Wittek seizes backup QB spot for Trojans

The battle for No. 2 is complete. Max Wittek has been named USC’s backup quarterback behind Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley, head coach Lane Kiffin announced on Tuesday.

Since spring, when the competition really started to pick up steam, Kiffin has contended Wittek and fellow redshirt freshman Cody Kessler were virtually even.

The USC head coach said during fall camp, that with the season approaching he would have to name a backup in order to make sure that player received the snaps designated for the No. 2 quarterback in practice.  

That guy is Wittek.

“We feel very confident in both guys and feel that both guys can run our entire offense,” Kiffin said on Tuesday. “We made a decision just based off of who would go in first and that’s Max Wittek.”

It is believed the winner of the No. 2 spot would have the upper hand in being named Barkley’s successor for the 2013 season, but Kiffin says no such thing.

“This will have nothing to do with who starts next year for us,” he said. “That job will be completely open (in the) spring and next fall. Hopefully we’ll get in a situation, at some point, where we can play both of them this season.”

Tuesday’s announcement was the opposite of last year’s results when Kessler was named Barkley’s backup at the end of fall camp, although neither player took a snap during the regular season and both redshirted.

Wittek, who like Barkley is a Mater Dei alum, is excited to have the decision go in his favor this time around.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Wittek told the Orange County Register. “Obviously I have to stay ready every game, stay ready every play, keep my head in the game and take advantage of my opportunities when they come.”

Wittek also understand that just because he was named the No. 2 quarterback that the competition isn’t going to end. He’s still going to get pushed by Kessler and he’s stated on numerous occasions that he has to be prepared to compete with any quarterbacks that are on the USC roster for his duration as a Trojan.  

Next season, that will include Kessler and also Max Browne, the top quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class.