The Trojans were in the Coliseum Wednesday for their final practice of fall camp.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin conducted a 121-play ‘mock game', the first and second teams versus the service team. The white team (starters) – won 29 to 0.
The Trojans were in full pads, but did not tackle. Officials were directed to give advantage to the scout team as far as spots, tackles.
Kiffin commended the starting defense on a job well done following the scrimmage, "I thought they really came out and got after it," Kiffin said. "It's a little bit tough to evaluate because we didn't tackle with so many guys out already. A lot of position were down to one or two guys."
Kessler threw to the left side of the field, looking for Lee who dove to his right, landing on his previously injured right shoulder.
Lee stood and walked gingerly off the field accompanied by trainers. He then had his pads removed on the sideline before the staff checked him out, ultimately placing ice on his shoulder and sidelining him for the remainder of the ‘mock game' sans tackling. "He came out, same injury as before but I think he's fine," Kiffin said.
Lee told FOX Sports NEXT after practice that he was fine. "I'm good now," he said. "You want to see my hand go up again?"
Lee then raised his arm – a feat he wasn't able to accomplish after originally injuring his shoulder – and smiled. "I'm okay. I just dove on it and from that point on Kiff looked and said ‘you're good for the rest of practice'.
"I felt it for that quick second, they didn't want to take any chances," he said. "I'll be okay by Thursday. The hitting part is the least of my worries. If this were a real game, I would've stayed in."
Agholor showed Wednesday why Kiffin has put so much stock in his ability.
With Lee out, the sophomore became the star of the show, catching 9 passes for 250-yards and three touchdowns – including a 55-yard touchdown pass from Kessler.
"Nelson had a great spring, a good start to camp and then he had some ups and downs throughout camp," Kiffin explained, "so to come out today and have that many yards was really good for him."
No definitive answer to the quarterback situation
Kessler got the first reps to start the game as well as out of the half of the Trojans ‘mock game', but Kiffin said there was nothing to read into that, other than someone had to go first. "We just rotate guys, different guys start," Kiffin explained. "They both play a lot. By the time this thing is over, they've both thrown the same amount of passes."
The final stats alone would prompt one to believe Max Wittek had a better day, but as always, Kiffin said the film would truly tell the story. Kessler finished 13 of 22 for 218-yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both interceptions were a result of tipped passes. "Those were Cody's first two interceptions in here," Kiffin said. "We have to – it looks like they were tipped, one off the defenders hand one off the receivers hands – like anything in evaluation, you have to go to the film to really evaluate it."
Wittek finished 15 of 20 for 231-yards and a touchdown.
A decision has yet to be made by Kiffin on a starter, but he did say Wednesday that ideally he would like to have one by the opener. "We're not really a two [quarterback] system program, but at the same time we've got to make sure we find the right guy."
Cody Kessler, 13 of 22 for 218, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Max Wittek, 15 of 20 for 231, TD
Nelson Agholor, 9 for 250, 3 TDs
Marqise Lee, 8 for 107
Andre Heidari, 21 yd FG, 42 yd FG, 41 yd FG
Kessler 31 yards to Agholor
Wittek 38 yards to Agholor
Kessler 55 yards to Agholor
Total Plays: 121