Lane Kiffin said on Saturday that he will play both Max Wittek and Cody Kessler in USC's season opener on Thursday night at Hawaii because neither quarterback had separated himself from the other during their offseason competition for the starting nod.
The Trojans head coach released the team's Week 1 depth chart, which features co-starters at quarterback, tailback, fullback and right guard, among other positions. But the main focus has been on the battle under center, which has been tightly contested all preseason.
“For us, we look at it as a great thing,” Kiffin said of his QB situation, according to the Associated Press. “We've got two guys that we feel great about. We don't feel like we have to limit our offense with either one of them in there.”
Wittek started the team's final two games last season when Matt Barkley was injured, completing 36-of-69 passes for 388 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions. Fellow redshirt sophomore Kessler has only two career passing attempts. However, Kessler gives the team more athleticism at the position, with the ability to make plays with his legs when necessary.
Kiffin said the Trojans would not decide on which quarterback would play the first series until the team landed in Honolulu on Tuesday. He did say, though, that he hoped to pick one starter sooner rather than later.
“Ideally, we're going to get to that,” Kiffin said, according to the AP. “Ideally, we're not going to continue to do this all year. But at the same time, I can't just [pick one] because we've had a way of doing things before.”
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.