The reigning Biletnikoff Winner Marqise Lee addressed the media for the first time since suffering what looked to be a serious shoulder injury nearly two weeks ago in practice.
“I was scared for a moment, but I feel good now,” Lee said in the midst of recovery from his ultimately minor shoulder bruise. Addressing the logistics behind his departure from the practice field, Lee commented on why the Trojans called upon their medical staff: “I was just taking my time getting up.”
While remaining out from full-contact team activities in practice, Lee takes every word from his head coach in stride while he waits for the chance to amp it up against the first team defense. “Coach Kiffin’s gonna put you back in when he feels you are ready,” Lee said, following another non-contact practice Monday.
Much has been made about Lane Kiffin’s comments surrounding his weapons need for improvement in certain aspects. That being said, Lee wants nothing less from his head coach. “I want him to tell me what I need to improve on,” Lee said. “[If] running routes and catching balls and blocking is one of them then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Kiffin has stood firm on his stance with Lee, preaching the necessity for improvement in certain facets of his game beyond just outstanding athleticism on offense.
“If the coach sees it then you need to improve,” Lee said, adding, “I thought I was solid; I told Coach Kiffin I wanted to return but he wanted me to wait.” In a training camp where upwards of 20 players have been taken off the field from non-contact practice, seeing a healthy and springy wide receiver provided relief for Troy.
The most-talked about weapon on the Trojans’ offense went about his work in a rather memorable fashion on Monday, connecting on a 40-yard dime from Cody Kessler and sprinting past Anthony Brown–a player Lee recognized for being a vicious competitor in practice–down the sideline for the monstrous reception.
In the process, the Kessler-to-Lee deep connection bucked a rather concerning trend from the early portion of Fall Camp. “[We are] kind of not on the page some plays,” Lee said about going deep. “Sometimes it’s the quarterbacks not being ready for what we are doing.”
Making great plays from the start, Lee did not shy away from making comments about the Trojans’ highly-publicized quarterback battle. “I’m glad I’m not the coach in this case with the quarterbacks. This one is on Kiff’s back,” Lee said while smiling and joking around.
Returning as an active part of the Trojans development this fall, Lee’s presence on the sideline brings positive memories for his teammates. “It’s always fun having a guy like Marqise Lee around,” said to center Marcus Martin. “He always tries to keep the energy very high, while playing with a high tempo.”
While Lee may not be cleared for contact this week, there is no doubt he will suit up and star in USC’s season opener at Hawaii on Aug. 29.