Q&A with Kevin Arbet

Trojan corner Kevin Arbet was forced to sit out last year after suffering an injury in fall camp but he is ready to return for this upcoming season as a key member of the Trojan defense and special teams. WeAreSC.com sat down with Kevin recently to get an update on his rehab and some thoughts on the upcoming season. Click below for the interview:

WeAreSC- Talk about having to sit out last season and having to watch the team, and specifically the seniors, the guys you came into USC with, from the sidelines all year.

Arbet- "It was difficult. It was real hard, especially not being able to go out with my class that I came in with. That was the first year that I ever sat out or missed a football season so that made it even harder. And we were winning, so I wanted to be a part of it. It was real hard."

WeAreSC- How is the foot doing these days?

Arbet- "It's doing good. It's just a little sore, but I'm doing everything full speed, lifting, squatting, everything. I haven't been able to do that in a long time. It's hard coming back, my legs and my body, it's difficult but I'm coming back slowly. In January they took the screw out. It felt better after they took it out. The hole where the screw was had to heal up, but it healed. It's 95% healed. It's just a little bit sore still."

WeAreSC- What was it like getting back on the field for spring ball?

Arbet- "It felt good. I couldn't wait to get out there. It was hard though because I didn't give it enough time to heal from taking the screw out. I had good days and bad days, but it felt good."

WeAreSC- Talk about your summer workout schedule. Anything in particular that you're trying to work on, especially with such a long lay off?

Arbet- "It's going good. Like I said, it's slow. I'm out of shape. I haven't done anything in like a year or year and a half, but it's going good. The specifics, I just have to get in shape and then I'll have to work extra on my foot work. I just have to get my strength back and my legs back. My legs are real skinny but I have to get them back. Basically, I have to get out of compensating for my foot, because when it hurts I tend to lean on the good one. So, I'm getting out of doing that and just testing it and jumping on it like its normal. The other stuff, the speed work and the agility work is really good. The whole strength program is really good."

WeAreSC- In addition to being a standout on defense, you were also named All Pac-10 as a junior for your play on special teams. Talk about the importance of special teams and what that part of the game means to you.

Arbet- "It starts the game. You go out there and kickoff or kickoff return. You can make plays, like my junior year, I knew my role and I just wanted to make plays and just be on the field. I love football so much, it was just fun. It doesn't really take that much motivation, It's just fun. I just like to make plays, so wherever I can make plays, I'll make plays."

WeAreSC- What do you like about playing cornerback?

Arbet- "Probably the challenge. We're out there on an island, and then the challenge of perfecting your technique and getting better each day, because you can perfect it. Everyday you can get better at something. You know, you can watch tape and see what you're doing wrong and perfect it. So, it's the challenge."

WeAreSC- What is it like working with a defensive back specialist like Coach Carroll everyday in practice?

Arbet- "I think it's great. Him being our defensive coordinator, it's something new to me. I've never had a head coach be so close to us and be right there teaching us, and hands on. It's good. I like it a lot."

WeAreSC- Talk about some of the specific technical things that he has taught you and brought to your game since he arrived.

Arbet- "He's brought experience, he's worked with a lot of corners, and his technique that he uses is really good. A lot of guys in the NFL that he's coached still use it. We watch film and we're like, ‘Oh damn, we're doing exactly what they're doing.' It's cool to see that. His technique, step-and-kick, it just gives you patience, and at the line of scrimmage, bump. That his thing, bump-and-run coverage."

WeAreSC- You brought up Coach Carroll's "step-and-kick" technique. Expand a little on that for people who don't know.

Arbet- "Like I said, the step-and-kick. Basically it gets you more patient at the line. When the ball is snapped, you just step, like a pier step, and then whichever way they go, you kick. Instead of crossing over and running, you kick so it puts you in lead position. And it takes away the deep ball. That's his number one thing, take away the deep ball. And instead of being shaded inside, we're head up. It's a really good technique."

WeAreSC- What's it like for a DB playing in Coach Carroll's defense, with all of the blitzing and the unpredictability. How much fun is that for you guys?

Arbet- "It's fun. I think it gives a chance for the corners to make plays and it's more simplified. It showcases your talent more and it sets you up to succeed and make plays. It's fun. I love it. I think it's made for us."

WeAreSC- What has Coach Burns brought to the DB's since he came to USC?

Arbet- "He's a good coach. He's a players coach, just like Coach Carroll. He's technical, you know, he gets the best out of us and we work hard for him. We want to play for him. He's cool."

WeAreSC- There were so many seniors last year that really filled the leadership role on the team. With all of those guys gone, who asserts that role now?

Arbet- "I think Grootegoed, BKU, Omar, myself, Keary Colbert, Jacob Rogers, and Shaun Cody. First of all, they're all good people. They do it right, they have good morals and everything. The young guys can look at them and say ‘oh, that's how you do it.' And they're good, they work hard, and they make plays. They all have good work-ethics."

WeAreSC- As a senior who has been here for awhile, what do you hope to bring to this team as far as leadership goes?

Arbet- "I'm not really a rah-rah guy. I lead by example and give the younger guys the knowledge that I have and that the guys that left gave me, just to carry it on, because I have a lot of experience I think. I have a lot of tricks I can give them, and advice. So I think I can give that, just by working hard and telling them to do it like I do."

WeAreSC- With your step-father Jeff Simmons being a former USC wide-out, how early on in your life did you know that you wanted to be a Trojan and what does that mean to you?

Arbet- "Man, it means the world. I knew a little bit, but I didn't know much about SC until my dad started taking me to games and showing me all of his pictures, and his jerseys, and footballs, and helmets. I've wanted to be a Trojan since I was eight I think. When I went to my first game here against Notre Dame, in I think 89'. It means a lot. It's just the tradition is so deep. That's why I have that tattoo. It means that much."

WeAreSC- Growing up, what kind of influence did your step-father have on your game?

Arbet- "A whole lot. We would just go out and do one-on-one's, because I was more of an offensive player, but he would teach me something so I would have to guard him. So I got stuff from the offensive point of view, so it was cool to learn that side of it. That helped me a lot. Then we would go over plays in the playbook. He had his old playbooks from the NFL and we'd go over X's and O's, and do all kinds of stuff."

WeAreSC- You had numerous offers out of high school, but you walked-on at USC and earned a scholarship. What advice would you give to kids who are in the situation you were in, where you have offers, but not from your dream school?

Arbet- "I would say follow your dreams, whatever it takes. It might not be route A, but it might be route B or C, however you've got to get there, get there. If you're able to pay and walk-on, then do that and you have to work extra, extra hard and earn the scholarship. But I'd say follow your dreams and do whatever it takes to reach them."

WeAreSC- What are the goals both for the team and yourself for the season?

Arbet- "For the team, it's to win the Pac-10 Championship again, and go to the Rose Bowl or the national championship, either one of those. Work as hard as we can and improve, and just keep our winning ways going. For me, I have a million of them, but just to stay healthy and I want my ten interceptions, and run five of them back, but just to get better. Do whatever it takes to win."


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