Clay Helton clarified Thursday that the USC football quarterback competition will continue through the fall unless there is clear separation.
There’s been a misunderstanding, Clay Helton said after USC football’s final practice before the Spring Game.
Though the head coach said on Tuesday that he would make a decision on the quarterback battle after the game on Saturday, Helton indicated Thursday that his words were misinterpreted and he is not locked into a naming a starter quite yet.
“I said at this point in time if I had to do something right now I’d probably go through camp because of how close the distance is, there’s not a great separation,” Helton said, acknowledging that the way he answered the question about the quarterback battle could have been misconstrued. “And what I mean by camp is training camp in the fall.”
Instead, he will continue to evaluate Max Browne and Sam Darnold as they compete for the starting job with an eye on making his decision only once there is a clear separation between the two.
In fact, the head coach indicated that releasing any sort of depth chart at this point would be impossible due to the number of players who haven’t gotten the chance to compete in spring camp.
Since Helton previously said that the gap was very close between the redshirt junior and his redshirt freshman challenger, a major shift would have to occur for a winner to be declared this spring. With that in mind, the quarterback battle is now expected to extend through the first few weeks of fall camp at least.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
Browne was considered the favorite to secure the job heading into spring after establishing himself as a close second to Cody Kessler in 2015. Darnold, who is participating in his first spring as a Trojan, has put up more of a fight than expected by displaying a strong arm and intriguing mobility.
Though Browne remains the more likely of the two to replace Kessler, the fact that the competition will go on should give Darnold a fighting chance.
Both will have a big opportunity to make their case for starting on Saturday at the Coliseum, where the Trojans will hold a Spring Game focused largely on situational plays.