Clay Helton is facing mounting pressure to turn things around at USC and after a disappointing, 27-10 loss to Stanford over the weekend, the first-year head coach has decided to change quarterbacks. On Monday, Helton announced redshirt freshman Sam Darnold would start at quarterback Friday night against Utah.
Darnold is more of a dual-threat quarterback than redshirt junior Max Browne, who opened the year as the starter. The hope is obviously that the threat of Darnold running the ball will add a spark to the currently anemic Trojan offense.
Browne and Darnold have both seen action this year and both guys have had success. So far this season, Browne has completed 55 of 87 of his passes (63.2 percent) for 474 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Darnold has completed 14 of 22 passes (63.6 percent) for 136 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
Let’s be honest, Browne hasn’t been the problem so far. USC’s offensive line has been atrocious and the offensive scheme in general has failed the team’s players. Junior receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn’t gotten the ball enough and the running game has not gotten rolling consistently, despite a wealth of talent.
Darnold’s first start will come in an incredibly harsh environment at Utah Friday night. For the kid’s sake, here’s hoping the offensive line gives him some protection.