Cassel was the only reserve quarterback to see playing time last year and he is expected to fight for the open job in spring 2003 following the graduation of Carson Palmer so this move was not an easy decision for him to make since he will lose valuable practice snaps at the position while he is working with the tight ends. Those QB snaps will now go to Matt Leinart or Billy Hart, two players that Cassel will compete against next spring.
Where the move makes sense, however, is that it will benefit the team since Cassel is an extremely talented athlete who has the size and ability to make an impact at his new position. The Trojans head into the year with only one experienced tight end in Alex Holmes and he is certainly a terrific player but one element he lacks is the speed and downfield ability that Norm Chow found last year in Kori Dickerson. We signed that kind of player in Dominique Byrd but it is hard to expect that Byrd will be able to step in to the rotation immediately so the move of Cassel is a good one. Matt won't be the deep threat that Dickerson was but he showed last season that he can contribute as an H back and the most important thing he brings is the competitive spirit of someone who doesn't want to sit on the bench and who is willing to put what is best for the team ahead of what may be best for him as an individual. It is that type of thinking which will go a long way toward returning the Trojan team to it's rightful place among the college football elite