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USC scrimmage a chance for QB hopefuls Max Wittek, Cody Kessler

The scrimmage Friday at the Coliseum allows the players to again make a case to be the starter for Lane Kiffin's Trojans, with USC's first game less than two weeks away.

August 15, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC Coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Max Wittek (13) during a practice earlier this month.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Max Wittek (13) during a practice… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

USC's quarterback competition, seemingly a tight race between Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, could turn Friday when the Trojans scrimmage at the Coliseum.

An obviously superior or subpar performance by one or the other would ease Coach Lane Kiffin's decision about a starter.

But both third-year sophomores played well in the Trojans' first scrimmage last week. And another solid showing by both could make it a tough call for Kiffin with the Aug. 29 opener against Hawaii less than two weeks away.

USC is scheduled to scrimmage again Wednesday. Whether that will serve as a final tuneup for an announced starter or a continuation of the competition remains to be seen.

Kessler started the first scrimmage and worked mainly with the first-team offense. Kiffin said afterward, and confirmed Thursday, that Wittek would be first up Friday.

Wittek said he was "looking forward to making good decisions, putting the ball in the hands of my athletes and letting them work."

Kessler said he wanted to show that he was comfortable running the offense, making the correct reads and demonstrate that film study has helped him learn from mistakes.

Bailey on crutches

Safety Dion Bailey was on crutches a day after suffering what Kiffin described as a hip injury.

Kiffin said the senior "should be back pretty soon" and that "it's not as bad as it looks."

Perhaps, but it's not a positive development for a secondary that could use Bailey's playmaking ability and leadership.

Meantime, the situation at cornerback remains unsettled.

"Guys still have ups and downs, and flash and get beat, so it really hasn't shown itself yet," Kiffin said, adding that Friday's scrimmage "will be big."

Quick hits

Receiver Marqise Lee, who is recovering from a bone bruise, participated in more drills but was pulled out by trainers near the end of practice. … Former All-American receiver Mike Williams attended practice. "He was a great player here and I'm proud of him, he's maturing," Kiffin said. "And that's what they used to look like."

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