The Trojans arrived in El Paso, Texas today for their first bowl game since 2009, Matt Barkley’s freshman season and the last of the Pete Carroll era at USC. At the airport, the traveling party was greeted by mariachis and sombreros, before the Trojans got to business, preparing for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in next week’s Sun Bowl.
The team, practicing at a high school stadium on the outskirts of town, wore full pads in their first practice away from Howard Jones Field. The lone exception, however?
Senior quarterback Matt Barkley, who is still recovering from an AC sprain he suffered back on November 17th on a hit from UCLA’s Anthony Barr. Per Gary Klein of the LA Times, Barkley wore sweats and a jersey top for the Wednesday afternoon practice in El Paso.
Barkley is currently listed as questionable for the December 31st bowl, but if practice form is an indication of what’s to come in the bowl game, it looks as though his status is far more likely to be considered as ‘doubtful’.
Last week in Los Angeles, Barkley was throwing the ball left handed and with the game now just five days away, all signs are starting to point toward redshirt freshman Max Wittek starting in his second consecutive game for the Trojans.
Wittek completed 14 of 23 passes for 186 yards against top-ranked Notre Dame last month, and added two interceptions.