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Starting quarterback job up for grabs at USC

New head coach Lane Kiffin says every position is open for competition. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This March 30, 2010, 07:53 AM EST

One of the main reasons the University of Southern California had so much success under former head coach Pete Carroll was the abundance of talent that took the field at practice every day.

Carroll—who went 97-19 during his tenure at USC—believed that the more talent you had on the practice field, the more competitive it would be every day you went to work.

As a result, the cream would rise to the top and force those fortunate enough to hold a starting spot to protect it—rather than sit back and get complacent.

Now, new head coach Lane Kiffin—who worked under Carroll at USC from 2001-2006—is implementing the same approach.

Kiffin made it clear this offseason that every job was up for grabs and no player was safe.

Monday, Kiffin said that statement included the starting quarterback position as well, according to ESPN.com.

Sophomore Matt Barkley—who started 12 games in 2009, throwing for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true freshman—will enter spring practice on Tuesday competing with senior Mitch Mustain.

"That's open," Kiffin said. "Both guys will have exactly equal reps tomorrow."

Mustain has been a backup at USC the past two seasons following his transfer from Arkansas after the 2006 season. Barkley went 9-3 as a starter in 2009, missing one game (a 16-13 loss at Washington) due to a shoulder injury.

Pete Carroll may be gone, but the competitive spirit is alive and well in Southern California this spring.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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