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USC's Max Wittek hopes for a real taste of home

Redshirt freshman quarterback is spending a few days in Connecticut before joining the Trojans in El Paso for the Sun Bowl, and he is looking forward to maybe seeing some snow.

December 22, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • Max Wittek is spending a few days in Connecticut before joining the Trojans in El Paso for the Sun Bowl.
Max Wittek is spending a few days in Connecticut before joining the Trojans… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Max Wittek would not mind a little snow before the Sun Bowl.

USC's redshirt freshman quarterback was scheduled to board a flight for Connecticut on Saturday after the Trojans completed their final campus workout in preparation for their Dec. 31 game against Georgia Tech.

Wittek grew up in Connecticut but moved to Orange County to attend Santa Ana Mater Dei High. He is one of several out-of-state players who will travel home for a three-day holiday visit before meeting the Trojans in El Paso on Wednesday.

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"I haven't seen snow in so long," Wittek said. "I hope to see some."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Wittek is on track to make his second start in place of injured Matt Barkley, who has not practiced since suffering a shoulder sprain against UCLA on Nov. 17.

Coach Lane Kiffin continues to make comments as if Barkley might play — "We're going to look at it when we get down there and see if he can practice," he said Saturday — but the senior is no doubt looking ahead to the NFL draft-evaluation process.

Barkley attended practice Saturday but left before its conclusion.

Meantime, Wittek has packed his iPad so he can continue to study Georgia Tech.

"This is the time of the year, and one of our small opportunities, that we do get to go and be truly with our family, so I'm definitely going to take advantage of that," he said. "But needless to say, I'll definitely be watching film and preparing for the game."

Final time

Defensive end Wes Horton and center Khaled Holmes were among the seniors who practiced for the final time at Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field.

"I'm taking one last look," Horton said as he exited.

Kiffin praised the seniors for persevering through a coaching change and NCAA sanctions that prevented the Trojans from participating in bowl games in 2010 and 2011.

"I can't imagine a group of seniors that has through so many ups and downs," Kiffin said. "They've been through a lot."

Position watch

With Holmes having exhausted his eligibility and Abe Markowitz in limbo regarding a possible sixth season, Marcus Martin is working at center.

The former Crenshaw High standout has started 20 games at left guard, but he said he welcomed the switch.

"It's enjoyable to get a different aspect of the game," he said. "It's helping me grow as a player because I'm learning the whole offense."

Quick hits

USC is not scheduled to practice again until Dec. 26 in El Paso. ... Kiffin said the entire roster, including walk-ons, would make the trip.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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