Tupou is All Training, All Testing

Senior Christian Tupou has a busy semester ahead of him: he'll be training for the NFL Draft in April and finishing up his Master's degree in Communication Management. Scout's Whitney Blaine talked with Tupou about his immediate future.

Q: Hey Christian, thanks for taking the time. Where are you training at right now?
A: At USC. I have one more class then I'll be done.

Q: What class is it?
A: It's a directed research class for my Master's degree. in Communication Management.

Q: That's a great accomplishment. When did you start that?
A: I started in the spring of last year, so spring 2011.

Q: So you're in school but you're also training for the draft. How has the training been going?
A: It's going pretty well. I've been training since the 1st [of January], or since the season ended.

Q: How has your training regimen differed from when you were in the college football season?
A: My focus is more on strength in my lower body instead of practicing. I can focus on building my strength up. This past season my knee was good [after having an injury and surgery], I just haven't had the appropriate time to strengthen it. I have always been doing functional movement in terms of rehab.

Q: How many hours a day are you training?
A: All I know is that I'm gone by 6:30 a.m. and I don't get back until about 5 p.m.. My class will be from 6:30-9:30 p.m. once a week.

Q: Wow sounds time consuming. Are you training with any other Trojans?
A: Yeah Shane Horton, Boomer Roepke, Allen Noble and others.

Q: Very cool. With the strength and conditioning staff?
A: Yeah.

Q: I know some players are training in Arizona, near the Valley, or other places like that. Does it help working with someone familiar?
A: Definitely because they already know my body so they've already tweaked stuff ahead of time. I don't have to tell them about me over and over. Just being in the weight room around the coaches and some of the younger guys helps a lot too. The way we work over here is different than anywhere else. A lot of people at USC see a mansion on the hill, they don't see the factory, they just see the finished product. It's a culture of grinding and working our tails off every day. That's SC and I'm only used to that non-stop approach to things.

Q: Have you heard anything as far as draft predictions go? Where you're expected to be picked?
A: Wherever I go I'm not really worried about it because it doesn't guarantee your spot on a roster.

Q: Do you have an agent?
A: Yeah I have one. Our goal is to get faster and stronger for Pro Day. The way I'm approaching is it day-by-day, is by working a little bit harder than I did today.

Q: That's a mature approach. It's still early, but are you already feeling stronger?
A: In a way I've been able to regain a lot of my strength back from resting in December. I was able to let my body recuperate. My muscle and joints, they feel a lot better.

Q: If you got drafted, what are you most looking forward to about playing in the league?
A: Just being able to compete against the best. That's exactly what I want to do.

Q: Do you see yourself fitting in with a certain team, system or with a particular head coach more than another?
A: If I'm fortunate enough to get that experience, I think I'll be comfortable anywhere. A lot of people don't know we watch a lot of pro film, to see what they're doing, sack film, the prep is all structured like an NFL team [at USC].

Q: You watch NFL film during the season?
A: Almost every day. During the season and offseason. It's perfect. It may sound like a lot to other people but you really can't watch enough film.

Q: That does sound like a lot. I've talked to other athletes that have talked about their love for football before but you seem to genuinely enjoy the process not just the product. Is that fair to say?
A: It's just a feeling you get when you're on the field, when you're doing things right, when you're playing with perfect technique, there's a natural high you get. That confidence you feel in yourself, you feel proud.

Q: How has Coach Orgeron helped you get to this point?
A: He's been instrumental in terms of boosting my game. The way he's helped me out most was when I wasn't playing [when I was injured]. I was basically an assistant coach for him. I would pick his brain, in terms of what he knows about offenses and certain schemes he ran at Tennessee. I learned a ton from Coach O when I wasn't playing. When I was playing it was like ‘alright, now that you know, go ahead and play.'

Q: Very interesting. So you're not focusing on a round to be drafted in?
A: As long as I get an opportunity to show any team or coach to show what I can do I'd be happy with that.

Q: Has being at USC prepared you well and given you the necessary confidence to go to this next level?
A: This past decade of what ‘SC has done it definitely put us young Trojans under the map. What we do is under the spotlight, in terms of exposure. Coach Kiffin helped us this past offseason talk to reporters, to get a sense of speaking under pressure.

Q: No wonder you guys are so well spoken with us. What are your stats right now?
A: I'm 6'3 and currently 300. I would like to be 290 but I feel good at 300 so just as long as I can run a good 40 [yard dash time] and play good technique I'm not concerned as much.

Q: Are you on a special diet?
A: Yeah the Subway diet. As soon as I get the proper funds I will eat better.

Q: I love Subway. What do you order?
A: Meatball marinara, with everything on it. As comfortable as I can get with all the vegetables.

Q: Yeah you got to get all those nutrients. Thanks for the time Christian.
A: No problem, Whitney. Thanks.


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