Coffee Ready to Work

The big day is coming for Fort Walton Beach (FL) linebacker/running back Matt Coffee as he will move into his dorm at South Carolina this Sunday. Read inside as recruiting analyst Wes Mitchell goes in-depth with the versatile athlete about a full range of topics including the recruiting process, the team he is most looking forward to playing, and the knee injury he suffered.

Interview with 2009 South Carolina Signee Matt Coffee

Wes Mitchell: You're making your way to Columbia this Sunday and actually attending class for Summer II on Tuesday. It's obviously a big time for you, what's going through your head right now?

Matt Coffee: Of course I'm excited. I mean, I've been waiting on this a long time. I just really can't wait. I'm just beyond excited, I don't even know. I have cousins that stay in Atlanta, so I'm going to drive up Saturday to Atlanta and stay there. Then I guess I have to report to the stadium on Sunday.

WM: Obviously, you could play some running back or linebacker at USC. Do you know which spot you're going to start out at?

MC: I'm not really sure, yet. I talked to the running backs coach; he came to my school and was recruiting some of my players, some of the players at Walton. He said they wanted me to play running back, but I'm not really sure. I guess it will be decided when I get up there.

WM: So, speaking of that, do you have a preference as to which position you would rather play?

MC: It doesn't really matter; I've always played defense and offense. I mean, I don't know, it just really doesn't matter. It's just really whatever position helps the team the most.

WM: So, let's go back for a little bit. Back during your recruitment, what was it about South Carolina that really made it the right fit for you?

MC: They just really just recruited me the hardest. They just showed they wanted me the most out of everybody. And it was just like they were going to take care of me. Out of all the schools that offered me I just liked them the most. It just felt right, and then I went on my visit and I just loved it. So, I committed a couple of weeks after I visited that summer my junior year. It just felt right so I just figured, ‘why not?'

WM: So, Coach Shane Beamer recruited you for South Carolina. What was his recruiting pitch to you, and how did your relationship with him kind of unfold?

MC: I mean, we talked every week. We talked at least once every week. We just really kind of got to know each other. He just made me feel right about Carolina. So, it was pretty easy. I mean, it was pretty easy to decide, because I just felt at home. They just made me feel like they were going to take care of me, and that was really what I was looking for. Coach Beamer, he's cool, he's real cool. He's real down-to-earth about everything. He seemed truthful about everything he was saying.

WM: On a more serious note how's the knee? (Coffee tore his ACL and meniscus early during his senior season)

MC: Oh, it's good. When I try to run full speed and push it to the max, it still kind of hurts a little bit. But it should be good. I stopped the rehab down here, but I guess I'm going to start it back when I get up there. I've just been working out. I love the low-impact stuff like riding the bikes.

WM: Your brother, Glen (former Alabama standout running back), played SEC football. What has he told you about making that transition?

MC: He says it's going to be fun. I mean we haven't really talked about it a whole lot. He just mainly says to protect myself when I'm on the field. And just to keep a level head. My mom pretty much raised us to have morals and stuff. He just pretty much told me to handle myself like I should and how I know to.

WM: So you're starting these summer workouts next week. What have you been told from players and coaches about these grueling workouts you've got coming up?

MC: One player told me there was really nothing I could do to get ready for it back at home. He said there was no kind of workout plan you can even think of to get used to it and come in ready. (laughs) I mean, I'm ready; I'm excited. I'm just ready to work.

WM: It's always going to be hard to just come in and just play in the SEC. Do you have any goals this season, and have you talked to the coaches yet about whether you will likely redshirt or not this year?

MC: I'm still not really sure. My only goal this year is I just really want to help the team win more games. I just want to win. I just want to win games. That's my goal for this year. I still don't know what college football is like because I haven't played it so I can't be setting any numbers. But I just want to help the team win; that's my main goal. That's always going to be my main goal.

WM: So what do you think will be the hardest part about the transition from high school ball to the SEC?

MC: I guess everybody is bigger and faster, and they're going to be more experienced too. But I guess everybody else gets used to it, so I'm just going to get out there and try my hardest.

WM: You're coming in with a pretty highly-rated class. What do you think this class as a whole can bring to South Carolina?

MC: I definitely think we could make a big splash and hopefully get that first SEC Championship. We can make a difference so I'm excited.

WM: You said you played in a new high school stadium this past season and played in front of 12,000 fans. But what's it going to be like playing in front of 80,000-plus for the first time?

MC: Man, I can't wait for that. I can't wait at all. I'm going to have so many goose bumps.

WM: Have you seen the 2001 entrance?

MC: Yeah, with the band lined up and the smoke? Yeah. And that Cocky. (laughs) That's funny right there. I watched him. That's crazy.

WM: The goal since Spurrier got to South Carolina has always been to win the SEC. Most of the players in this class have been talking about the potential of being on the first team to do so. What would that be like to be remembered as part of the team that did that?

MC: Man that would be great. I can't even describe the feeling. That would be crazy. To have that beside my name, or our name, that would be great. It should happen, I hope it happens. I'm going to try my hardest to make it happen, too.

WM: Do you have a team that you've already go marked down on the calendar that you just can't wait to play?

MC: Well, I'm not from Carolina so I don't really know a lot about Clemson and NC State, that rivalry. But I'm definitely looking forward to playing Alabama. I'm sure I'm going to start to dislike Clemson and NC State. I hope we beat up on them every year. I'm going to be looking forward to that Alabama and Clemson game.

WM: I always ask, do you have a message for all the Gamecock fans out there?
MC: I'm excited and I can't wait! I hope they're ready for a great season; I hope they're excited. And I just can't wait to get up there and start running around. Profile - Matt Coffee

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