User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Kiffin staying coy about No. 25 USC's starting QB

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and coach Lane Kiffin all know who's starting at quarterback for No. 25 Southern California on Saturday night.

Advertisement
Kiffin just won't allow his quarterbacks to tell anybody else - not even the rest of the Trojans.

``That's Coach Kiffin's decision,'' Kessler said. ``He does what's best for us in his mind, and it works out for us.''

USC's elaborate quarterback competition has extended into the second week of the regular season with no clear winner or resolution. Kiffin has refused to publicly name a starter this week, saying both sophomores will be ready to play against Washington State at the Coliseum.

Kessler played into the second half after starting the Trojans' season-opening 30-13 win over Hawaii last Thursday, and he's widely expected to start again in their Pac-12 opener. Kiffin said his starter would be the player who took the most snaps in practice Tuesday night, and All-American receiver Marqise Lee said Kessler was that player - before catching himself and qualifying his answer, not wanting to give away his coach's secret.

Not that the rest of the Trojans really know who's starting anyway. Kiffin is keeping that info on a need-to-know basis.

``I don't address them that way, just like I don't address who starts at running back, or right corner,'' Kiffin said. ``It's their job to play their position. They're not coaching, they're playing, and they've been explained that a number of times.''

That's not stopping the quarterbacks' family, friends and fellow students from trying to find out who's ahead in the race to replace Matt Barkley. Both players say they've told close family members who's starting Saturday, but they're doggedly following Kiffin's instructions with the rest of the world.

``Thank God I only had one class today, so no questions,'' Wittek said with a grin Tuesday night.

Kessler is having much the same awkward experience.

``I've gotten tons (of questions),'' Kessler said. ``People that I haven't talked to in a while, just blowing my phone up. All these random people are, `Hey, we're going to buy tickets. Are you starting? Let me know.' I don't text people back like that.''

Kiffin said he's put plenty of thought into his unusual stratagem. He claims he's going to extreme lengths of coyness because he wants to keep pressure off his two quarterbacks, who never significantly separated themselves during last season, spring ball or training camp.

``I think it's very important to protect that position,'' Kiffin said. ``Because as soon as you start tearing apart that position ... it gets so scrutinized. You need to stay really positive with them, because your whole team - it's not just what they hear, it's what they read all the time from outside sources. The head coach dictates opinion by how he talks about the position. That's just my philosophy.''

The quarterbacks both claim they're buying into Kiffin's plan, and Lee now claims it doesn't matter who starts. Back in training camp, the Biletnikoff Award-winning receiver said he would prefer to have one starter so he could build a rapport with him.

Both quarterbacks previously said they would prefer a more traditional arrangement, but they're publicly behind Kiffin's plan now.

``We hate the attention on us,'' Kessler said. ``We understand we're the starting quarterbacks, but we want it on the whole team. ... (Kiffin is) going to do what's best for us. He put me and Max in the know, but at the same time, he's trying to protect the team from having it take over the team.''

Neither quarterback took over the team during the messy, yet ultimately one-sided, win at Hawaii last week.

Kessler went 10 for 19, passing for 95 yards. He threw the Trojans' only TD pass to Nelson Agholor, putting them ahead to stay late in the first half after a slow offensive start - but Kessler also threw the Trojans' only interception and was hurt by drops, including a painful fourth-down mistake by Lee.

Wittek entered in the second half and went 5 of 10 for 77 yards with the game largely decided by USC's dominant defense.

Neither quarterback had to be exceptional against the rebuilding Warriors, particularly with the Trojans running the ball 42 times. USC is deep at tailback, and that strong running game could limit both quarterbacks' chances to separate themselves in a competition that's been raging since last season, when both were neck-and-neck to be Barkley's backup.

``We both entered USC with the goal of being the next starting quarterback at USC,'' Wittek said. ``We both still hold that goal, and we're fighting every day. We just take the situation for what it is and make the best of it.''

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Nelson: MAC Championship Preview
Edwards: Pac-12 Championship
ASA: Big 10 Championship Preview
Edwards: SEC Championship Preview
Williams: ACC Championship Preview
Williams: Big 12 Report - Week 14
Sportsbook.ag: PSU, Wisconsin hook up
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 14
Sportsbook.ag: Friday's Top Action
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
7-3 Saturday, 30-10 L40, +1,659 TY
13-2 L15 G-Play Streak
14-5 L4 Saturdays, 59% +1,356 TY
4-0 Saturday, 12-5 L17 Totals
11-3 L14 G-Plays, +1,363 TY
9-4 L13 Guarantees, +1,605 TY
4-1 Saturday, 11-4 L15 G-Plays
35-12 L4 Saturdays, 44-20 Streak
17-6 L3 Saturdays, 26-13 L39 Run
17-7 L24 G-Plays, 42-24 L66 Totals
+2,675 Over/Unders This Year
27-11 L5 Saturdays, 30-12 Streak
10-4 CFB Record L14 Picks
9-3 L12 CFB Guarantees
8-2 Record L3 Saturdays
10-4 NCAA FB G-Plays TY
12-6 L18 Guaranteed Plays
4-1 L5 Guaranteed Plays
10-4 L14 G-Plays, 16-8 L24 Picks
3-1 Saturday, 8-3 L11 Picks
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks - Baylor Bears at West Virginia Mountaineers
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1659
Pat Hawkins + 1605
Kyle Hunter + 1363
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 480
James Manos + 445
Stephen Nover + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Pat Hawkins 57 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 784
Scott Rickenbach + 744
Marc Lawrence + 717
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2675
Micah Roberts + 2083
Kyle Hunter + 1701
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 715
Scott Rickenbach + 565
Pat Hawkins + 505
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership