Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/29/12

After a year and a half of a quarterback competition that was too close to call, the USC Trojans have finally picked redshirt freshman Max Wittek as the backup to Matt Barkley.

Wittek narrowly won the spot over fellow redshirt freshman Cody Kessler. Wittek is a product of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, the same high school where Barkley and Matt Leinart played prior to USC.

Wittek and Kessler have battled for the job since enrolling at USC in January of last year. Kessler had a slight edge early on and would have backed up Barkley last season if necessary, but both quarterbacks were able to redshirt in 2011.

Kessler is consistent and would have been trusted to take care of the football if he’d needed to play as a freshman. Wittek has a bigger arm and more big play potential, but he also takes more risks and has thrown more interceptions (though Barkley threw more than either during fall).

At the beginning of  the preseason camp, Kiffin said he would name a backup by the beginning of the season in order to make in-season practice reps most effective.

As Wittek and Kessler continued to progress and compete during camp, the coach told the media he could see situations in which both quarterbacks played. Those situations, hopefully, will come during the fourth quarter of USC wins.

Kiffin said there wasn’t a single factor that elevated Wittek to the number two spot, and he has insisted throughout the preseason that the team would be comfortable starting either of the talented quarterbacks.

“We feel very confident about both guys; they can both run our offense, really,” he said.

“There’s not much difference at all between them, and in the end … somebody had to be No. 2, so Max is No. 2. Hopefully we’ll be in a situation or at a point this year, or a couple of times, where both of them get action – that would be ideal for us.”

Kiffin also emphasized that the current order will have no bearing on who will take over the starting job in 2013 after Barkley graduates.

Beginning this spring, Wittek and Kessler will be in a three-way battle with incoming freshman Max Browne to determine the Trojans’ next starter.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Michigan AD: Nike deal is largest in the country

Randy Moss beats Antonio Brown in sprints during workout

LeBron James believes his ‘legacy will speak for itself’

WATCH: Crash at Tour de France sidelines riders

Buehrle drank beer during World Series game he pitched


Redick gives Clippers ‘F-minus’ grade for losing Jordan

Report: PGA pulls Grand Slam event from Trump course

Three things to watch for on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Report: Warriors trade David Lee to Celtics for Gerald Wallace

Rivers believes Gates' PED use was unintentional

T.O. has advice for Donovan McNabb after latest DUI

Sonnen: McGregor is 27 pounds over his weight limit

WATCH: Connor McDavid turns heads in Oilers scrimmage

Member of Pirates grounds crew swallowed by tarp

Video allegedly shows BYU RB recruit being shot

Vin Scully teaching the history of the American flag is a national treasure

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

How the Pacers' new identity will look

Matt Bonner blames iPhone 6 for elbow injury, shooting woes

Evaluating Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60M contract

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

Five running backs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Five RBs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Watch to watch on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.