Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
After fielding questions from the media during Pac-12 Media Day, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee spent time in break out sessions, elaborating more on his own development, that of USC’s three budding quarterbacks, and his thoughts on how USC has changed since last season. Here are the highlights from the discussions:
Media: How do you feel your abilities as a route-runner have grown in your time at USC?Marqise Lee: I’ve improved a lot. I try to be better at running routes and reading the defense better. Rob[ert Woods] really sat me down and just taught me the game in general, how to do things for the game that fits you.
Media: Kiffin still hasn’t made a decision regarding who will be the new starting quarterback for USC this year. What do you see when you spend time working with them in player-only workouts? Is there a leader of the three?Lee:I think they’re all good. I don’t know to tell you the truth. I try to spend as much time as I can with each of them, but it will be good to know who its gonna be so we can start working on the chemistry and game planning. It’s all about spending time with him, and during camp, we got nothing but time. I ask Kiffin all the time [who it will be], but he don’t give me nothing!
Media: With 2012 ending the way it did, what’s the mentality going into this season?Lee:We feel like we got something to prove. We went 7-6. Worst ever! As a team I hope we realize we gotta step it up and that everyone takes it upon themselves to work on what needs to be worked on.
Media:After the second loss to Arizona, things kind of went downhill for the Trojans. What changed?Lee: I think it kind of messed with our minds a bit knowing that we should’ve won that game but we didn’t. And then after that second loss, we were thinking about it too much. But not this year.”
Media: This year, a number of USC’s leaders like Barkley and T.J. McDonald have gone on to the pros. How has that changed things within the team?Lee:I know we don’t have the same talent that we had last year, but we are still capable. I would rather have a team that plays hard all the time and takes the “L”, then not play hard at all. And that’s the mentality we have going forward.
Media:Kiffin has mentioned moving you and Nelson Agholor over to the secondary. How likely is that to happen?Lee: I think he just uses that as motivation to the current corners. He wants them to take it upon themselves to get better instead of being replaced by a wide receiver. If he put us there, that’s what’s gonna happen, but I think it’s a motivational aspect.
Media:Last year, USC was favored to win the Pac-12 and this year, they’re picked to finish third. Do you consider that at all going into the season?Lee:We don’t look at it like that. We just gotta play. Think about it: Notre Dame started unranked last year and finished ranked No. 1. So right now we stand at No. 3, but at the end of the season, where will we stand?
The answer to that question will begin to reveal itself in just one month. For Marqise Lee’s thoughts on Lane Kiffin, click here.