The Trojans held a 76-play scrimmage in the Coliseum Saturday.
Coaches were on headsets… and who was calling plays?
"[Offensive coordinate] Clay [Helton] probably called over half of the plays," head coach Lane Kiffin said. "It was probably 70-30 or something."
Kiffin said normally on Saturday's he would have Helton call all the plays, but with receiver Marqise Lee back in the rotation Kiffin wanted to get more involved.
"Marqise didn't do the whole practice today," Kiffin explained, "so I wanted to be sure – it's easier when you're down here in the huddle – to be sure we were getting him the ball but not playing him a lot of plays."
The head coach says he hasn't thought about who/how the staff will handle playcalling duties in the fall.
"In the spring it isn't necessarily about calling the plays," Kiffin said. "It's more about installing our stuff."
Lee back in stride
Sidelined since March 9 with a knee injury Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee was back to full practice Saturday in the Coliseum. Lee told FOX Sports NEXT following Thursday's practice he'd be back to action Saturday, but it took some convincing on Lee's part to get the coaches and trainers to allow it.
"We ended up playing him a little more," Kiffin said. "He's great. He's one of the most competitive guys who has ever been here. It's hard to keep him out."
Lee looked in midseason form, making ten catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis breaking through
Kiffin says he can't remember an early enrollee making the kind of impact Justin Davis has this spring.
In Saturday's 76-play scrimmage Davis rushed for 116 yards on 17 carries, including a four-yard touchdown. His stats especially notable as the freshman ran with the first team, going against the first team defense.
"He's so natural," Kifin said. "He sees things really well."
Asked if it was possible for Davis to be the No. 2 tailback behind senior Silas Redd Kiffin said, "It's possible for him to be the No. 1 quarterback."
We're going to play the best guy regardless of if he has been here whether he is a senior or he is a freshman."
Redd and D.J. Morgan both remained sidelined with injuries which has allowed for Davis to pick up the extra carries, but Kiffin said he believes the staff would've seen Davis's ability and potential even if he wasn't one of the only healthy backs available.
"His high school system was a lot of zone stuff so there is a lot of good carryover for him," Kiffin explained. "We saw that. We saw he was a great runner."
The secondary, specifically cornerback, remains a major concern for the Trojans and will into the fall.
The good news is, Kiffin has little concern over his linebackers since Anthony Sarao and Lamar Dawson have shown progress over the spring. Which means when Dion Bailey is available in the fall after recovering from shoulder surgery, he can drop back to the ailing secondary.
With the move of safety-turned linebacker Bailey – now back to safety, it's most likely safety Josh Shaw will move to cornerback -- where he played most of the 2012 season due to lack of depth at the position.
"With Dion moving back there in the fall [safety] could be one of our deepest positions this spring," Kiffin said. "With Dion going back to safety [Josh Shaw to corner] may be something that we do. We just didn't want to do it right now because we don't have any safeties either because of all the guys injured right now."
Freshman Darreus Rogers was working out on the sideline but was unable to participate in drills. DJ Morgan was also out again on Saturday. Asked if the injury he suffered is more serious than originally thought, Kiffin said no. Torin Harris went down Thursday with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, he's still out as is Demetrius Wright.
2013 USC signees Steven Mitchell and Nico Falah were once again on the sideline…Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is starting to rack up the laps this spring as he continues to false start on offense…sophomore Leonard Williams had a fumble recovery during the scrimmage…Marcus Martin and Cody Kessler took a lap for a snapped fumble. Two practices remain on the Trojans spring schedule. The spring scrimmage will be next Saturday.
Total plays: 76
Cody Kessler, 12-of-21, 120 yards, touchdown
Max Wittek, 14-of-17, 200 yards, 2 touchdowns
Max Browne, 6-of-7, 85 yards, 2 touchdowns
Marqise Lee, 10 catches for 191 yards, 2 touchdowns
Nelson Agholor, 6 catches for 91 yards, 2 touchdowns
DeVon Flournoy, 4 catches for 38 yards
Justin Davis, 17 carries for 116 yards, touchdown
Buck Allen, 10 carries for 42 yards, touchdown