Q&A: Felder on the Trojans

Cal has a tremendous opportunity when it faces USC on Saturday night. Not many teams have been able to figure out a way to beat the Trojans on a consistent basis, but occasionally the Trojans have dropped games in the conference over the last few seasons. Cal Sports Digest got a chance to talk with Anthony Felder about the importance of this game, and the effort it will take to defeat the Trojans…

CSD: When the Trojans have been beaten, they usually lose the turnover battle and their running game is kept in check. USC does not lose very often; do you feel that the Trojans force their opponents to play a near perfect game?

AF: USC is a very talented team across the board. They have a lot of weapons and when you play them you cannot afford to make mistakes. You also can't give up big plays. They do force the defense to play a near perfect game. It will take our best effort.

CSD: The Trojans have three backs that all bring a different style of running to the table. They have big receivers and a physical offensive line. Defensively what do you guys need to do to disrupt the Trojans offense?

AF: We can't focus on one thing, because they are very balanced on offense. We need to play our techniques and execute. They will only hurt us if we are not in our assignments and not fitting our gaps and are not in the correct coverage's. It will be on them to beat us if we don't beat ourselves.

CSD: At the start of each season, Cal knows that if they want to win the Pac-10 they have to beat the Trojans. When you play USC, is there any added or extra pressure that is not present when you play other teams in the Pac-10?

AF: We try not to think about it during the season because we usually play USC late in the season. We try to take it one game at a time, but when you get to this point everyone knows that there is extra emphasis on this game and tension starts to build throughout the week. USC is usually at the top of the conference, so this is a game you have to win.

CSD: Teams that have beat USC were very consistent with the run. A lot of yards were not always gained, but there would be 30 to 40 rushing attempts. Defensively, what do you guys need to do consistently to have success against the Trojan offense?

AF: They try to get the run going early and when they are able to do that it opens up their passing game. The Trojans are also good at getting off to big leads. We need to shut their run down early and put pressure on the quarterback. If we are able to do that we will keep our offense on the field and give them lots of opportunities.

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