Fall Camp Preview: The Quarterback Dilemma


The first day of Fall Camp has come and past yet the biggest question in the room remains what to make of the Trojans ever-growing quarterback controversy.

All eyes are focused on the efforts of the youngster Max Browne, the mobile and accurate Cody Kessler and most certainly the game-experienced Max Wittek. Interestingly enough, all three quarterbacks provide a different set of skills, making this race truly unpredictable.

Head Coach Lane Kiffin has preached status quo from the start, and not much has seemed to change through spring football, the spring game at the Coliseum, summer practice and now one day of Fall Camp on the practice field.

“It’s not always about the biggest plays,” said head coach Lane Kiffin. “It’s about managing the game and taking care of the football and winning the turnover margin.”

Each quarterback presents a different set of skills for the Trojans, which make fans salivate over the possibility of mending all three into a super quarterback.

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Max Browne: The Freshmen Phenom

The youngest and most highly-recruited of the bunch, Max Browne provides a unique skill set for the Trojans. He is versatile inside and out of the pocket, flashing a strong arm combined with patience and good vision on the field.

In a very composed and demonstrative manner, Browne keeps things simple on the field, allowing his natural progression to play itself out and allowing an open receiver to emerge. That being said, Browne is often hesitant to take chances deep down the field. This though is a part of his game that will emerge over time; when it does, we know he will provide plenty of arm strength to deliver strikes.

“I’m just focused on whatever reps I get,” the humble freshmen Max Wittek said. “We need to keep improving. If I can keep improving, I will continue to feel confident with my abilities.”

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Cody Kessler: The Crafty Manipulator

Cody Kessler is an interesting blend at the quarterback position, but do not sleep on this man’s ability. He posses super quick feet in the pocket, which help him avoid pressure with some of the best mobile quarterbacks in the conference.

Kessler has an over-the-top delivery, but can also drop down to a sidearm strike on the run, hitting his weapons with accuracy all over the field. What will truly separate Kessler amongst the front-loaded cast is his ability to make quicker decisions in the pocket.

After shining in the USC Spring Game, leading the Trojans in passing yards and touchdowns, Kessler enters fall as the most confident quarterback in his personal abilities.

“Without getting too [much] in detail, we know what’s at stake and I love it,” Kessler said. “I thrive off of competition.”

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Max Wittek: The True Gun Slinger

Max Wittek has the greatest experience of the Trojans quarterbacks, playing in the final two games of the 2012-2013 season where he showcased his greatest strengths and weaknesses.

The Trojans will definitely get plenty of firepower from the offense, from a man never lacking in confidence, if Max Wittek were to win the job this fall.

Working diligently over the summer in search of that crown, Wittek has made major improvements heading into the start of Fall Camp. His major strength relies in throwing the deep ball, which complements his star-studded athletes well. Early on in fall camp, Wittek has already gone to the barrel with his major strength.

In all, the man has shown plenty of touch and intelligence in the pocket. The big question on the table this fall is whether he can take the next step and accurately deliver crossing routes, curls and precise throws on the post to his tight ends and running backs.

Final Food For Thought: 

All three quarterbacks understand the importance of Fall Camp, and will look to continue their growth and development in the final weeks before the August 29th opener in Hawaii.

“Competition brings out the best in everyone,” the confident Wittek said. “I love the chance to battle with these guys for the starting quarterback job.”

This competition will continue to play out for the better, helping each player develop their skills in a tough environment.

During Pac-12 Media Day, Lane Kiffin never ruled out the possibility of playing a rotation of quarterbacks against Hawaii. While that seems destructive, giving players flimsy confidence, the early portions of Fall Camp show that all three quarterbacks could start and contribute right away.

Expect the next few weeks of Fall Camp to be filled with plenty of fireworks, with each of the talented quarterbacks of Troy working to craft their skills to fit best in the system.