Barkley’s understudies prepare for the future

The USC football team wrapped up its second scrimmage at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. The scrimmage, which was open to the public, emphasized the immense competition occurring during spring practices.

As spring practices come to a close in two weeks, USC coach Lane Kiffin emphasized the need to continue individual skills development. “I don’t really think there is any real big thing but just continuing with individual development,” Kiffin said. “Guys like Tre Madden have come over with not a lot of experience there and continue to develop them in their roles.”

Back-up battle · Freshman quarterback Max Wittek is battling fellow freshman Cody Kessler for the second spot on the depth chart. - Corey Marquetti | Daily Trojan


Aside from major roster changes, like Madden switching to running back, much of the spring practice attention has been fixed on who will be the back-up quarterback. Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Kiffin stated that he would be confident playing either of the quarterbacks [Wittek and Kessler]. Yet Kiffin is not sure who will earn the number two position.

“I would be very comfortable with both of them. I think they are doing a great job,” Kiffin said. “Neither of them has gone beyond the other to know who the No. 2 is yet.”


The quarterback competition for the coveted backup position has not phased redshirt freshman quarterback Max Wittek.

Wittek believes that the quarterback competition is necessary to prep for the future.

“If you go out there trying to compete to be the backup, that is not going to serve you well in the future when Matt is gone,” Wittek said. “You have to compete to be the starter every day.”

As emphasized by Kiffin, players are using spring ball as an opportunity to work on their individual skills before the season officially commences.


Redshirt junior offensive tackle Kevin Graf has been switched to the right side during spring practices.

“Right now, I’m focusing on my game and getting better at it,” Graf said. “You can always get better at everything. Most specifically, I have been working on my run-and-pass game.”

Entering the 2012 season, Graf is asserting himself as a leader on and off the field.

“I am one of the older guys and one of the leaders now,” Graf said. “I’m trying to be vocal and I am trying to be that guy that is always there for everybody, hyping them up, if they ever need help giving it.”


Though the scrimmage was open to the public, having family and fans in the Coliseum seats does not worry the USC Trojans.

“I don’t think it makes much of a difference at all,” Wittek said. “We come out here and practice whether it’s over at USC or here in the Coliseum. I think we take it as it is and the more people that come out, the better it is because we have to get used to playing in that environment.”

The Trojans have two weeks remaining in official spring practices before returning to the Coliseum for the spring game on April 14.