QBs Wittek, Kessler will both play in opener at Hawaii
LOS ANGELES — The silence has broken.
And there shall be two.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin announced Saturday that Max Wittek and Cody Kessler will each play at quarterback in the team’s season opener Thursday at Hawaii.
Who gets the start is still in the air. That decision won’t be made until after the team arrives in Hawaii. There is also no guarantee the quarterbacks will get equal reps come game time.
“After a lot of research,” Kiffin said, “a lot of thought (and) communication from our whole offensive staff and really breaking down all of spring and all of fall we’ve made a decision that we anticipate playing both guys in the opening game. That really is about how well both the guys did.
“It didn’t show itself that one guy was above the other guy.”
With that, the quarterback competition, essentially, continues.
Kiffin says he doesn’t anticipate going with a two-quarterback system for the duration of the season but with each playing in the game they can both be evaluated on their game performance.
There’s a saying: If you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have one.
Kiffin doesn’t believe that relates to the quarterback situation he’s overseeing.
“For us, we look at it as a great thing,” Kiffin said.
He says he doesn’t feel like he has to “limit” the offense for either and nothing changes based on either of the them being in the game.
“It was always just up to coach Kiffin, whatever he felt,” Wittek said of Kiffin’s decision. “I wouldn’t say it was a surprise or anything.”
Added Kessler: “I’m just excited that I’m getting an opportunity. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. That’s all I’ve ever asked for. That’s why I stayed (at USC).”
So now, the situation Kiffin wanted to avoid is very much on track to take form in Hawaii on Thursday — playing two quarterbacks. The USC head coach said any time one of the quarterbacks appeared to be pulling ahead, the other would impress. He went on to say the quarterbacks will continue to be evaluated through the rest of Hawaii game week.
This time last week Kessler appeared to have a decided advantage. However, things may have taken a turn in the Trojans last trip to the Coliseum.
In the mock game, Kessler was picked off twice. It marked the first time he’d thrown an interception in the Coliseum during fall camp. The picks were both a result of tipped passes but they were turnovers nonetheless.
Wittek, on the other hand, didn’t throw any picks in the Coliseum in scrimmages during camp.
“We just had to weigh everything out and we felt this was the best decision for our football team,” Kiffin said. “Not for anybody else.”