USC Football Spring Camp Review: Quarterbacks leave door wide open

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

The quarterback battle was the most disappointing contest of USC Football Spring Camp as Matt Fink and Jack Sears didn’t quite click.

The most anticipated competition for USC Football this spring didn’t exactly deliver.

At quarterback, Matt Fink and Jack Sears opened the race to replace Sam Darnold as the leader of the Trojan offense with an often-frustrating camp.

Here’s how the quarterbacks made it through…

Roster Rundown

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

Fall Enrollee (1):JT Daniels, Fr.

Anyone who read or heard coverage of spring camp already knows at least a little about how Fink and Sears fared: not well.

After a reasonably encouraging first practice for Fink, the veteran of the group, he began to slide. He started throwing interceptions—and many more near-interceptions—and struggled to hold onto snaps. He supplied the most comical moment of camp when he hit Toa Lobendahn in the back of the helmet with a pass during a 7-on-7 period. Most discouragingly, his completion percentages during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 took a dive. For a quarterback needing to show his efficiency, it was a tough couple of weeks.

Fortunately, Fink finished out camp on a brighter note. He turned things around across the final practices and ended with what appeared to be an incompletion-less day during the “Spring Game” practice.

Sears followed a similar trajectory, in his own way. With a bigger arm, the redshirt freshman tried to air it out more during the early stages of camp, but couldn’t find the connection with receivers. Meanwhile, he missed routine passes wildly at times and threw his fair share of turnovers. During one Saturday practice, he failed to complete a pass during the 11-on-11 period. He also tossed two interceptions and fumbled.

Like Fink, Sears did manage to salvage his final week of practice. It started with the second-to-last Saturday scrimmage, when he finally starting hitting on the deep ball. He completed an impressive array of passes, bouncing back after throwing a pick six on his first attempt. It was a clear sign of what he could become as a quarterback.

Biggest Winner

Unfortunately for Fink and Sears, the spring standout was neither of them. Maybe it was JT Daniels, who found time between his busy class schedule to attend a few practices.

More from Reign of Troy

Daniels is the five-star quarterback from Mater Dei who reclassified into the class of 2018 so that he can attend USC a year ahead of schedule. He’ll arrive on campus this June after graduating early and immediately jump into the competition for the starting job.

If there’s a winner to be found at quarterback this spring, it’s the guy who wasn’t in pads.

Biggest Disappointment

The competition in general was a disappointment because it never felt like it got going. Neither Fink nor Sears managed to pull ahead while neither fell particularly far behind. And that’s not because it was a neck-and-neck race, but because they never got out of the starting blocks in the first place.

Both quarterbacks showed a little bit of what they could bring to the offense as passers and runners if they win the starting job. Unfortunately, neither really looked like a starter just yet.