The USC Trojans wrapped up their fall camp on Wednesday with a scrimmage that saw Marqise Lee re-injure his bruised shoulder and Nelson Agholor exploded for three touchdowns. But the biggest news out of the end of camp was what didn’t get announced, and that is who will be the starting quarterback for USC when they open the season against the Hawaii Warriors next week. Lane Kiffin has put Cody Kessler and Max Wittek through the paces through spring practice and into fall camp, but still hasn’t decided on which will be his guy in 2013 and Lee thinks that’s “crazy.”
When talking to reporters following the scrimmage, Lee was not shy about expressing his views on the quarterback race at USC:
“Dude, this is crazy. I’m still waiting. I don’t know when coach Kiffin is going to actually decide but I hope it’s Friday because that’s when we start our (preparation for Hawaii). At the end of the day, I guess I’ll be rolling with both until Thursday depending on when he decides.”
While Wittek started the final two games of the 2012 season, including the Sun Bowl, Kessler has been the more impressive throughout camp. During the scrimmage on Wednesday, Wittek went 15-for-20 for 231 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while Kessler went 13-for-22 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Their performance has left Kiffin split on who he wants handling the offense this fall, leading to the delay in naming a starter.
Lee admits that he has work to do with both quarterbacks to develop chemistry and find a rhythm. The defending Biletnikoff Award winner says he is also split 50-50 between the two and simply hopes to be able to build a relationship with whoever gets named the starter. That relationship building would be sped up if they were able to get one signal caller taking the majority of the meaningful snaps in practice.
There isn’t anything new that Kessler or Wittek can show Kiffin that he hasn’t already seen throughout this offseason. It is time for him to make a tough call and move forward, letting the team gel around whichever arm he chooses to hand the starting job over to. With final preparations for the season opener beginning, it is time for the Trojans to pick their horse and ride it out.