Thomas Duarte during USC Week:
On how he feels:
I feel good. I feel really good. The bye week really helped.
On what the USC game means:
Being a Southern California kid, it means everything. Just the week leading up to the game is everything I thought it would be. Experiencing it last year was a dream come true.
On if he grew up as a USC fan:
I watched them but was never really a fan because my mom went to UCLA, so it was kind of a household thing.
On hearing about it being a Mater Dei student:
Every day. Every day I got some joke about USC or a hint I should go there. It was fun.
On if he understands it more now:
Yes because all the activities leading up to the week and you see how serious all the people take it. Still to this day, months after the game, people are congratulating you. It puts it in to perspective.
On what a third straight win would mean:
I don't know if it changes anything, we're just trying to go out there and play our best on Saturday.
On Mossi Johnson in his absence:
I'm proud of him. He stepped up big for the team and that's what they needed from him.
On getting his first catch against USC:
We'll see and find out. I'm excited for the game.
On balancing their emotions:
Coach Mora really helped with that. He helps us stay poised. Play your game, don't let the outside stuff affect you. But there is always that emotion where you want to make that statement but you have to remember that's a team game.
On playing against themself:
Everything that has happened, the outside noise, we have to tune it out and play to the Bruin standard.
On if its easier dealing with rivalry hype:
There is nothing like rivalry week. They can talk all they want about the national stuff, but when it comes to crosstown rivalries, there is nothing like it.
VIDEO: Duarte on Return to Field
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