It's official: USC doesn't have a starting quarterback

It's official: USC doesn't have a starting quarterback
USC quarterbacks Jalen Greene, left, Max Browne (4) and Sam Darnold, second from right, work out on the first day of spring practice. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

If it wasn't official before, it is now.

USC's football team will open summer camp without a starting quarterback.


Coach Clay Helton delivered the message on USC's sports website late Monday afternoon, just in case anyone missed his similar comments Saturday after the Trojans' end-of-spring game.

His statement Monday read in part:

"There were a number of open positions on our team this spring where players performed very well, including the quarterbacks. I met with them today and told them that, based on how well they played, I have decided to continue the quarterback competition into Fall Camp.  I will wait until then to name a starter."

The favorite is redshirt junior Max Browne; the top contender is redshirt freshman Sam Darnold.

Both had nice statistics lines from Saturday's game, which was really more of a scrimmage in which sides were lined up in certain situations.

Browne completed seven of 11 passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns. Darnold completed six of seven passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

Browne has an advantage in experience. He has appeared in nine games -- three last season and six the season before -- and has completed 11 of 19 passes for 143 yards in his career. Darnold has not taken a snap.

Darnold, the better athlete, was praised by Helton for his "speed, field awareness and arm strength." Browne was lauded for his "his maturity, poise and accuracy."

Either, or perhaps both, will need all those characteristics and more when USC opens its season against defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas.

USC's other quarterbacks are Jalen Greene and Matt Fink.

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