USC Football: Caleb Williams Sat, So Miller Moss Could Shine. The Holiday Bowl Decision That Shaped The Roster

Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Former USC Trojan quarterback Caleb Williams has at times been painted as a bad teammate, but according to Brett Kollmann of “The Film Room” on YouTube, and of the Bootleg Football Podcast, Williams wanted to give, three-season USC Football backup quarterback, Miller Moss a chance to shine on the largest platform available to him at the time, the USC vs Louisville in the Holiday Bowl.

Some even thought originally that this very move pointed toward Williams as a poor leader.

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NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Louisville at Southern California
Dec 27, 2023; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) celebrates after the Holiday Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Moss took full advantage of the opportunity. He not only led the team to a 42-28 dismantling of the 10-4 Cardinals but threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns.

The two other contenders for William’s job decided to enter the transfer portal. Freshman, Malachi Nelson entered less than two weeks after it was announced that Williams wouldn’t play in the Holiday Bowl. Redshirt-Junior, Issac Ward decided to transfer just days after the game. Nelson is now with Boise State and Ward remains uncommitted.

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Many transferring quarterbacks were linked to the Trojans, but the highest-profile candidates found homes elsewhere. The obvious question is, did Lincoln Riley step back in light of Moss’s tremendous performance?

It didn’t stop Riley from securing Jayden Maiava, UNLV transfer, to ensure a competitive atmosphere at the position heading into what will be a very telling 2024 season.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Southern California
Nov 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) speaks with quarterback Miller Moss (7) during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports