Should USC Football Play Both Max Browne and Sam Darnold?

Quarterbacks Max Browne and Sam Darnold during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
Quarterbacks Max Browne and Sam Darnold during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Should USC football follow in the footsteps of Alabama, Notre Dame and Texas, employing a two-quarterback system with Max Browne and Sam Darnold?

Most fans and observers thought the USC football defense would be the problem against Alabama, especially the defensive front.

For the first quarter or so, the defense held up fairly well — after that not so much.

The offensive, on the other hand, looked completely out of sync from the beginning.

USC’s offensive line had real problems blocking anyone, whether running or passing. As good as it can get when running on all cylinders, things can get ugly just as fast when nothing seems to work.  By the half this was a glaring mismatch.

How can the Trojan coaches make the offense more effective? Consider using a second quarterback more strategically.

Giving Sam Darnold the football in the middle of the meltdown was a change in the second half, but why not let him start a quarter or a half even.

Frankly, Max Browne’s first drive was great but when the Trojans became predictable then the Alabama line teed off and he didn’t stand a chance.

How do you counter that powerful rush from that impressive defensive line? Use a quarterback with elusive ability.

By the time Darnold got in the game, the result had already been decided.

Meanwhile other storied football programs including Alabama game planned to use two QBs in their offensive scheme.

Notre Dame used two as well, DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire.

Texas also maxed out the potential of the quarterback position by using two guys with very different skill sets.

Tyrone Swoopes was a bruising runner, Shane Buechele offered the skill of a very good passer. More importantly this made the Longhorns very difficult to defend — about 50 points worth against a good Irish defense.

The dual-threat quarterback trend is here to stay in college football. Texas couldn’t roll out a DeShaun Watson-level dual-threat talent, so they played two quarterbacks that gave them almost the same effect.

In many ways, a two-quarterback system is like the old thunder and lightning package for running backs, something most football teams are plenty comfortable with.

SEE ALSO: Ranking the10 Best USC Quarterbacks of All-Time

Programs that take advantage of that seem to be playing chess offensively while predictable offenses, like USC’s, are playing checkers. It’s easy to see how that is going to turn out.

Way down south, LSU has similar offensive problems as the Trojans.  They have the best running back in the land, Leonard Fournette, and still their offense is stuck in the mud.

The folks at LSU will require blood very soon, which will likely involve showing Les Miles the door.

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Once again, a school rich in tradition insists on running an offense that is becoming extinct.  You would think someone with the track record of Miles might want to pay attention.

USC does have options, like playing Sam Darnold in a much more strategic way, or maybe even utilizing Jalen Greene’s abilities.

If Browne and Darnold were so close that the quarterback competition came down to the wire, then why not try to play both until you can at least score one touchdown and then reevaluate?

Many have longed for a more mobile quarterback in Troy for a long while. Many USC faithful were fascinated and fully supported a dual-threat athlete like Darnold taking the reins.

Elite teams across the country are starting dual-threat QBs or are at least playing a dual threat option with excellent results. Why not USC?