Found March 31, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
LOS ANGELES - A few hundred USC fans gathered at the Coliseum and withstood the slight rain Saturday morning to watch the Trojans scrimmage. The fans saw what head coach Lane Kiffin says "wasn't much of a scrimmage" because the Trojans were once again shorthanded at the Coliseum. The defense dominated early and often, with the offense reaching the endzone just twice. Unless they came early, fans didn't get a chance to see Matt Barkley. The Trojans Heisman Trophy candidate participated in individual and 7-on-7 drills, but not in the scrimmage. Instead, on this Saturday, Barkley worked on his skills as a playcaller along with quarterback coach Clay Helton and offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu. It's been a staple of the spring - not Barkley's playcalling - but a lack of reps in team activities in favor of backups, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. And when Barkley has been under center, he has struggling, already tossing seven picks in the first eight spring practice sessions. "We'll get him back out of it," Kiffin said after practice on Thursday. "We don't like it. (But) it's not the end of the world. As we get closer to game time, we'll get him back to normal." Saturday's plan was once again for Kessler and Wittek to take all of the reps. "(The coaches) said me and Max were going to go the whole time, so it was nice just having to split reps the whole time and going back and forth," Kessler said. Kiffin was pleased with what he saw from his back up signal callers. "They did a good job running the huddle," Kiffin said. "They seem very mature when you're around the huddle with them and with the offense so it's good to see." The race for Barkley's future replacement is still up in the air. Kiffin is unaware of who will be awarded the No. 2 spot, but Kiffin is impressed enough with each of them to perform well in a game if called upon. "I'd be very comfortable with both of them," Kiffin said. "I think they're doing a great job. Neither of them has gone beyond the other one to know who the number two is yet but I think both of them would play really well." The quarterbacks aren't concerned with their ranking but trying to get better with the enhanced reps. "If you go out there every day trying to compete to become the backup that's not going to serve you well in the future when Matt's gone," Wittek said. "You have to compete to be the starter every day." The competition will continue Tuesday when the Trojans return to practice at Howard Jones Field.
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