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USC, California pare down contenders in QB competitions

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
USC's Cody Kessler could be the last man standing in the team's quarterback competition.

Here are the latest developments in the Pac-12's four quarterback competitions:

Arizona

Junior-college transfer Jesse Scroggins, who started his college career at USC, missed practice over the weekend because of lingering concussion symptoms, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

In his absence, the Wildcats offense struggled badly over the weekend.

"I'm concerned with everything on offense," Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Everything."

That isn't a great sign for redshirt senior B.J. Decker, who backed up Matt Scott and even started one game last season.

Between Decker's inconsistency and Scroggins' absence, the door is open for true freshman Anu Solomon, which would be in line with Rodriguez's history at West Virginia and Michigan using Pat White and Denard Robinson.

California

Despite strong improvement over the summer, redshirt junior Austin Hinder is out of the race, Cal head coach Sonny Dykes told the Bay Area News Group.

"Right now, (redshirt freshman) Zach (Kline) and (true freshman) Jared (Goff) have kind of set themselves apart," Dykes said.

The Golden Bears will scrimmage in full pads for the first time Monday, which represents a major audition for Kline and Goff, as Dykes has indicated his desire to name a starter as soon as possible. Kline has the advantage in arm strength, but the longer the battle goes, the better it bodes for Goff, who would bring a dual-threat element to Dykes' spread offense.

USC

True freshman Max Browne is no longer in the mix to succeed Matt Barkley, leaving only redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek in contention.

"It's going from three to two," USC head coach Lane Kiffin told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

Kessler, who was 12-of-16 for 121 yards and one touchdown in the Trojans' first scrimmage last Thursday, still looks to have the edge on Wittek, who started in losses to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech last season.

Oregon State

Redshirt senior Cody Vaz and redshirt junior Sean Mannion continue to split reps about evenly, the Oregonian reports. Given the game experience both Mannion (eight starts last season) and Vaz (five) have, this seems like the toughest race to handicap.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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