After Tuesday's practice, Bates shed some light on why Aaron Corp was named the starter and what it all means going forward.
"Aaron Corp is going to be the starter for the spring game, (Matt) Barkley is right behind him at No.2 and then Mitch (Mustain) is No.3," Bates said. "We have tried to be fair to all these guys as far as series and reps, and Aaron has won it as far as we are right now, but it's still an open competition.
"All three guys have worked their tail off and they are really good quarterbacks."
So what was it that stood out about Corp's performance?
"Aaron's really managed the game. He's moved the team, no interceptions, he's very smart with the ball," Bates said. "The last scrimmage was outstanding by Aaron, he showed some throws and threw the ball deep a couple of times.
"At the end of the day, he has just been able to take the team down the field and not turn the ball over. That's the biggest separation right now."
Bates said the final decision came after discussing the situation with Carroll on Monday.
"Coach Carroll and I talked about it yesterday and we made the decision to do it today and we are going to move forward," Bates said. "They are still going to compete and we aren't down on anybody. Everybody has had a very good spring."
What was the benefit of naming a starter now and not at the end of spring?
"So we can have a full week of practice with Aaron being the guy right now and see how he handles it," Bates explained.
When asked if redshirting Matt Barkley was something he had thought about, Bates made it clear that is not in his plans right now.
"Barkley's right there. Barkley could be playing against San Jose State. He's had a heck of a spring, he's been able to handle everything that we have thrown at him as far as all the football," he said. "It has been very impressive for an 18 year-old that should still be in high school.
"He's producing, he's moving the ball down the field. He's great on third downs and every scrimmage he does something very positive. He has to take care of the little mistakes as far as throwing interceptions and knowing when to throw it away, but right now, no.
"To make that answer short, no. We are not talking about redshirting him, we are talking about playing him."
With the emergence of Barkley, Bates stressed that the quarterback competition will heat back up at fall camp.
"They haven't been named anything as far as San Jose State," he said. "It's going to be an open competition and they are going to compete every day that they are out here and for the rest of their career.
"They have to compete. It's part of Coach Carroll's philosophy and if you watch us practice everyone is competing. Taylor Mays is competing to keep his job and that's part of the game."
So what advice did the coach have for his new leading man?
"When we enter the fall camp he's No.1 and I told him not to look back," Bates said. "It's for Mitch and Matt to catch him.
"It's his job to lose."
USC QB coach Jeremy Bates answers questions from the media. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)
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