As Hawaii game nears, no word yet on a starting QB for USC


LOS ANGELES—A day after Lane Kiffin drove an ice cream truck and delivered treats to members of the Trojan Marching Band, USC’s coach and his players returned to practice Friday to start game preparations for Hawaii.

Kiffin still hasn’t publicly chosen a flavor of the season—or the week—when it comes to a starting quarterback. And there was no media access to Kiffin or players after the Trojans’ closed workout.

Kiffin must decide if Max Wittek or Cody Kessler will start Thursday when USC—ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Sports coaches and Associated Press media polls—plays at Aloha Stadium.

Last season, USC defeated Hawaii, 49-10, at the Coliseum in Norm Chow’s first game as Hawaii’s coach.

Kiffin and Chow, of course, have plenty of history. In 2001, Chow was offensive coordinator, Kiffin an ambitious tight ends coach on Pete Carroll’s first USC staff. Carroll nudged Chow to the NFL after the 2004 season to make way for Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian as co-offensive coordinators.

Kiffin, who left USC for the Oakland Raiders after the 2006 season, has coached against Chow in the NFL, at Tennessee and USC. Chow was offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, UCLA and Utah before taking over at Hawaii.

During his weekly radio show Thursday, Kiffin said, “It doesn’t matter,” when asked what it was like coaching against Chow. “Coaches, we coach. We get into the game … you don’t even realize who’s on the other sideline, you’re so focused on your team.

“So that’s really irrelevant.”

Hawaii last season averaged 297.4 yards a game, which put it 118th among 120 major college teams. Chow hired former Texas-El Paso offensive coordinator Aaron Price in February, but dismissed him for undisclosed reasons on the eve of training camp.