USC Now mailbag: Quarterbacks, season expectations and Pete Carroll

USC Now mailbag: Quarterbacks, season expectations and Pete Carroll
USC quarterback Cody Kessler scrambles out of the pocket and looks to pass downfield during a game against Utah on Oct. 25. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

I am curious about the ability at the quarterback position after Cody Kessler. Max Browne has not shown to the public that he has carried his excellent skills in high school to USC, and I believe that he will…. II never saw Jalen Greene play in high school but I was impressed with his footwork during the spring game last year, and his throwing was better than I expected, but I have a gut feeling Browne could be a top college QB at some point - but I am curious what the staff thinks about him. Any thoughts?

     -- Skip Vose


Max Browne appears to have improved quite a bit this spring, though he continues to have a pass intercepted at most practices.

Browne played in six games last season, completing three of seven passes for 30 yards.


There is no doubt that Browne would play if Kessler were sidelined.

Greene does not appear ready, and it is likely the freshmen quarterbacks will redshirt.

Will USC blitz more and generally play a more aggressive style of defense in 2015?

Many USC fans feel that USC made it too easy on opposing offenses with our extremely conservative defense in 2014.


     --Eddie Dawes

Playing more aggressively has been an emphasis for the defense this spring.

The linebackers and defensive backs are noticeably making more plays and intercepting more passes.

The biggest question is the line's ability to make up for the loss of Leonard Williams. Antwaun Woods and Greg Townsend Jr. are sidelined because of injuries, so we probably won't have an answer until training camp.

Your recent USC mailbag that stated that "USC finished 9-4 last season, which is fine for a team led by a first-year coach" is misleading and inaccurate. Sarkisian is not a first-year coach, in fact he served five years as the head football coach of the University of Washington.

Sarkisian in not unlike a leader in the military, they continue to train new recruits every year, building a fighting and united unit to take into battle. They build on their experience and turn boys into men and individuals into team members to carry out the team's offensive and defensive strategies.

The difference is in the military, leaders did not recruit the best rookies available but took whoever came through the door. So football coaches have a distinct advantage knowing something about their selections and hoping to develop their players' potential.

The successful teams have outstanding coaches and that is the bottom line.


     --Daniel C. Garcia

That's an interesting analogy, Daniel. I don't think it's fair.

Last season was Sarkisian's first at USC and he didn't bring his team from Washington with him.

He had to install new schemes, teach players new techniques and the coaching staff had to adjust to players they didn't recruit.

There is always a transition period, so to expect close to perfection in a coach's first season is expecting too much – even when he has multiple years of coaching experience.

Maybe you forgot that Pete Carroll was 6-6 in his first season at USC.

Sarkisian and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting. It is fair to expect more in his second season at USC.

Pete Carroll does NOT seem to have an affinity for NFL personnel who have USC ties. He let LenDale White, Matt Leinart and Chauncey Washington go. He passed on offering Reggie Bush a contract too.

    --Gary Habekost, San Juan Capistrano

Gary, come on.

The Seattle Seahawks are full of USC personnel!

When I wrote about former Trojans with the Seahawks during their playoff run, they had nearly 20 coaches and players with USC ties.

That is far more than any other team in the league.

Carroll may have passed on a few USC players, but the fact is much of his staff is connected to USC.

Questions or comments about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag