Spring position preview: QBs

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
5:09
PM PT
BarkleyKelvin Kuo/US PresswireUnless he's injured, Matt Barkley figures to take every meaningful snap for USC in the 2012 season.
With two weeks left until spring practice begins for USC on March 6, we thought it would be a great time to start our position-by-position previews leading up to the festivities.

For the next 10 weekdays we'll break down the depth chart for one position group each day, paying special attention to potential things that can change in the spring.

There is no position at USC more clear-cut than this, at least as far as starters go. As long as he stays healthy, Matt Barkley will take every single meaningful snap for the Trojans in the 2012 season.

What isn't clear-cut, though, is who his backup is. It was complicated last season, and could be similarly so this season.

Freshman Cody Kessler was listed at No. 2, but the goal was to allow him and fellow freshman Max Wittek to redshirt. So, until Jesse Scroggins' throwing thumb healed last October, walk-on senior John Manoogian was the practical backup. (He has not yet decided whether he will return for a fifth year in 2012.)

The underlying sentiment all season was that whomever finished the season behind Barkley would be the early favorite to replace him if Barkley left school early for the NFL draft. Of course, that didn't happen.

And USC coach Lane Kiffin also maintained all year that the depth chart would reset whenever Barkley did depart. It's likely he'll take the same stance again this year.

So what, if anything, is there to watch in spring practice from the quarterback position? Plenty, actually. Remember, all three quarterbacks have already used their respective redshirt seasons, so there will be no confusions like there were a year ago with one guy being listed over another but playing behind him.

The player who wins the No. 2 spot will be the player who replaces Barkley, whether that's due to injury or a late-game, out-of-reach situation.

Kessler and Wittek continue to improve, if winter workouts and throwing sessions. Scroggins hasn't participated because he's academically ineligible and focusing on bringing up his grades.

Someone is going to emerge from the trio this season. The spring is the first chance to do it.

Check back Wednesday for the running backs preview.

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