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No clarity yet in USC’s QB situation

Lane Kiffin, Cody Kessler AP

Going into Thursday’s opener against Hawaii, USC head coach Lane Kiffin declined to name a starter between a pair of sophomores, Max Wittek and Cody Kessler (pictured).  Responding in kind, the quarterbacks declined to give Kiffin a reason coming out of it either.

Kessler started what turned out to be a 30-13 win for the No. 24 Trojans in the first game of the post-Matt Barkley era, giving way to Wittek after the first series of the third quarter.  To say there was no separation between the two following a pair of uneven performances would be putting it mildly.

Obviously, it’s a big question,” Kiffin said of the quarterback position. “There was not an obvious No. 1 out there today.”

Kessler completed just 10-of-19 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and an interception.  Wittek completed half of his 10 passes for 77 yards with neither a touchdown nor an interception on the stat sheet.  All told, USC signal callers combined to throw for a measely 172 yards, or what Barkley had called a good half over the past four years.

The offense managed just two touchdowns — one more than the defense scored — and three field goals against a defense that was ranked 107th in scoring at just under 36 points per game.

Kiffin, though, wasn’t about to throw just his quarterbacks under the offensive bus, laying the blame for the offensive ineptness at the feet of, among others, himself.

“I didn’t think we played real well there,” Kiffin, who is USC’s playcaller, said. “We didn’t do real well around them, including myself.”

As USC heads into the Pac-12 opener against Washington State next Saturday, it appears likely they’ll take the same tack as this past week: play both quarterbacks, and pray that one turns into something more than they were in the opener.

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4 Responses to “No clarity yet in USC’s QB situation”
  1. soundsofsuccess7 says: Aug 30, 2013 1:04 PM

    Wittek suffered from two drops that would’ve put him at about 170 passing yards and another TD.

    USC needs to focus on getting Marqise Lee’s head out of his butt. Dude had like 3 drops..

  2. Anoesis says: Aug 30, 2013 7:42 PM

    Neither QB seemed very inspiring. The O-line was nothing special, unlike years past. Kiffin’s play-calling hasn’t improved at all from last year.

    The defense seemed stout, but this was Hawaii after all. If the HC doesn’t find a way to get the offense to act like they give a damn it’s going to be a very long year.

  3. uscatjerseyshore says: Aug 30, 2013 10:43 PM

    Regarding Anoesis’s comment “Kiffin’s play-calling hasn’t improved at all from last year.” In 2012 vs Hawaii 2/3 of the plays were passing plays. In 2013 60% of the plays were running plays. The stats reflect the 2013 game was called completely different than 2012. Play calling isn’t the problem. The number of Fall practice injuries which didn’t help the O-line to gel was a bigger factor than your mistaken belief about play-calling.

  4. usc92555 says: Sep 1, 2013 7:35 PM

    @uscatjerseyshore comment: You seem to be kinda good at keeping stats…Do you have any stats reflecting Kiffin’s offensive play calling back in 2008 or 2009 after he took over for Norm Chow? What you failed to grasp in Anoesis comment is that Lane Kiffin is no an offensive genius he is mediocre at best. Kiffin has been no better since that era and the Trojan fan base have been rightly critical of his questionable offensive calls throughout both coaching periods at usc. He’s a much better recruiter than play caller. Just ask any real Trojan fan otherwise stick to your Jersey Shore.

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