Georgia Tech may not have to face USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the Sun Bowl. A Los Angeles Times article observed that “will almost certainly refrain from playing and risking further injury to his right shoulder.”
Barkley, a possible first-round pick in the April NFL draft, injured his throwing shoulder against UCLA Nov. 17 and did not play the following week against Notre Dame. He has yet to take part in bowl practices. He has been expected to join practices with the team when it arrives in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 26.
The Times story was the strongest indication that Barkley will not play. He and backup Max Wittek, who started against Notre Dame, are listed as co-starters. Wittek was 14-for-23 for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Wittek told the L.A. Times, “I’m prepared to lead this team.”
Tech interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly said he would not approach Wittek any differently than Barkley.
“If he’s the backup quarterback or listed as the backup, he’s not very far behind (Barkley),” Kelly said. “He made some unbelievable throws in the Notre Dame game. He’s got a really, really strong arm, can throw the ball downfield, probably as far as anybody we’ve seen distance-wise. And then when you have good people around you – you’ve got good running backs, you’ve got good receivers, you’ve got a good offensive line, that usually makes your quarterback even better.”
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog