Practice Report: Lee headed for greatness?

Combining athleticism of high school teammates George Farmer and work ethic of Robert Woods, Marqise Lee is singled out by coach Lane Kiffin to join elite group of all-time Trojan receivers.

LOS ANGELES – USC has seen a litany of historically great wide receivers in the past decade.

Mike Williams was brilliant in his two seasons, catching a school-record 30 touchdowns. Dwayne Jarrett one-upped him with a Pac-10 record 41 touchdowns to become USC's only two-time All-American receiver.

Steve Smith was wingman to both Williams and Jarrett. Damian Williams anchored the offense during the 2008 season and was more prolific with a freshman Matt Barkley throwing him the ball the next year.

Robert Woods was Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season and is off to a remarkable start with 41 receptions for 492 yards and four touchdowns.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin expects another receiver to join that roster of excellence, alongside previous legends like Keyshawn Johnson and Lynn Swann.

"I think Marqise Lee, I know it's early to say, I think he is going to be one of the best receivers ever to play at this school," Kiffin said Thursday.

Lee, the freshman from Gardena (Calif.) Serra, has 179 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions while starting his first four games, but it should be better.

Kiffin said Lee got behind an Arizona State cornerback but a breakdown in pass protection prevented Barkley from finding him for a 50-yard touchdown.

"Otherwise he was going to walk into the end zone, similar to the go route he ran the week before at home (against Syracuse)," Kiffin said.

Unlike his more-touted Serra teammate George Farmer, Lee isn't as obviously physically gifted. But he represents a nice amalgam of Farmer's athleticism and Woods' work ethic, Kiffin said praising his focus and maturity.

"He wants to play, he is tough, he is strong. He is bigger and stronger than Robert, kind of a mix of George and Robert," Kiffin said.

But he also has to get more involved in the offense, especially with Woods drawing a steady dose of double coverage. Still, Kiffin noted the incredible upside the two offer going forward.

"We're obviously really excited for the fact that our two top receivers in our mind are a true sophomore and a true freshman. The future is bright," he said.

Walker Effectively Starting Over
Got the playbook and your assignments down, freshman? Great.

Now do it again.

That's what Kiffin and offensive line coach James Cregg did with Aundrey Walker, moving the massive Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville product from right guard to right tackle this week in hopes of with the intention of challenging incumbent Kevin Graf.

"It's unusual to move a true freshman at this point in the year, but it was too important for us to get some competition there at right tackle," Kiffin said.

"I had everything down pat at guard but it's way different when you move to tackle," Walker said. "It's a big adjustment. I got to learn new assignments and blocking schemes and coming off the ball with certain steps."

But there is an advantage to the move for Walker, putting him back where he is more familiar.

"It's more of a comfortable position," he said. "I came in to play that and now I'm getting the opportunity."

Walker doesn't expect to unseat Graf this week against Arizona but is ready to play. He has seen action in each of the last three weeks and says he has improved his punch and finishing his blocks.

Quick Hits
-Left tackle Matt Kalil returned to practice and should start Saturday.

-Linebacker Lamar Dawson (ankle), corner Torin Harris (shoulder) and running back Amir Carlisle (ankle) did not practice again and are unlikely to play.

-Kiffin praised the team's focus in practice this week coming off the loss to Arizona State.

"They want to get that loss and put it away. The best way to put it away is go out and play really well and win," he said.


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