Getting His Groove Back

USC linebacker Hayes Pullard is getting his groove back at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Here, this tackling Trojan talks about how all those Southern Cal coaching changes have made his game better and where this program is headed.

Hayes Pullard is getting back his groove. This former Trojan is in Mobile, Ala. at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Day one is in the books as Pullard was getting back his stride.

”We haven’t played in about a month so I was a little rusty out there today,” Pullard said. “It was good to get out there and get moving again. The competition was better because these are top level guys. They are all seniors competing to get drafted and in the NFL. The speed is roughly the same thing I saw at SC. Of course we always practiced hard at SC.”

Pullard, 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, is an inside linebacker from Inglewood, Calif. He’s a four-year starter that racked up nearly 400 tackles in his career for the Trojans. Along the way he has had his share of head coaches in Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkasian. Some may see that as a problem but not Pullard.

”I look at it as a great opportunity for me because I look at the positive,” Pullard said. “I had three head coaches, three defensive coordinators and four position coaches. Because of that I was able to grasp all the things from each coach. I know for a fact today that I am a better player because of that.

”All of that knowledge I learned from all of the coaches helped prepare me for the NFL. I know it may not have been the best road but life if full of ups and downs. That’s what true me go through.

Southern Cal finished the 2014 season with a 9-4 record. It’s not an acceptable win total for this proud school but Pullard understands that this program is building for the future.

”It was a good season but not a great season because we lost a couple of games,” Pullard said. “But I know we laid down terrific foundation. We are off sanctions and this staff has a great recruiting class coming in. We are setting a tempo to win a national championship.”

Next up for Pullard is the NFL Combine. Then it’s draft time. Pullard says he will be ready for what lies ahead this spring and beyond.

”I will continue to work on playing with better leverage, getting better in coverage and working on my lateral skills,” Pullard said. “I know I can become a better leader. I also know I will have to adapt to the NFL. You adapt or you go the opposite way. There’s more speed and there are veterans. Things will be a little bit different.”

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