USC Football Spring Camp 2018: It’s Fink vs. Sears at quarterback

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Replacing Sam Darnold is the big task of the offseason for USC Football. Spring Camp is the first chance Matt Fink and Jack Sears will get to lay their claim at quarterback.

There will be one USC Football storyline commanding all the attention this spring: Who will lead the Trojans in Sam Darnold’s absence?

This is the second quarterback competition in Clay Helton’s head coaching tenure. The first saw established veteran Max Browne win the starting job before relinquishing it to Darnold after three games.

Will this battle be more straight-forward than the drama of 2016?

It’s time for for a look at USC’s quarterback position going into Spring Camp 2018:

Roster Rundown

Departing (1):Sam Darnold

Returning (2):Matt Fink, RS-So.Jack Sears, RS-Fr.

Fall Enrollee (1):JT Daniels, Fr.

It’s a simple problem with a complex answer. USC lost quarterback Sam Darnold to the NFL and now they need to replace him.

This spring, there are only two options in the equation: Matt Fink and Jack Sears.

Fink served as Darnold’s backup in 2017. In mop-up duty, he went six-of-nine on pass attempts for 43 yards, doing more damage with his feet with 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

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Sears spend the year redshirting and running the scout team.

Both will have to look over their shoulders as five-star Mater Dei star JT Daniels is due to arrive in the fall, supposing he can complete his goal of graduating early.

Biggest Battle

The two-man race between Fink and Sears isn’t just the biggest battle at the position, obviously. It’s the biggest battle for the entire roster.

Daniels presence may be looming over the competition this spring, but the two do have a head start, both in already knowing the playbook and building an understanding with receivers.

Spring is a key moment for the two to position themselves relative to each other, before Daniels enters the fray.

Will Fink’s game experience and seniority keep him ahead of Sears? Or will Sears make his move?

Player to Watch

Sears is the man to watch this spring.

He showed off his arm during practice this fall, but also his inconsistency. He’ll need to sharpen up in order to beat out Fink as the safer pick.

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If Darnold’s example is anything to go on, this could be a huge moment for Sears. The leap from redshirt year to Year 2 was great for No. 14. No. 13 will look to make a similar step forward.