and he seems none the wiser.

Lee is entering the season touted as the best receiver in college football. He will have to maintain that high standard with both quarterbacks having very different throwing actions and trajectory on the ball. It would be beneficial for Lee and the receiving corp, to attain at least one week of full reps with the starting QB.