Browne preparing for battle

USC redshirt freshman Max Browne will challenge returning starter Cody Kessler and freshman Jalen Greene for the starting quarterback position when the Trojans open Spring practices March 11. Browne discusses what he needs to do to win the job and what the transition period under Steve Sarkisian has been like...

Quarterback Max Browne spent his freshman season at USC watching football from an unfamiliar place.

It was from the sideline.

Scout's No. 1 quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class had spent his previous three seasons as the starting quarterback at Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline high school.

He led his Spartan squad to three Washington State Championship appearances, winning two titles.

He was a headline midyear enrollee at USC in December 2013, participating in all 15 of USC's spring practices. He was a challenger in the quarterback battle between himself and redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks into fall camp that Browne was eliminated by former coach Lane Kiffin for the starting quarterback job.

He spent the rest of the Trojans 10-4 season watching games from the sideline, signaling in plays for his teammates.

The former five-star says his experience redshirting the 2013 season was "huge".

"I was able to learn, obviously it was a whole different offense, but I was able to get exposed to that and just kind of learn what to do on and off the field," Browne explained to Scout. "Now going into my redshirt freshman year, being here three semesters already, I think I have a leg up and learned a lot.

Now, however, Browne will have to learn all over again. This time, coach Steve Sarkisian's new offense. The thought, however, doesn't bother Browne.

Sarkisian is opening the quarterback competition once again and Browne's competitors, Kessler and freshman Jalen Greene, will be tasked to learn the uptempo offense, too.

Browne says to win the starting job by the end of camp he needs to "play within the system".

"For all of us it's a new system," he said. "So we should be on an even playing field. So I just need to play within the system and take what the defense gives me and just do what Coach Sark and [quarterback] Coach [Clay] Helton tell me to do.

"I'm studying all the time," said Browne. "I think it definitely helped learning Kiff's offense first. It's a little more elaborate, a lot more words and vocab to know, but Sark's offense is cool."

Though Sarkisian's no-huddle offense will take Browne back to the system he ran in high school, he says it will still be one of the bigger adjustments to make in Sarkisian's system.

"Obviously it's what I did in high school," he said. "So it won't be too tough, but just going from huddle and under center to moving towards the more wide open offense – that's probably going to be the biggest transition for not only me but for everyone on the team."

Browne will challenge for the starting quarterback job when the Trojans open spring practices March 11.

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