Friday, December 7, 2012
Practice report: Lee's return a highlight
By Johnny Curren
LOS ANGELES -- It was another up-beat practice for the Trojans in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets on Friday as they returned to Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field after spending Wednesday at the Coliseum. Continuing in the initial stages of the team's prep-work for Georgia Tech, who USC is set to face in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, Trojans' head coach Lane Kiffin believes the team has come back with an extra bounce in its step after some recent time away.
"Another good practice today," Kiffin said. "I think that the break off was good for them. There was good energy out here at practice, and it was very competitive in a lot of different drills today."
Quarterback Matt Barkley arrived mid-way through practice without a helmet or shoulder pads, appearing to be in positive spirits.
Lee returns a Biletnikoff Award winner
Just as the team was leaving the field Friday morning, having concluded its workout, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee arrived on campus and made his way to a host of waiting media, fresh off winning the Biletnikoff Award in Orlando (Fla.) on Thursday Night at "The Home Depot College Football Awards."
"Obviously proud of Marqise -- as a true sophomore -- to win the Biletnikoff Award," Kiffin said. "It's a really big deal. He's the first one in the history of the school, and that credit goes obviously to him, but to a lot of other people as well."
Making 112 receptions for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, Lee, like his coach, was quick to recognize those around him.
"My heart was racing, to tell you the truth," Lee said of the moments leading up to the announcement. "Once I won, all of my teammates came to mind, from Robert [Woods] to Barkley, to the linemen especially for maintaining their blocks and everything. We had a tough season, and just how much we put into it, this award is not necessarily just for me, it's for the coaches, and for the defensive and offensive players."
Lee said the award weighs close to 60 pounds, and that he doesn't plan to take it home -- instead leaving it on campus, possibly in the locker room so, "all of the players can enjoy it."
As far as the overall ceremony experience, Lee -- who confesses to being most comfortable in "sweats and a t-shirt" -- said he made sure to get his suit selection approved by wide receivers coach Tee Martin before he went on stage, and that his favorite part of the trip was meeting the other players nominated for awards.
"Met a lot of friends out there, and met some new people -- [Braxton] Miller, [Johnthan] Banks ... I enjoyed my time with them," Lee said. "I was with Kenjon Barner most of the time, along with Johnathan Franklin."
Now ready to get back in the flow of things after missing both of the team's practices this week, the Gardena (Calif.) Serra product already has switched his focus toward having an even bigger 2013 campaign, something that has Martin particularly impressed.
"What's so great about him is I sent him a text and just told him how proud I was of him and, 'Congratulations,' and he goes, 'Can't wait to get better. Thank you,' " Martin said. "So he's just focusing on getting back with his teammates and working to get better."