By: Jamari Jordan
This past weekend No. 24 University of Southern California head coach, Lane Kiffin, announced that USC will play both sophomore Max Wittek and sophomore Cody Kessler in the season opener Thursday against Hawaii.
“We’ve got two guys that we feel great about. We don’t feel like we have to limit our offense with either one of them in there,” Kiffin told the media.
Coming into the season, several media outlets slated Wittek as the starter. The sophomore started the last two games for the Trojans last season. However, both were losses, and Wittek only completed 52% of his passes with only three touchdowns and five interceptions. With the addition of strong camp workouts from Kessler, the fact that the competition is dead even doesn’t seem too surprising.
Nevertheless, Kiffin’s biggest task may not involve choosing a starting quarterback but pleasing All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee. “Dude, this is crazy… I’m still waiting. I don’t know when coach Kiffin is going to actually decide,” Lee told the media after a USC scrimmage last week. Lee was the focal point of the Trojans’ offense last year with over 110 catches, 1,721 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Therefore, the reigning Biletnikoff winner will have a strong influence on who would be eventually named the starter.
At the same token, Lee acknowledged that regardless who is named starter, he will have work to do. “I have flaws with both Wittek and Kessler that I need to improve on,” Lee said. Even with no starter named, the Trojans are 21.5 point favorites against Hawaii. USC athletic director, Pat Haden, said that USC will name a starter after the second game.
The two-quarterback system will be on display as USC opens its season Thursday at Hawaii 11pm ET on the CBS Sports Network. Then, the Trojans open PAC-12 conference play versus Washington State at home.
-August 27, 2013