<
>
Insider

Roundtable: USC-Hawaii predictions

8/29/2013

The WeAreSC staff answers some of the questions heading into the USC opener vs. Hawaii.

Who starts at quarterback?

Garry Paskwietz: Cody Kessler. Throughout fall camp it has been Kessler going with the first unit more often than not. Even with the status of a starter up in the air, the choice here says that Kessler will get the first shot at showing that he is the man for the full-time job.

Johnny Curren: Max Wittek. With Wittek and Kessler still apparently neck and neck in Lane Kiffin’s eyes, I think that the USC head coach opts to go with the guy with two starts under his belt in Wittek. And while there is certainly a lot to like about the former Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei standout, starting with his rocket for an arm, Kessler has been very impressive at times as well -- particularly in scrimmage settings -- so I’m guessing we see a fairly equal dose of both.

Greg Katz: Everybody and his sister thinks that Kiffin is going to start Kessler because he has earned it. In fact, having seen most practices and all three scrimmages, I too would pick Kessler, even if it’s a 51-49 percent deal. But I am not doing the picking, Kiffin is, so I believe that he’ll will start Wittek to show he is his own man.

What will be the first play?

GP: A Tre Madden run to the right behind Kevin Graf. Madden is the probable starter with Silas Redd staying home with his injury and Madden is likely to give the Warriors defense all they can handle.

JC: Blast left. How better to start the season than to run right behind two of the best offensive line performers of fall camp in left guard Max Tuerk and left tackle Chad Wheeler. Not only would the call ease the quarterback into the flow of the game, but it’s also a smash-mouth play that would set a physical tone.

GK: Okay, is there anybody out there that doesn’t think the Trojans will run the old bubble screen? I’d like to see the Las Vegas odds on the first play being a bubble screen to Marqise Lee; however, I also think it will be a tailback off-tackle blast so Kiffin can show he is committed to the running game this season. Do I believe that? No, but then again Kiffin likes to surprise.

Who will be the game MVP for the Trojans?

GP: I’ll go with Hayes Pullard. Not only will Hayes pile up some solid tackle numbers but I’ll predict an interception and a caused fumble as well.

JC: Lee. Is there a more obvious choice than the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner? Lee caught 10 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown versus the Warriors in last season’s opener, and barring any ill effects from his recent shoulder injury, I expect a similar outing this time around.

GK: It would be easy to pick Lee or fellow receiver Nelson Agholor. Well, somebody has to throw the ball to them, so maybe they will get their shots, but I’ll say that the MVP will come from the defense and I am going with senior defensive end Devon Kennard. I think he will record three sacks, a deflection, and perhaps even lead the team in tackles.