An Interview With Phil Petty

Phil Petty has returned as a Graduate Assistant on this year's staff of USC football coaches. He is here for a purpose - several purposes actually. And in this interview for our premium subscribers Petty talks about what he is doing, what he plans to do in the future, and what he might bring to the table that will help the current crop of QBs on the Gamecock roster ...

Phil Petty

On being back out on the field and coaching for the Gamecocks.

"Well this is what I wanted to do, it's what I love to do. You know football just comes naturally to me, it is my life. This is just another side of it and it is something that I really enjoy ... the teaching side - seeing a game plan come together. Being here is something I am really excited about."

How involved is he with the quarterbacks.

"I mean I'm pretty involved. Coach Skip lets me have a little more free reign maybe than he would most guys with me having been involved in this system and having played for him. I know what he wants, I know what he expects. I probably have a better grasp on things than someone from outside of the family would have."

On this year's quarterbacks.

"They are all competing and all working hard and doing the things we are asking them to do. They are going to make mistakes ... especially the younger guys Syvelle and Blake. But there is a lot of talent there. A lot of talent."

On their individual strengths and weaknesses.

"Syvelle Newton is a great athlete. He brings that to the table. He is a smart young man and a good guy ... good to be around. A natural leader. He has a presence about him. If this is the way it goes then he could be a good quarterback one day."

"Blake Mitchell is a young guy who has a lot of talent. He throws the ball well and he is a good leader too. I expect big things from him down the road. He understands the game. He is a hard worker too."

"Mike Rathe is a guy that's got a real strong arm and throws the ball well. He's an intelligent guy too. He runs the team really well. I look for him to do well this year."

"Dondrial obviously, I mean most people have seen him play. He is very capable of doing a lot of things out there ... he's the fifth year senior so a lot is expected from him this season and I believe this will be his year."

"All of them individually have their different talents and skills but all of them are very capable."

How much field generalship are the coaches having to teach this year.

"I obviously cannot take another snap. I wish I could. But the one thing I can help these guys with - coming from my perspective, as a guy who has played in this system and understands it ... I've seen every blitz and every coverage thrown at me so that is where I am concentrating with these guys. You know, tips ... things to look for from these defenses they are going to see. Learning from the films. Tendencies ... things that will help them read defenses before the ball is even snapped. And these guys are catching on fast. They learn quickly. They are a very smart group of guys."

What is in the future for Phil Petty.

"Well obviously, this is what I want to do. I want to coach college football - that's the reason I made this step. You know, obviously I want to see where things go and what opportunities there are out there. I am learning a lot from this group of coaches I am around right now ... the whole side of this coaching thing because there is a lot that goes on besides the Xs and Os and what goes on on the field. So I am trying to take it in natural steps and progress at a natural pace. Whatever happens next hopefully will be positive."

About staying in touch with some of his old buddies.

"Oh yeah, Brewer is back in Columbia now ... and I could name thirty names that all of us keep in touch and we are all still very tight. We had a good few years, four or five years actually because even when we were losing we were tight. But we did something that sort of set a precedent and raised the standards some,or at least we like to think that ... but we still talk about it often and we like to hang out together and everyone is doing good. Everyone keeps up with the program and is interested in how things are going."

Phil Petty USC Bio

2001 - Senior leader at quarterback … Chosen one of the team's three co-captains … Three-year starter … Has led USC to 16 victories in his last 22 starts … Is not flashy or spectacular, but he is steady and is a winner … Heads into the bowl game with career passing totals of 435-824-28 for 5,429 yards and 26 touchdowns … Ranks fourth in school history in passing yards … His 26 career TD passes ties him with Jeff Grantz for #6 on the school's all-time list … Has accumulated 5,708 yards of total offense during his career, which is likewise fourth on the school's list … His poise and leadership came through in the clutch against Georgia, as he led the Gamecocks on their touchdown-winning drive with 3:10 remaining in the game, culminated by a 16-yard TD pass to Brian Scott with 1:22 on the time clock … Took a hit from a Georgia linebacker on that pass and didn't know it had been completed until he saw his teammates celebrating in the end zone … Was very solid against Georgia, completing 19 of 29 passes for 193 yards and one TD … Was extremely effective in the comeback win over Alabama, completing 19 of 33 passes for 291 yards and a career-best three TD passes … Threw the game-winning touchdown to tight end Rod Trafford with 2:18 in the Alabama game … Threw a pair of TD passes against Kentucky and also scored on a 14-yard run in that contest … Bounced back from a lackluster performance against Arkansas to complete 13 of 21 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Vanderbilt, a game in which the Gamecocks racked up a school-record 656 yards of total offense and tied a school mark with 34 first downs … Threw a TD pass to Derek Watson in 17-10 loss at Tennessee … Ranks eighth in the SEC in total offense (175.7), seventh in the SEC in passing yards (154.5), and eighth in the SEC in passing efficiency (123.0) … Had not thrown an interception in 121 pass attempts this season and 127 attempts dating back to last season, until he misfired in the Arkansas game .... Still, his six interceptions are tied for the third lowest total among starting QBs in the SEC ... Rushed for 39 yards vs. Florida … Suffered a bruised right shoulder in the second half of the Florida game and was forced to leave the game ... Was questionable entering the season finale against Clemson, but he hung tough and played a solid game vs. the Tigers, completing 14 of 23 passes for 152 yards and rushing for 29 yards in leading USC to the 20-15 win over its arch-rival ... Was on the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award during the season ... Recipient of the Offensive MVP award for spring practice for the second straight season.

2000 - Enjoyed a solid year as USC's starting quarterback ... Named honorable mention All-SEC by the AP … Ranked fifth in the SEC in total offense, averaging 195.1 yards per game ... Threw for 2,285 yards and rushed for 59 yards ... Threw eight touchdown passes with 10 interceptions ... Completed better than 54 percent of his passes ... At the Outback Bowl, he was nine of 19 for 175 yards and one touchdown to help give the Gamecocks a 24-7 victory over Ohio State ... Threw for a career-high 305 yards with two TD's in the win over Mississippi State, including a TD pass of 58 yards ... Despite having a severe ankle sprain, he came off the bench at Alabama to throw two second half TD passes ... Threw for 228 yards and one TD in the win over Kentucky ... Completed two TD passes in win over Arkansas ... Threw for 268 yards, including a career-best 78-yard TD reception, against Tennessee ... Has done a solid job of engineering USC's offense ... His 2,285 passing yards this season ranked the eighth best single season total in school history ... Received a winner's certificate for his outstanding play during the season.

1999 - Starting quarterback who went down with a knee injury in the season's fourth game vs. Mississippi State and missed the next five games ... Completed 65 of 146 passes for 803 yards and one touchdown ... Threw seven interceptions ... Injuries to offensive line certainly didn't help his cause as a first-year starting quarterback ... Threw for 167 yards in the season finale against Clemson ... Passed for 164 yards against Florida ... Threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Spikes in the Georgia game ... Threw a season-high three interceptions in the loss to East Carolina ... Was playing well in the Mississippi State game before he suffered a knee injury in the second half against the Bulldogs ... While the injury did not result in surgery, Petty missed six weeks before returning to the lineup against Florida ... Led his team to victory in the Spring Game, completing 10 of 19 passes for 161 yards and one interception, despite being slowed with the flu leading up to the game and still feeling the effects of it during the game.

1998 - Emerged as a solid contributor as the season progressed ... Saw action in 10 of the 11 games at quarterback ... Had significant playing time against Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Clemson ... On the year, he threw for 642 yards and completed 55 of 112 passes with seven touchdowns and five interceptions ... Threw for 149 yards and one TD on eight of 17 passing against Kentucky ... In the most extensive playing time of his college career, he was in for nearly 1/2 of the snaps vs. Arkansas ... Led USC to two scoring drives in the game against the Razorbacks, throwing a pair of TD passes - one to tight end Trevon Matthews and another to wide receiver Zola Davis ... In the Arkansas game, he completed 7 of 13 passes with two interceptions for 79 yards and the two TD's ... Threw a pair of touchdown passes against Tennessee ... Threw a 16 yard touchdown to Kerry Hood in the Florida game, and also ran for touchdown from one yard out ... Threw a late touchdown against Clemson.

1997 - Was redshirted his freshman year.

High School - Co-captain of South Carolina's Shrine Bowl team ... Offensive MVP of the Shrine Bowl ... Named a SuperPrep All-America ... Rated the No. 13 quarterback prospect in the country by SuperPrep ... Rated the No. 4 quarterback prospect in the ACC region by PrepStar ... Rated the No. 5 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep ... A member of the Charlotte Observer Top 25 in South Carolina ... His senior year, he threw for 2,376 yards and 26 touchdowns ... As a junior he threw for 1,350 yards and nine touchdowns despite playing in only six games due to an injury ... First-team all-state selection by the Associated Press ... High school teammate of former Gamecock offensive lineman Taylor Irvin ... Coached by Mac Bryan at Boiling Springs High School.

Personal - Born Sept. 8, 1978 ... Majoring in Retailing.

Year Cmp. Att. Int. Pct. Yds. S TD LP
1998 55 112 5 49.1 642 9 7 27
1999 65 146 7 44.5 803 22 1 47
2000 170 315 10 54.0 2,285 19 8 78
2001 154 251 6 57.8 1,699 10 10 66
Totals 444 824 28 53.9 5,429 60 26 78
Year No. Yds. Avg. TD Long
1998 33 -31 -0.9 1 13
1999 47 -102 -2.2 0 12
2000 60 59 1.0 0 26
2001 76 234 3.1 3 24
Totals 216 160 0.7 4 26

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