USC coach Lane Kiffin decided to play two quarterbacks in the season opener at Hawaii.
Perhaps he was hoping either Cody Kessler or Max Wittek would emerge as the clear leader, but that didn’t happen in Thursday’s 30-13 win.
Somehow, between Thursday and Kiffin’s Sunday evening teleconference, he made a decision.
Kiffin says he knows who the team’s starting quarterback will be in Saturday’s Pac-12 home opener against Washington State (0-1).
As for everybody else?
“You guys will see Saturday who he is,” Kiffin said.
For the second consecutive week, the Trojans’ coach is being coy when it comes to the starting quarterback.
Going into Hawaii, Kiffin said he’d play both guys, but would give no indication of who would get the start. On Sunday, he appears to be set on just one guy, but, of course, won’t let the cat out of the bag.
“I just always feel the need to protect that position with (the media) because everybody reads you,” Kiffin said. “These are things we do within our team and don’t need to be out in the media.
“I’m just not (announcing the starter) because I don’t want all the stuff with these two kids, people outside of here, tearing them apart up and down.”
In one corner is Kessler, who got his first career start in the Trojans’ 30-13 win at Hawaii. He completed 10 of 19 passes with a touchdown and an interception. The redshirt sophomore from Bakersfield played the entire first half and the first possession of the second half, which resulted in a three-and-out.
In the other corner is another redshirt sophomore, Wittek. Matt Barkley’s successor at Mater Dei, Wittek completed 5 of 10 passes for 77 yards playing most of the second half.
Kiffin said he thought Kessler started the game well before he “kind of stalls out.” He noted Kessler’s “poor decision” on the screen pass that resulted in an interception, but said he was able to end the half well with a touchdown and a field goal-scoring drive.
“(There are) some good things for him to build on,” Kiffin said of Kessler.
As for Wittek, Kiffin was complimentary of his throws.
“He really suffered from two long ball drops,” Kiffin said of Wittek. “If you put those two completions to him for another 80 yards there, that’s going to be very different numbers, so Max did well.”
Kiffin said both quarterbacks have been informed of the decision and unlike going into the opener at Hawaii, he doesn’t anticipate playing both.