One of the biggest nightmares for a time team in hopes of making a run at a 2013 conference championship is an injury sustained by a star player during lighthearted Spring practices. Unfortunately, that is exactly what coach Lane Kiffin’s USC Trojans are dealing with.
On Saturday, USC scrimmaged with live tackling for the first time all season. However, superstar wide receiver Marqise Lee and potential starting quarterback, Max Wittek, both were forced to sit out following knee injuries.
This according to the school’s website:
QB Max Wittek and WR Marqise Lee both suffered knee injuries during practice and sat out the scrimmage. Lane Kiffin announced that both will have further testing before a diagnosis is announced. Lee stood and cheered his teammates throughout the scrimmage, while Wittek rested on the trainer’s table with ice on his knee.
With Wittek on the trainer’s table, his competition shined. Cody Kessler is the same age as Wittek, but when four-year starter Matt Barkley went down with a shoulder injury towards the end of the 2012 season, it was Wittek who started against Notre Dame and then Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, not Kessler.
But that does not mean Wittek has the starting job all sewn up. Not after Kessler finished 12-of-15 passing for 192 yards against the Trojans’ revamped defense under new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
“He kind of did what Cody does which is show up in these formats,” said Kiffin about Kessler. “He’s always been a gamer.”
As for Lee, no team in the nation has a replacement, including USC. Lee took home the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver and even garnered serious Heisman consideration despite his sophomore stature.
He is expected to dominate at wideout and perhaps play some defense in order to build his Trophy credentials as a junior. Thus, the fact that he was standing during the scrimmage and in good spirits should improve the spirits of his coaching staff — not to mention Trojans fans who were forced to sit through a massively disappointing 2012 season.