Second career start ahead for Wittek

USC redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second career start on New Year's Eve when the Trojans face Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Wittek spoke with FOX Sports NEXT following bowl week practice.

EL PASO, Texas -- USC redshirt freshman Max Wittek won the backup quarterback battle over fellow redshirt freshman Cody Kessler at the close of fall camp and has been ready to check in the game at a moment's notice since.

"I've been ready to go," Wittek said after practice this week. "Especially with the new helmet rule, if it comes off you've got to go in for one play, so I've been very ready."

The first meaningful playing time of his career also happened to be his first career start on November 24th with the Trojans hosting top-ranked and undefeated Notre Dame.

"Especially with all the national publicity that game got, it kind of hyped things up a bit," he said.

Wittek completed 14-of-23 passes for a touchdown and threw two interceptions in the 22-13 loss.

With doctors unable to clear Matt Barkley as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in the loss to UCLA, the Trojans will once again call on Wittek when they face Georgia Tech.

"This game will definitely give me the opportunity to tone things down a bit," Wittek said, "prepare the way I need to prepare, getting in the film room looking at their defense, and I hope that nothing they show me on game day will be something I haven't seen yet."

With a position battle looming in his future, Wittek has taken full advantage of the extra reps with Barkley out and during the extra month of bowl practices.

"Anytime you get extra reps it's going to help your progression," he said. "With Matt being gone, not only is he not there and I'm getting the one reps, but it's one less quarterback so that's more reps in it and of itself. It's been good for me and I've learned a lot."

Though he remains focused on the New Year's Eve matchup against the 6-7 Yellowjackets, Wittek admits he is having some fun in El Paso, highlighted by Coach Lane Kiffin wearing a sombrero. "I didn't actually see it," Wittek said, "but I saw the picture of it and that was very very funny."

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