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USC football: Quarterback Cody Kessler makes a move

August 9, 2011 | 11:34 am

Kessler_275 Injuries forced Matt Barkley to sit out one game in each of the last two seasons, so finding a capable backup quarterback is one of USC’s priorities during training camp.

Freshman Cody Kessler took a big first step toward challenging redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins for the job with an efficient and mostly poised performance in USC’s first scrimmage on Monday night.

Linebacker Dion Bailey intercepted a pass by Kessler and returned it for a touchdown, but Kessler appeared unfazed. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns against reserves (first-unit defensive linemen, middle linebacker Chris Galippo and safety T.J. McDonald were held out of the second half) and impressed with an array of throws.

Coach Lane Kiffin described the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Kessler as “a gamer,” saying the former Bakersfield Centennial High star was “Not the guy that walks on the field in warm-ups and blows you away.

“There’s been a lot of guys like that that have been great quarterbacks. A lot of that has to do with his work ethic and the way he approaches the game. He’s very mature in his approach to being great.”

RELATED:

The Times' Gary Klein discusses USC's first scrimmage

Simplicity is the Trojans' new mantra on defense

-- Gary Klein

Photos: Cody Kessler. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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