The first practice of the Steve Sarkisian era is in the books.
- How was practice different under Sark than previous USC head coaches? "100%," said junior QB Cody Kessler. "It was way different. We did literally nothing the same." The biggest change was the new uptempo offense, which led to practice at warp speed. Kessler estimated that the offense ran 120 plays in an hour and 45 minutes.
- Redshirt freshman QB Max Browne is comfortable with the no huddle, shotgun approach because he ran it in high school. "It works both ways. If you make a mistake, you're glad you're going right back. If you threw a touchdown like I did today to George Katrib, you don't get to celebrate either," joked Browne. "It allows you to get into rhythm. That's the biggest thing."
- Kessler and Browne are competing for the top spot despite the veteran leading the Trojans to 10 wins last season. "I have been competing my whole life. Even if they didn't say that, I'd still be competing," said Kessler about the open competition.
- He also has his eyes on the biggest fish saying that he thinks about being better than the best quarterbacks in the nation like Heisman winner Jameis Winston and UCLA's Brett Hundley. "I need to be better than them today. I need to outplay them today," he described his mindset.
- Browne has gotten noticeably stronger since arriving last spring. He has gained 15-20 pounds of muscle, he said. And, he has grown up on the field. "This practice last year, I was wide-eyed for sure," Browne said. "This go around, I'm stepping in there and knowing what to do."
- Given the speed of practice, Sarkisian does not assess the quarterbacks in the moment. "We're moving at a pretty fast clip out there, and we're trying to assess everything at once, it's hard to do that,"he said. "We'll look at the film. There's plenty of stuff for both of them to learn from."
- The quarterbacks are dealing with a change at center after Marcus Martin declared for the NFL Draft. Max Tuerk, who has started at tackle and guard at USC, is getting the first crack on the ball. "Max is a very talented player. He's very bright. He could probably play three different positions on the offensive line," Sarkisian said. "We have to see how we evolve up front. It is comforting to know that you have an experienced player at center when you are operating at this pace."
- Wide receivers Steven Mitchell and George Farmer participated in practice, but are being brought along slowly coming back from respective knee surgeries. DL Leonard Williams (offseason shoulder surgery) and DB Josh Shaw (stress fracture in his foot) will likely be limited during Spring Football as a precautionary measure to keep the injuries from lingering into the season.
- Sark gets the last word: "All in all, it was awesome coming through Marv Goux Gate for the first time as a head coach and coaching these guys. I had an absolute blast."
- Here are all of Sark's words from day one including praising Hayes Pullard's leadership, the talented stable of running backs and more...