Five things we learned in Week 1, No. 3

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
9:17
PM PT
USC’s out on spring break this week and not practicing, but each weekday through Friday, we’ll bring you one thing we learned from the first three days of practice last week and what it might mean for the future.

Our first item covered Marqise Lee‘s continued progress and our second the new-look Aundrey Walker. Third is this: Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are both going to get a lot of time this spring.


It makes sense, but it's still interesting.

Lane Kiffin said last week, after the Trojans' first two practices, that he was going to significantly limit Matt Barkley's snaps this spring in order to give him fewer chances to get hurt and the other quarterbacks more chances to get better.

What is that going to mean for this spring? We're going to get a better look at both backups than last spring or fall. (Jesse Scroggins should see some snaps too, but he seems to be falling further and further down the Dillon Baxter-style spiral.) And we should have a pretty good idea of who to expect to win the job after Barkley departs next season.

Right now, it's still fairly even, as it has been since both players arrived on campus last January. Kessler continues to command the huddle like a player at least a year or two more experienced than him, and Wittek continues to show flashes of the make-every-throw ability coaches at all levels find inherently attractive.

Here's what is even more interesting about this situation going forward: How is Kiffin going to handle the process of naming the starter? He could name one at the end of next spring, like Pete Carroll did with Aaron Corp in 2009, allowing the choice to get comfortable with the new position. Or he could wait until midway through fall camp and keep the competition up all summer, which could push each player more.

The second option would also have the side-effect of making both guys stay put for the 2013 season. If, say, Kiffin named Wittek the starter next April, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Kessler announced the next month he was transferring. But if Kiffin gets both players to stick around, that gives him more options all season long, and more options are always good.

Of course, this is all speculative, and we should be able to speculate better in about a month, after we see what both players do with their increased snaps.

Check back Thursday for item No. 4.

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2013 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
C. Kessler361236296820
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen1357855.814
T. Madden1387035.13
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
M. Lee5779113.94
N. Agholor5691816.46
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense174.2218.1392.3
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring28.521.37.2