COMMENTARY | Whoever it was that coined the phrase "two heads are better than one" probably wasn't a head football coach -- but probably would've had the sense to not start a season with a two-quarterback system at a major university.
After very disappointing results, USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin announced this week that he has pulled the plug on his experimental alternating quarterback system (or what I'm calling "the AQS"). And to make things even weirder, he didn't make the announcement at a usual press conference but amongst the cute cat, nut-smashing and screaming goats videos on YouTube.
Maybe he was worried that any press conference would result in the attendees chanting "Fire Kiffin" like the home crowd at the team's pathetic loss at the hands of the Washington State Cougars last weekend.
Kiffin says he's going to start Cody Kessler over Max Witek this Saturday against Boston College. This makes some sense since so far this season Kessler has the team's one passing touchdown -- two, if you count the interception returned for a touchdown by the Cougars.
"The AQS" seemed flawed from the start -- more like something a Division II school would do. The Trojans' offense has been terrible this season, averaging less than 300 yards a game after averaging over 450 per game last year. Something needed to be done.
When you're slipping away from the top, you have to mix things up to avoid descending into the misery of mediocrity and insignificance. And if you don't have the talent, you can employ diversionary tactics. Maybe do a lewd dance routine at an awards show or release a video where you make out with construction equipment.
These are things that are so ridiculous that you can distract everyone from bigger issues like lack of talent or poor management choices. I'm talking about the USC Trojans here -- and definitely not Miley Cyrus.
Making the move away from "the AQS" before the BC game is smart. USC is heavily favored against this team that, yes, has won two games this season, but those were both home games against weak opponents. Also, BC won only two games all last year.
In stark contrast to the team's offensive struggles, the Trojans' defense has been stifling and they'll surely control an already somewhat stifled BC offense that relies heavily on the run. And if BC takes to the air, it's going to be up against a defense that has a Pac-12-leading six interceptions.
So, the Trojans' offense will have a significant margin for error -- which could take some pressure off Kessler and allow him to make a few mistakes without fear of losing the game or, more significantly, losing his job.
There have been some whispers in the wind that maybe the Trojans should unleash true freshman Max Browne -- I mean, he couldn't do worse than Kessler and Witek. Heck, they could throw pads and a jersey on a random PoliSci major and he'd do as well those two so far.
If the pressure on Kiffin increases in the season, he may pull the trigger on Browne as a last-ditch attempt to save his job. But even someone who would use "the AQS" isn't dumb enough to waste that move until it's absolutely necessary.
A win over the mighty 2-0 Eagles of Boston College will make everyone look good -- Kessler as quarterback, Kiffin as coach and every single defensive player on the team.
And this could possibly be the diversion that allows fans of the team to have hope for the rest of the season and forget that anything as silly as "the AQS" ever existed in the first place.
Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a sportswriter. You can see him on Twitter @JedRigney.
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