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USC Football: Quarterback Max Wittek Named Matt Barkley's Backup

After much deliberation, filibustering and plenty delay of games credited to USC head coach Lane Kiffin, redshirt freshman Max Wittek has been named the No. 2 quarterback for the Trojans, over Cody Kessler.

Wittek and Kessler have been competing against each other for over year, dating back to Spring 2011, and since the moment they stepped on campus, the two have been deadlocked. Wittek is the higher ceiling, power arm quarterback, while Kessler is the cerebral game manager type of signal caller. It was your classic high risk/high reward versus the safe pick, and with another year of Matt Barkley at the helm of the USC offense, Kiffin ultimately went with the higher ceiling.

One belief that Michael Lev of the OC Register has pointed out in the past, is that Kessler’s better suited to be an in-game option for Kiffin, as he’s able to manage the offense efficiently. If that’s the case, then naming Wittek the starter could either be Kiffin’s way of foreshadowing the competition come Spring 2013(though he maintained the long-term job is 100 percent open), or it’s simply using Kessler’s safety as a fall back option.

Either way, look for both to get playing time and if the Trojans have their way, Saturday could be the beginning of the experience building process for both quarterbacks.

Should Wittek follow up his No. 2 bid to be successor to Barkley, he would be the third Mater Dei quarterback in the in the last five at USC, and ensure that the Trojans would have a Pac-5 quarterback from Orange County start a game in 15 of 16 years, with 2006 being the lone exception.

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Did Lane Kiffin make the right decision by naming Max Wittek the No. 2 quarterback?

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