What three things mattered in the USC spring football game and what to take away from the scrimmage.
And the USC starting quarterback is …
Keep on guessing – they were both terrific.
Max Browne has the talent, the experience, and the next-man-up part of the equation, but he’s being pushed hard by Sam Darnold, who has a little more mobility along with the skills to be fantastic.
Browne completed 7-of-11 passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns, while Darnold was on hitting six of his seven throws for 63 yards and two scores.
The young guy held his own against the anointed one, and now the coaching staff knows that there might not be a wrong answer.
It’s probably Browne’s job to lose if push came to shove and the Alabama game was tomorrow, but Darnold has 6-4 size and excellent mobility and speed to add something different.
The kid has all the tools, too.
The spring game turned out to be a positive – USC has two terrific options and either one can start and be great.
It also helps them both that …
The offense is going to be fun
When the AD is a Hall of Fame deep threat wide receiver, the offense had better be great.
The passing game might not have a Lynn Swann, but it was good last season averaging 270 yards per game. Even without Cody Kessler, though, it could be phenomenal this year.
It’s a fun positive for the offense when Darreus Rogers takes a Browne pass for a 64-yard score early in the spring game.
Rogers led the Trojans with 91 yards on three catches with that score, while JuJu Smith-Schuster was JuJu Smith-Shuster making five grabs for 55 yards and three scores. Throw in tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe’s 65 yards and a score on five catches, and the 13 yards per catch that the offense averaged, and USC is going to be bombing away.
The running game showed it’s going to be a blast, too, with Justin Davis averaging close to eight yards per carry with 62 yards and two scores and the team averaging close to six yards per pop.
Expect the USC O to roll.
But here’s the problem …
The O might be great, but the D might just not be that good
After a tough 2015, the USC defense needs to show in fall camp that it’ll have the potential to be a whole bunch better.
The defensive line had a hard time getting to the quarterbacks – there wasn’t any hitting them, anyway – and it’s still a young group that’s going to be a work in progress.
It was a hit-or-miss spring camp for the Trojan front four, with a whole bunch of upside and skill, but not enough experience to rely on. That’s a problem with Alabama coming up first on the schedule.
The spring game wasn’t the time to make a true judgement on where the line is at, but it’s going to need a whole lot of work, and to find the right rotation in a hurry come September.