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March 29, 2009

Picking a QB isn't cut and dry

Picking a quarterback seems simple enough. Watch all the guys competing for the job and pick the best one.

Problem solved.

But after one day of watching Aaron Corp, Mitch Mustain, Matt Barkley and Garrett Green battle for the top spot at USC, one thing became clearer than any other - this isn't as easy as it seems.

While each component of a football team needs to be operating at a high level if a team wants to contend for a championship, having a competent, effective quarterback is of even greater importance.

With that in mind, the USC coaches, primarily quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates and head coach Pete Carroll, aren't going to rush anything when it comes to finding a quarterback.

"I don't even want to get into individuals until I watch all the film," Bates said.

Picking the next Trojan quarterback is more like picking a college than a new pair of pants. Sure, the coaches can always change their minds, but if they do, it's a bit of a hassle.

Obviously, it is a crucial decision, and the process the Trojans' use to picking a quarterback is equally as crucial.

The numbers from Saturday's practice don't pain an entirely accurate picture of what went on. For instance, in seven-on-seven drills, Mustain's four completions were more than any other quarterback. However, two of those passes were easy looks to the flat.

Also, Green's misses were on a play where Damian Williams got pulled to the ground without a flag and on a play were the receiver drew pass interference.

In 11-on-11 drills, Barkley missed passes to some receivers that guys like Williams might have been able to catch.

Clearly, it matters what receivers are on the field as the quarterback takes his reps. It also matters what offensive line is protecting him.

Also, the players defending matter. It's obviously easier to try and pick apart the third-string secondary than it is trying to take on Taylor Mays and company.

Instead of trying to sift through all these variables, the coaching staff is taking a different approach. They're going to try and get all the quarterbacks on the field in similar situations.

They want to see Barkley with the best receivers against USC's best defense. They want Corp and Mustain and Green in the same situations.

Then, they'll compare.

And, eventually, they'll choose.


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