Notebook: Day 17 of fall camp

The Trojans are in the home stretch of fall camp. Day 17 saw the return of Marqise Lee to full reps, albeit in a yellow no-contact jersey. A freshman linebacker continues to make plays... and the never ending saga of an injured offensive lineman continued.

Wait, who is on the line?
Monday's first team offensive line was interesting, to say the least.

Center Marcus Martin suffered an undisclosed injury during Sunday night's practice in the Coliseum, forcing him to sit out Monday.

Shortly into Monday's practice, right guard (Former left tackle) Aundrey Walker left drills for the sidelines with an apparent injury.

From left to right, here was the Trojans offensive line: Chad Wheeler, Giovanni Di Paolo, Max Tuerk, John Martinez, and Kevin Graf.

"Today we didn't have our offensive linemen in, the original starters," Marqise Lee explained after practice, "and I feel like we did a great job as far as the backups coming in and knowing what they were supposed to do and handling the assignments they are supposed to."

Luckily for the USC, kickoff is still ten days away. Hopefully for USC, that's enough time for Walker and Martin to get back to action.

Lee returns, with a smile
Star receiver Marqise Lee has been limited in drills since suffering a bone bruise Aug. 10. He was still wearing a yellow no-contact jersey during Monday's drills, but the junior participated in every last one of them.

"Marqise is pretty much all the way back from his injury," Kiffin said. "We're just being safe with it from a contact standpoint but from a rep standpoint we're maxing him out pretty good."

He also, for the first time since his injury, spoke with the media following practice.

"I'm solid, 100% back," Lee said.

Lee, who has dropped a small handful of passes the past few practices, caught nearly every ball thrown his way, including a couple of deep passes near the sideline.

Powell makes plays
Quinton Powell continued to show why, as a true freshman, he is in contention to win the starting job at weakside linebacker.

Powell stripped fellow freshman Ty Isaac of the football before picking it up to complete the turnover.

Later during practice, Powell made a heads up play when cornerback Anthony Brown tipped a Max Wittek pass and came down with it to take the ball back for six.

Quarterbacks? Let's just forget about it.
Seriously. Just forget about it.

Kiffin isn't saying a word. At this point, he'll probably do one of two things.

One – announce the starter via the team website on Thursday, their first day off from fall camp before the start of game week.

Or two – not announce it at all and wait until the Trojans trot out onto the field in Hawaii on Aug. 29.

Okay, maybe there is a third option. Maybe he really will play two guys, although, that still seems like the longest of long shots (but getting closer).

"We're never going to say never," Kiffin responded when asked Monday if he could foresee having a two-quarterback system. "That's not an ideal situation that we'd like to be in but at the same time we need to make sure we're making the right decision whenever that comes.

"Like I say everyday, I'd like that decision to be done a long time ago. Unfortunately it's not. So we're going to continue to go until it gets decided."

Max Wittek threw an interception Monday, though it would most likely fall into the ‘not his fault' category. Wittek intended for walkon receiver Robby Kolanz, but cornerback Anthony Brown was able to leap and get a hand on the ball, effectively tipping it in the direction of linebacker Quinton Powell who grabbed it to return for a touchdown.

Wittek also threw the pass of the day, deep down the left sideline to Lee, who made a nice grab over Brown.

Cody Kessler continued to show consistency through day 17, completing routine passes to multiple receivers.

"They are both great at this point," Lee said of Wittek and Kessler after practice. "I'm just going out and catching the ball at this point. That decision is big and that decision is coach Kiffin."

Lee memorably told the media at Pac-12 media day that he would like to know sooner than later who the starting quarterback would be. On Monday, he smiled while explaining that as the days go by, making a decision about who the starter should be gets harder and harder. "It gets tough, one day Cody does a great job, the next day Max comes out and do a great job… I'm like ‘oh my god!'"

Other observations
Monday was riddled with more turnovers than any day of fall camp in recent memory.

During the 11on11 team run, Quinton Powell stripped freshman Ty Isaac of the football and recovered it.

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams forced Silas Redd to fumble the ball, freshman Su'a Cravens recovered it.

Max Wittek threw a pass during 11on11 drills that was tipped by Anthony Browne. Powell made the heads up play grabbing the football and returning it for six.

Quick hits:
Victor Blackwell was off crutches Monday walking around…Only one practice remains in the Trojans fall camp, Wednesday will be the final scrimmage in the Coliseum.

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