Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Sears will start against Arizona State on Saturday, the team announced on Friday. This will be Sears’ first game action as a collegiate quarterback.
Freshman starting quarterback JT Daniels suffered a concussion in last week’s game against Utah, and was unable to clear protocol in time to earn the starting nod. He will likely be unavailable for this game even as a backup, as head coach Clay Helton said at Thursday’s practice that if Daniels wasn’t full strength, he wouldn’t see any action.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Fink, the second-string quarterback all season, entered the game against the Utes after Daniels’ injury. Fink led two touchdown drives before the end of the game, but suffered three broken ribs in the process. He will also be unavailable against the Sun Devils.
USC has been preparing for Sears to be the starter in practice this week, but with only one week to prepare, the team was forced to adopt a simpler game plan for its new signal-caller.
“We went in and tried to be Simple Simon, not really creating any new concepts or ideas, but things our kids are good at. I look forward to seeing how it pans out,” Helton said Thursday. “I think [offensive coordinator] Tee [Martin] has done a nice job of just saying ‘I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, I’m going to do things we think Jack can handle.’”
In addition, the Trojans are preparing for every eventuality at the position.
“Jack has had a great week of work, as have [redshirt sophomore Thomas] Holden and [freshman] Brandon [Perdue],” Helton said. “They’re ready to go …We’ve got a lot of faith in Jack, in Holden, in Brandon to do their job.”
Helton was complimentary of Holden and Perdue’s preparation.
“The good thing is they’ve been in the meetings, even though they haven’t gotten the physical reps,” Helton said. “We’ve carried Holden into every game as a backup quarterback. So he’s learned game plans, he’s prepared for game plans, and that’s why you train a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth quarterback, just for these situations.”