USC Football: Can Trojans' Freshman Max Browne Win QB Job?

Can USC Freshman Max Browne Win QB Job?

3/27/14 in NCAAF   |   chris901   |   24 respect

Experience matters in college football. Talent becomes seasoned with time played in real games, and for quarterback Cody Kessler of the USC Trojans, experience is something that he has.  Blog Photo - USC Football: Can Trojans' Freshman Max Browne Win QB Job?

The quarterback position at USC is wide open in the eyes of new head coach Steve Sarkisian, but Kessler’s competition, Max Browne, has only done time at the high school level. Browne does not know the feeling of college defenders barreling in on the pocket, nor does he know the difficulty of finding receivers in the midst of those college defenders.

Kessler has the upper hand heading into initial practices, and if he performs how he did last season, he will take the starting job once again. His veteran status gives him the edge over Browne for a couple of reasons.

First of all, Kessler has a strong touchdown-to-turnover ratio. Last season, he had 20 touchdown passes compared to only seven interceptions, which is a direct result of his experience at the college level. Putting a young quarterback into the fire as a backup is one thing. Making Browne a starter with the pressure of performing well all the time is a recipe for disaster.

Browne did complete 70 percent of his passes in high school and only had 25 interceptions in four years, but then again, that is only the high school level. Statistics that jump off the page rarely transfer identically to college. One can safely guess he will not throw 146 touchdowns in four years either, like he did in high school

Second, the junior-to-be Kessler has chemistry with the receivers who are already in the program. He already has built rapport as a reliable quarterback and the receivers trust him to put the ball where they can catch it, and also to not throw it in a place that can get them hurt. Browne has undeniable talent, but he will need to do more than have a few impressive practices to show these USC receivers he has what it takes to lead them in games on a regular basis.

With Max Wittek’s decision to transfer, Browne moves into the second-string spot on the roster, which puts him in a perfect position to take the reins of the offense once Kessler moves on from USC.

The Trojans should have an exceptional follow-up season to what they did in 2013. They have returning talent like running backs Javorius Allen and Tre Madden, and defensive end Leonard Williams. Their 2014 recruiting class is the best in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 13 in the nation (247Sports).

This means that Kessler could have a breakout year that would make him a strong candidate to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. At that point, Browne could take the quarterback position based on his credentials. Otherwise, Browne could learn in the system until Kessler graduates, in which case he would still be the top choice for the job.

Sarkisian does want to run a spread offense as the head coach of the Trojans, but Kessler has proven he can pass from the pocket. Unless Browne shows he can master the slightly altered system, and Kessler struggles mightily with it, the Trojans should stick with their veteran for now.

As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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