Notebook: Day four of fall camp

By the time the final horn sounded after USC's fourth day of fall camp, outside issues had crept inside the walls of Howard-Jones Field...

Off-field issues creeping in
Only four days into USC's fall camp and already USC head coach Lane Kiffin is having to address an off-the-field issue.

Amidst the allegations that Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel was paid to sign autographs, USC received an inquiry as to autographs Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee signed while in Miami.

USC released a statements from the Vice President of Athletic Compliance, Lane Kiffin, and Marqise Lee refuting any notion that Lee received money for the signatures or had knowledge that the fan/collector who asked Lee for his autograph was in turn going to sell the memorabilia online.

"I think you've seen our statements," Kiffin said to the media after practice. "As we've done over our three years here, we have been extremely proactive to get ahead of things whenever they potentially may come up. So those statements were released, we really don't have anything else on it, but once again it was a great job being proactive by our compliance department and athletic department."

Lee was instructed by a USC spokesperson to not further address the issue with the media, but to refer them to his printed statement. Asked if the issue affected his play, wearing a smile Lee said, "I did good! You saw me!"

"Awesome practice today," was how Kiffin, tongue-in-cheek, ended the three and a half minute conversation about the issue during the post-practice media session before continuing to answering questions about play on the field.

Day four of the QB battle
If the quarterback battle between redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek doesn't go down to the eleventh hour, I don't know what USC battle will.

The two were back at it Tuesday on Howard-Jones Field during the Trojans fourth practice of fall camp. Freshman Max Browne appears to have fallen out of the race -- or at least has considerable ground to make up -- taking his snaps with the third team and often only getting in for the last series of the drill.

Wittek fell victim to two interceptions. One came during 7on7, the pass intended for tailback Tre Madden -- but outside linebacker Devon Kennard dropped back and was able to make the grab in front of Madden. Wittek threw another during 11on11 drills, the ball barely traveling a few feet in the air before linebacker Lamar Dawson made a quick reaction and snagged the pass. Defensive lineman George Uko swatted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

"We did unfortunately have two turnovers," Kiffin said, "I thought we were doing really well. We basically went through two and a half periods without turning the ball over, and the emphasis of the day was again really making good decisions and taking care of the ball. Unfortunately we made two bad decisions in there."

Kiffin noted that quarterbacks are hard to evaluate until film is evaluated and slowed down. "What you see at full speed sometimes isn't really what happens once you see the film."

When asked which quarterback is handling the Trojans pass rush better Kiffin said, "I don't know, I think they're both doing a good job."

Receiver Marqise Lee continues to chime in on the battle, mostly overemphasizing that he'd like to know who his quarterback will be. Lee says the coaches haven't consulted on the matter, and that even if they did, Lee doesn't know who he would choose at this point.

Corner flashes
No real developments here Tuesday, according to Kiffin – except he did pull out Devian Shelton's name from the pack of corners competing for the two spots. "Probably the guy that hadn't done that much who is flashing is Devian," Kiffin said. "Makes two good plays today, kind of was banged up on and off last year, so he does have good length, good speed, and was breaking on the ball really well."

During 11on11 drills, Shelton broke up a deep pass from Wittek intended for Nelson Agholor.

Left tackle
Junior left tackle Aundrey Walker didn't make it through the entire practice Monday and he wasn't back at it Tuesday on the offensive line. Kiffin says Walker is day to day, that whatever his ailment is isn't expected to keep him out for a long period of time.

In his absence, redshirt freshman Chad Wheeler and sophomore Max Tuerk are taking reps at left tackle. "We're kind of excited to see what it looks like on film," Kiffin said.

Quick hits:Tuesday was the second day in shoulder pads, full pads will be worn Wednesday…Linebacker Hayes Pullard was late to Tuesday's practice, Kiffin said he came straight from class…A Dallas Cowboys scout…Morgan Breslin, Devon Kennard, and Scott Starr all recorded sacks…Freshman Su'a Cravens did not practice Tuesday. Asked if he expected the safety back on Wednesday Kiffin said "I hope so."

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