Kiffin compares Max to Carson

Opening statement: “It’s great to get back on the field. We’ve moved on from Saturday, which is a good thing because we have the number one team in the country coming in here. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to come out in front of our crowd a finish the regular season the way that we wanted to all along. I know our players our excited to get back out there. It was a great day of work today and we’ll continue to plug along all week.”

How Max Wittek looked: Great. He was awesome today. He lit it up in team seven on seven, so it was great to see.”

Does he understand and embrace the challenge ahead of him: “I think sometimes it’s good to be so young because you don’t know. It’s almost good. It doesn’t apply the pressure, so he’s jut going to go out and play. It doesn’t matter who you play or the rivalry, it’ll be about you executing really well, no matter who the opponent is. It’s a great challenge for the whole team, for our offense to play the best defense in the country, and we’re excited about that.”

How the team has rallied around him: “They’ve been great. Robert and Marqise practiced as hard as they’ve every practiced, they were making diving catches out there, even just in the drills. I think that they’re coming out and showing that they have his back and that they’re going to play really hard for him.”

Matt’s advice: “Matt’s been there all along for him. One of the great things for these young quarterbacks is to learn from Matt and see how Matt prepares. We’ve come up with an idea this week to take Matt to a different level. Matt has been in some of our coaching meetings, as far as preparation, and how we break down the defensive coordinators, the different personnels, and how we attack everything. I thought that would be good for him, since there isn’t much left for him, to prepare him for the next level.”

Disappointment of missing Senior day: “Like I’ve said the last forty-eight hours, there’s not a lot of words to describe it. I couldn’t feel worse for a family or a kid, the fact that he’s not running down that tunnel in his last game and now two times in a row he doesn’t get to play Notre Dame [at home]. It’s very unfortunate, we feel as bad as we can, but he’ll be stronger for it. He’ll come out of this thing and we’ll all play great for him.”

What has the journey of the season been like: “It’s been a long journey. It’s been a disappointing season as we all know, but really as I break it down and look at it, it’s been a disappointing month. It’s been a disaster month. One month ago, we’re sitting at 6-1 and we’re up by 15 points in Arizona. We’re run a double move, getting ready to go up by twenty-two to put that game away. From, that play on, not a lot of good has happened. We lost three of four, dropped out of the rankings, all those things, and Matthew getting hurt. It’s no like it’s been a bad two or three years, it’s been a bad month.”

If Max brings something different athletically and movement wise: “I don’t think so, I think they’re very similar. Max is a little bit bigger, but as far as movement wise, I think they’re very similar.”

If the back up competition helped: “I think so. I think both of our back ups are very competitive guys. If we have to go to Cody at some point, we’ll run our same offense. We’re very excited about both of those guys’ future here.”

Changes that need to be made: “We’ll worry about that after the season. We’ll take the whole season into account after our last game. No different from we would if we were 12-0.”

November usually being a great month for USC and what changed: “That’s a good question and I don’t know exactly. I think playing young guys early, over the years, has helped. You get there mistakes out and they tend to shine later in the year. Freshman don’t seem like freshman anymore. With our recruiting over the years, having depth to withstand injuries and having big players backing them up was a big help as well.”

Wittek’s style: “I think he is a prototype, pro style, quarterback. He’s probably most comparable to Carson, with the big arm and the size. He’s already 240 pounds as a redshirt freshman. All the tools are there, he’s very competitive, and it’s an opportunity to show the world...”

Mitch Mustain game and what he learned: “You have to see how the game goes and how the flow of the game is going. We managed that game pretty well. We had the ball to win the game... Every game is different and we’ll see how this game is going, That game we did really well on defense, we were able to be conservative...”

What changed from this year to last: “The one glaring thing is turnovers on offense. So many of stats are similar. From rushing yards, we have more average per carry, touchdown passes, passing yards. On defense, we’ve created more turnovers, generated more sacks. I think it’s been the turnovers and the inability to finish drives. We put up yards per play with anybody in the country, explosive plays, and average per play. Unfortunately, we’ve struggled on third down and we haven’t finished off some red zone drives. We have five or six turnovers in the red zone and they’ve been very costly in those close games.”

How to beat Notre Dame: “You beat Notre Dame by playing well in all three phases of the game. We have to play well on offense, stop the run on defense, and play well on special teams. It’s no secret. This is an old school football team that’s coming in here. They play well in all three phases.”

Notre Dame defensive front: “They have a great defensive front. Hardly anyone has done anything against them all year. They've played so well against the run that they’ve forced teams into really tough third down situations. Whether it’s run or pass, you have to make yards. We were able to do that last year and get into a lot of third and shorts, which was very efficient against this same defense.”

Manti Te’o: “First off, he’s a great player. He’s very physical, he has ball skills like a DB, but I think it’s more important what he does for his team. When you have that dominate mike linebacker that’s the best in the country, like that, it sets the tempo, not just for the defense, but the whole team. I think you feel it. You feel that he is, by far, the leader of that team and not just the defense.”

  • Scott Schrader

    An old story on Wittek:

    Steve Clarkson is well aware of Mater Dei’s legacy of quarterbacks.

    The private quarterback coach has tutored many over the years, including Matt Barkley, Matt Leinart and Colt Brennan.

    So when Clarkson says Mater Dei junior Max Wittek has a talent none of the predecessors had, it quickly grabs attention.

    “Athleticism,” Clarkson explained. “(Wittek can) be a game-changer with his legs.”

    Wittek has other strong attributes, too. He’s almost 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and has a powerful and accurate arm.

    Wittek is expected display his skills Saturday when he participates in Clarkson’s Dreammaker Tour stop at the Rose Bowl.

    The 15-city, national tour is seeking to find the top seven young quarterbacks in country. The seven will travel to Maui in early July for a training session with Clarkson and Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Warren Moon.

    Not surprisingly, Clarkson believes Wittek has an “excellent chance” of making it to Maui.

    His latest Mater Dei protégé is coming off a solid junior season and has already landed some impressive scholarship offers.

    Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said Wittek has offers from Cal, Clemson, Duke, Florida, North Carolina and UCLA. Rollinson said USC also is interested in Wittek.

    “He continued to grow as (his junior) year went on,” Rollinson said of Wittek, who passed for 2,107 yards and 14 TDs. “I think the sky is the limit next year.”

    The Florida offer speaks to Wittek’s speed, which Rollinson estimates to be in the 4.6 range for the 40-yard dash.

    Clarkson believes Wittek’s combination of skills make him a coveted recruit.

    “He can play in any system – that’s what makes him attractive,” Clarkson said. “He’s among the best (in the nation).”

    Clarkson is expecting 250 quarterbacks on Saturday.

    He said the Maui trip isn’t open to just seniors. Participants in the tour can be as young as the sixth grade.

    That rule means that Clarkson’s 13-year star David Sills of Delaware could earn a bid. Sills recently committed to USC.

    One of the pre-high school quarterbacks Clarkson expects Saturday is Orange County’s Chase Forrest.

    This post was edited by Scott Schrader 17 months ago

    http://twitter.com/#!/Scott_Schrader

  • Just two comments,

    What changed from this year to last: “The one glaring thing is turnovers on offense. So many of stats are similar. From rushing yards, we have more average per carry, touchdown passes, passing yards. On defense, we’ve created more turnovers, generated more sacks. I think it’s been the turnovers and the inability to finish drives. We put up yards per play with anybody in the country, explosive plays, and average per play. Unfortunately, we’ve struggled on third down and we haven’t finished off some red zone drives. We have five or six turnovers in the red zone and they’ve been very costly in those close games.”

    1. No mention of our ability to force a punt?!?

    How to beat Notre Dame: “You beat Notre Dame by playing well in all three phases of the game. We have to play well on offense, stop the run on defense, and play well on special teams. It’s no secret. This is an old school football team that’s coming in here. They play well in all three phases.”

    2. That's it? Play really well? For some reason I don't have confidence that there is much he is holding back. I'll be the first to eat crow if SC has some creative run plays.

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