Long after the rest of the players left the field Wednesday morning, USC quarterbacks coach Clay Helton put Max Browne through extra work.
When Helton departed, Browne performed more drills on his own, finally finishing 30 minutes after practice ended.
"The past few days, the ball was getting away from me and I haven't been capitalizing on some plays," Browne said. "Just trying to get back on track a little bit."
Browne has been mostly on point during training camp, displaying improved strength, touch on deep passes and mobility.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound third-year sophomore is preparing to serve as Cody Kessler's backup this season, and also to be the starter in 2016.
Browne was cast into the spotlight over the weekend after the departure of freshman quarterback Ricky Town, who will transfer to another school. Town's exit left some USC fans pondering the Trojans' depth at the sport's premium position, especially after Kessler completes his eligibility.
The short answer: USC remains stocked at quarterback.
An experienced fifth-year senior such as Kessler, a player with two seasons in the program such as Browne and a "talented rookie" in freshman Sam Darnold — along with quarterback-turned-receiver Jalen Greene, a redshirt freshman, in case of emergency — gives the Trojans elite depth, Helton said.
"I don't think there's any other university in the country that wouldn't want to be us at the quarterback position," Helton said.
USC players and coaches wished Town well in his pursuit of opportunity elsewhere. They know the chance to become USC's starting quarterback usually takes years.
Matt Leinart was a third-year sophomore when he got his chance in 2003. John David Booty was a fourth-year junior by the time he succeeded Leinart, and Mark Sanchez was a fourth-year junior when he followed Booty. Former coach Pete Carroll made Matt Barkley the exception when he awarded the freshman the job in 2009 after third-year sophomore Aaron Corp suffered an injury during training camp.
Kessler reiterated that "everyone's journey is different; everyone's going to get dealt a different hand." But he said he was glad, in retrospect, that he was forced to fight his way into the starting position in a competition with Max Wittek, who arrived at USC in the same 2011 recruiting class but left the program after the 2013 season and transferred to Hawaii.
"I like the process of how it took me having to kind of shut up and just work and not really complain about anything because that wasn't going to get me anywhere," Kessler said.
Browne, the 2012 Gatorade national high school player of the year, was the only quarterback in USC's 2013 recruiting class after completing what he described as "the fairy-tale high school career" at Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash. He arrived in the spring of that year intent on beating out Kessler and Wittek.
"Pretty much came here fully expecting to start," he said, "but, shoot, a lot easier said than done. I knew when I signed on the dotted line here that I had my work cut out for me."
Coach Steve Sarkisian and Helton have not disclosed their plan for Browne, but if history is any indication Kessler will play into the fourth quarter of each game unless he is injured.
Last season, Browne came on for one significant play in the first quarter against Utah after Kessler sustained a hit that forced him to the sideline. Browne's pass to a receiver in the back of the end zone was tipped away by a defensive back.
Darnold, 6-4 and 215 pounds, came to USC from San Clemente High. He has impressed in his first two weeks with the Trojans but is expected to redshirt.
"He's made some very special plays," Helton said. "We always knew he was arm-gifted, but then you see the qualities with the legs also to create plays."
Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said Town's sudden departure would not adversely affect the Trojans' recruiting. Glendora High senior Matt Fink has made a verbal commitment to USC.
In the wake of Town's departure, the Trojans are "not going to force it" in regard to recruiting quarterbacks, Sarkisian said.
Browne indicated there was no need. He noted that USC landed Kessler, Wittek and himself while the school was under NCAA sanctions, which ended in June 2014.
"Now that we're off sanctions and quote-unquote better off, or whatever you want to call it, I think you'll get the top kid or have a chance at the top kid every single year," he said.