Injury bug still relevant
Sophomore wide receiver Marqise Lee, back at practice after missing Saturday to compete in — and win — the long jump at the Trojan Invitational, continued to shine. Lee ran crisp routes, made diving catches and continually shook off defenders with ease in both drills and scrimmaging.
“He’s playing every position now. He now has a year of experience under his belt, and has improved every detail of his game, especially becoming a better technician on the field,” wide receiver coach Tee Martin said.
“He’s a really unique individual. Coming out here and running springs, just 48 hours after winning the long jump, he just goes forever,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said.
While junior Robert Woods is sidelined for spring with an ankle injury, his absence has given other wideouts an extended look. In addition to Lee, redshirt junior wide receiver De’Von Flournoy has been getting additional reps and took advantage of his opportunity, being named player of the day.
Redshirt freshman wideout Victor Blackwell also displayed solid hands in drills, looking like another impressive part of a wide receiver group that is looking to be deeper than initially thought.
Still, the injury bug remains on everyone’s mind. Sophomore wideout George Farmer has been dealing with a hamstring injury all spring and sat out Saturday, participating in some drills but not in the scrimmage.
Throughout practice, Farmer slipped while making cuts and seemed exhausted while participating in one-on-one drills.
“I can run and I can catch, but when I try to be explosive, I’m not that explosive. … I tried to plant my foot and make an exaggerated cut, but couldn’t,” Farmer said.
As for updates on the backup quarterback situation, Kiffin was mum, simply replying “They both do things well,” when asked about the competition between redshirt freshmen Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. There was no discernible favorite on the field either, as each quarterback took their fair share of reps.
Additionally, Kiffin, in his third year at USC, gave an interesting revelation about the goal of spring ball right now.
“[It’s] more about individual and skill set development,” Kiffin said.
This is hopefully a good sign that the team’s cohesiveness is already established to a comfortable level.
After injuring his back on Saturday, redshirt freshman fullback Soma Vainuku was out again.
Additionally, redshirt sophomore tight ends Xavier Grimble (toe) and Randall Telfer (hamstring), redshirt freshman cornerback Ryan Henderson (concussion) and redshirt freshman running back Javorious Allen (hamstring) were out. Senior center Khaled Holmes was limited after not practicing Saturday, not participating in most of the scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cody Temple is scheduled to have surgery on his ankle and will be out for the rest of spring practice.