The case for quarterback: Kessler vs. Browne

USC coach Steve Sarkisian says the quarterback competition is an open one. But is it really? After one week of practice, redshirt junior Cody Kessler took the majority of first-team reps. Max Browne, the challenger. Will Browne be able to knock off the ten-win returning starter?

USC coach Steve Sarkisian announced shortly after accepting the head coaching position in December that the quarterback spot would be an open competition come spring.

It's redshirt junior Cody Kessler, a returning starter and ten-game winner, versus redshirt freshman and five-star recruit Max Browne.

So who will Sarkisian's first USC quarterback be?

If he is favoring either quarterback, Sarkisian has given no clues.

The case for Kessler is strong. He started all 14 games for the Trojans in 2013, leading them to ten wins despite a season in which the Trojans saw three head coaches. Kessler's 65 percent completion percentage included 236-of-361 pass attempts for 2,968 yards, twenty touchdowns and seven interceptions. His improvement from his first start to the Trojans win at the Las Vegas Bowl was undeniable.

But that was in former coach Lane Kiffin's pro-style offense. The question remains how Kessler's strong campaign in 2013 will translate to Sarkisian's up-tempo style. Through the first two days of spring practice, Kessler has taken the solid majority of the repetitions with the first team.

Browne is the challenger this season after spending 2013 on the sideline, learning Kiffin's pro-style offense. Now, it's back to the up-tempo system Browne ran through his high school career, where he led Skyline High School to three state championship game appearances in Washington, winning his final two. He was the top-rated quarterback and No. 8 overall prospect by Scout in the 2013 recruiting class.

Sarkisian recruited both Kessler and Browne out of high school.

If the competition is close, will the decision come down to who Sarkisian can build his offense around for the foreseeable future?

If that's the case, Browne is the answer.

But after a ten-win season, it's absolutely Kessler's job to lose.

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