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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Kiffin plans to name a backup quarterback

By Pedro Moura

LOS ANGELES -- Three days into 2012 fall camp, USC coach Lane Kiffin said he has been pleased with the play of both quarterbacks contending to back up Matt Barkley this season.

He says he plans to name the winner of that competition sometime in the next few weeks.

Redshirt freshmen Cody Kessler and Max Wittek have both demonstrated improvement, Kiffin said Wednesday. He'll determine which one has improved more by the end of August, in time for the Trojans' season opener on Sept. 1.

"I would foresee having a No. 2," Kiffin said in response to a question about whether or not he'll specify a No. 2 and No. 3 before the season. "I wouldn't know how to do it any other way with reps.

"There's not too many reps to go around to the backups once you get into the season, so I would think we would have to have a No. 2."

There's nothing to read into yet in camp. The two second-year guys rotate who gets to go first on each drill, and Kiffin said that will continue for the time being.

Over the past year and a half, Kessler has been known as the more cerebral guy between the two and better leader but prone to some mechanical issues because of his smaller (6-1) height. Wittek has the stronger arm but was also less physically developed. Kiffin said they're each erasing some of those concerns

"I think both guys are doing well," Kiffin said. "Max has gotten bigger and stronger in the offseason and Cody has really improved on a big area of concern, which was lengthening his stride and getting away from the line of scrimmage.

"It's good to see and you can tell they've both improved."