Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Kessler Must Elevate Game To Remain Starter

The new era of Steve Sarkisian has begun in spring practice.  Fast-paced, high-powered football is the new look for the 2014-15 USC Trojan football team.  Sark’s quickly implementing the up-tempo shotgun formation in his quarterback class.  This ultimately means the bar of expectation has been raised in potential starting QB Cody Kessler.  Not only because Kessler has to adapt to Sarkisian’s new offense, but mainly because of the talent in the “open” quarterback competition.

Sarkisian’s niche is the quarterback position (as well as the running back position, a quiet but effective talent also).  His offense also depends heavily on its play at quarterback.  Thus, there is an expectation of excellence that Kessler has to live up to….or step aside to the next man up.  Kessler, a pro-style QB, thus far in spring practice has seemed to begin his assent to the next level in adopting the up-tempo shotgun offense.  He must continue to elevate his game to keep redshirt freshman Max Browne off of his heels and remain starting quarterback.  Browne has the prototype size (6’5 215), as well as more recent spread offense experience, pedigree, somewhat of a fan favorite, and almost everything else to potentially seize the starting job if Kessler falters.

However, so far Browne hasn’t seemed to really ‘wow’ Coach Sarkisian.  Kessler has taken most of the snaps and thrived with them.  He’s separated himself in the QB competition, as he should, being the only quarterback on roster with in-game experience.  To add to the competition, Sarkasian brought along recruit Jalen Greene, who flipped from Washington to USC upon Sarkisian’s hiring, to compete.  With more a focus on the spread offense,  as well as the departure of Max Wittek, Greene fits well into Sark’s system.  Although a bit thin from a weight perspective, Greene can definitely establish himself as a (dual) threat in the quarterback race.

Sarkisian hasn’t set a timetable on choosing his starter.  However, he has definitely taken more a liking to Kessler.  Kessler seems to have picked up the new offense at a higher level than Max Browne.  This pace must continue, however, because Max Browne in his own right is ever so slowly picking up the pace.  He has all the intangibles of a great QB in the making, and it has seemed to push Kessler to move in the right direction as well and build upon his 2013-14 season as Trojan’s starter.  Kessler ended 2013-14 well in his first season as a starter.  But starting quarterbacks are expected to end great in L.A. .

Tags: Cody Kessler Jalen Greene Max Browne Quarterback Steve Sarkisian

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