USC head coach Lane Kiffin discussed the possibility of playing star wide receiver Marqise Lee on both sides of the ball Monday, but has concerns about overworking the sophomore. It was reported on Friday that Lee had asked the coach for reps at cornerback.
Kiffin talked about Lee in a Q&A for USC's athletic website on Monday, and said that putting Lee on defense would mean less reps on offense. The coach believes Lee impacts all parts of the offense because of the attention he is given by opposing teams.
He basically plays every snap for us on offense and if we start playing him on defense, some snaps have to come off somewhere. I don't think that somebody can play that many snaps. The problem is, if we take him off the snaps on offense, he is such an issue for defenses that they play different coverages when he is in there. It helps our other receivers, it helps our run game, even when we aren't throwing to him.
Lee has made 52 catches for 649 yards and seven touchdowns in just five games this season. He broke out as a freshman as defenses worried about the Trojans' other star receiver, Robert Woods. Lee caught 73 passes for 1143 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011.
Cornerback is believed to be a weakness on the Trojans, as teams are exploiting USC through the air. They visit the Washington Huskies on Saturday.