Clay Helton says he will name a starting quarterback after USC football’s spring game at the Coliseum Saturday.
Clay Helton has his man. At least, he’ll have him following the USC football spring game at the Coliseum.
The Trojan head coach told reporters after practice on Tuesday that he will name a starting quarterback shortly after the final spring outing for USC on Saturday.
Helton noted that there is not much of a gap between Max Browne and Sam Darnold as the two continue to duke it out through the last week of spring camp. Though Browne earned praise as a back up last season, even picking up the tag of “quarterback 1A” behind Cody Kessler, Darnold has made the most of his strong arm and athleticism keep the race close.
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Still, Helton does not want the competition to linger into fall camp, which was a notable problem for Lane Kiffin in 2013 when Kessler and Max Wittek battled for the starting job. The two quarterbacks were in competition through the first week of the season, even splitting time in the first two games. However, the Trojan offense struggled without a clear leader and USC was upset at the Coliseum by Washington State before Kiffin named Kessler as the undisputed starter.
The timing of Helton’s decision suggests that Browne will ultimately emerge as the starter. Darnold is an intriguing talent but the wealth of experience Browne has in the program makes him the safer choice if the two are on even footing as passers.
Whichever quarterback earns the nod, we’ll know soon enough.