LOS ANGELES — Josh Shaw and Marqise Lee were roommates during training camp before players were allowed to move out of the dorms on Monday morning.
Shaw and Lee had talks at night about how they could liven up practice. The energy had been good throughout camp, but they felt they needed more.
So they started jawing at each other.
With the Trojans practicing under the Coliseum lights on Sunday, it was Shaw and Lee smack talking back and forth.
It didn’t take long for defensive lineman George Uko to look up and say, “It’s live!”
Lee walked back to his huddle and told the offensive line: “Yeah, it’s live!”
It turned out to be one of the best practices of camp for USC.
For Lee, he was back on the field and in team drills, albeit in a yellow non-contact jersey. It was his first time in team drills since he injured his shoulder nine days earlier.
Lee admitted to being a little scared when he got hurt, not knowing the severity of the injury at the time. Today, he has no worries, even lifting his right arm in the air to signal his shoulder feels fine.
“Solid,” he told reporters Monday while addressing the media for the first time since the injury.
While he was out, all he could do was sit back, watch, and listen to comments his head coach made about him saying he needed to work.
Comments Lee had no qualms about.
“Once he said it, I agreed with it,” Lee said. “It’s nothing big. It’s not like he’s putting me down or anything.”
Resting on his laurels as the first player to win the Biletnikoff Award in USC history doesn’t sit well with Lee. It doesn’t do much for head coach Lane Kiffin either.
A thing of the past.
Trying to get version of USC football to live up to and exceed expectations, which is something the 2012 team failed to do.
He has assumed a larger leadership role on the team and his goal is to get others to fall in line.
Case in point: conspiring with Shaw to engage in a verbal battle to prompt the rest of his teammates to get up for a spirited practice.
There isn’t an ounce of content that he carries with him.
Lee’s just wired differently.
He still believes he should have caught the Hail Mary thrown in his direction at the end of the loss at Arizona last season.
“I should make that catch,” Lee said at last month’s Pac-12 Media Day, ignoring the 16 catches he did make and 345 yards receiving he put up that afternoon in Tucson.
And as for things his head coach says as they relate to him being a better wide receiver, he’s willing to listen intently.
“It’s coming from the coach,” Lee said. “If the coach see it than that means you need to improve on it.
“I want him to tell me what I need to improve on. (If) running routes and catching balls and blocking is one of them than that’s what I’m going to do.”