With the team’s final practice before its season opener in the books, USC head coach Lane Kiffin was asked a question that has dogged him throughout the entire preseason:
Do you know who will start at quarterback?
Up to this point, the answer to that question had always been no. But Kiffin changed his tune on Tuesday.
“Yup,” Kiffin said.
True to form, though, he refused to reveal the decision to the media on hand.
“I can’t tell you [which quarterback will start],” Kiffin said. “I’m not gonna tell you the end of the movie before you go to the movie. You’re just gonna have to watch.”
Kiffin revealed scarce details about USC’s roster or starting lineup decision’s for Thursday’s game against Hawai’i, but did announce that redshirt junior Josh Shaw and freshman Su’a Cravens will start at free and strong safety, respectively. Kiffin refused to disclose whether or not redshirt junior strong safety Dion Bailey was injured or simply beat out by the former five-star recruit.
For the second straight season, Kiffin will face off against his former colleague in Hawai’i head coach Norm Chow. Kiffin expects much of the same from the Chow-led Hawai’i offense.
“I’m sure they’ll take a lot of chances, just like they did last year,” Kiffin said. “They’ll be excited to play, just like everyone is in their opener. It sounds like their quarterback has been doing a good job in scrimmages. I’m sure they’ll pressure us with a lot of new players. I expect them to be very aggressive.”
In last year’s meeting between the two teams, the Trojans scored early and often en route to a 49-10 victory, with the first touchdown coming on USC’s first offensive snap.
Though the Trojans are headed for exotic Hawaii, Kiffin has stressed that luaus and beach days will not be on the agenda for his players.
“We’ve spent a lot of time with our coaches making sure they stay on top with their position groups,” Kiffin said. “This is a business trip. Our players understand that this really isn’t a vacation for them.”
Follow Nick Selbe on Twitter @NickSelbe