By Gary Klein Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Marqise Lee tried.
USC’s leading receiver told head coach Lane Kiffin he would also play cornerback if needed. And the coaching staff, seeking to bolster a Trojans’ weakness, considered it.
But Lee, who was a standout safety at Gardena Serra High, said Tuesday the idea had been tabled.
“It’s not going to happen,” Lee said. “I’ll be playing offense.”
Lee ranks second nationally with 10.4 receptions per game and fourth with 129.8 receiving yards.
The No. 11 Trojans play Washington on Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Kiffin has said he considered allowing Lee to perform double duty but decided against it because he was too valuable as a receiver and decoy on offense.
“You can see that if you wanted him to play defense, he’d be a first-round corner,” Kiffin said.
So is there any plan to use Lee?
“Not right now,” Kiffin said. “No.”
However, Lee will be ready if called upon. “If they need the help,” he said, “then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Stamina, he said, would not be an issue.
“I’d be OK,” he said, “because I’m not taking max snaps at corner. It would be here and there, so I doubt it would tire me out at all.”
Out of the Woods?
Robert Woods is practicing and said he was fine, but USC’s All-American receiver continues to be tested after taking a hit that forced him to briefly leave the game last week at Utah.
Woods collided with Utah’s Brian Blechen in the second quarter while blocking on a punt return. He was on the ground for several moments, stumbled when he got up and fell face-first to the turf. After doctors examined him on the sideline, he returned to the game and later caught a touchdown pass.
Asked whether he lost consciousness, Woods said, “Probably, when I (first) hit the ground.”
Woods, who finished with six receptions, said he was initially “dazed a little bit” after the collision.
“I hit the ground and I was like, ‘I don’t know what happened to the other guy,’” Woods said. “I just got jacked, so let me get up and make him not feel good, like he dazed me. So I just got up and started running.”
Woods added: “The whole time, I was kind of like gone, I would say. Once I hit the ground the second time I was like ‘All right. Now I’m good,’ because I had to just settle for a little bit.”
Before returning, team medical personnel administered a balance test, questioned him about the date and time and also quizzed him in math.
“One hundred minus seven, minus seven, minus seven a couple times,” he said.
Woods said he took balance and concussion tests Friday and a concussion test Monday.
Offensive lineman Zach Banner, a Washington native who is a redshirt freshman, will make the trip to Seattle.
Banner, the son of former Washington All-American lineman Lincoln Kennedy, was asked whether he would pet the Husky mascot.
“No, I’m not going to pet it. I might kick it,” he quipped. Apparently Banner thought better of the joke after it was repeated on Twitter, and responded with this tweet: “Ok, so i made a mistake. … I didn’t mean to say I’ll kick the husky this weekend … I meant to say i would wrestle with it lol respectforUW.”