Marqise Lee says no more defense for him

LOS ANGELES -- Marqise Lee won't be playing any defense this week, USC's star sophomore receiver said Tuesday.

"No way," Lee said. "Not gonna happen."

Of course, Lee's coach, Lane Kiffin, started all the talk about Lee playing on the other side of the ball last week, when he said after the Trojans' Thursday practice that Lee had practiced on defense and could play there against Arizona State.

Lee ended up logging about half a snap, coming on the field as a free safety on a fourth-and-one play and then coming off once the Sun Devils called a timeout, and before they even ran a play.

It appears the talk of him playing defense may have been more of a ruse than anything else. Kiffin was looking for a topic to distract the media from the ball-deflating incident that was dominating conversation, and he found it in speculation about one of the country's hottest players.

"Our defense is doing great," Lee said. "They don't need me to play."

It helped Kiffin's statement's plausibility that he had brought up the topic of Lee playing defense a month earlier and left the door a tad open. And the whole thing certainly didn't hurt Lee's quickly-escalating Heisman campaign either, getting more people talking about his dynamic on-field abilities.

Imagine what would have happened if Lee got even one pick, or returned one for a touchdown? His Heisman interest surely would have shot up.

And it's not totally a done deal. Just because the player thinks it's a lost cause doesn't mean the coach does, and Lee could still log some surprise snaps as a safety over the next couple weeks.

If he does, then look out.