Malaefou MacKenzie interview

WeAreSC.com interview with USC RB Malaefou MacKenzie at the Elite 11 QB camp

WeAreSC "Tell us about your summer workouts."

MM "We've just been working with Coach Carlisle up at USC and ever since July 1st we've been on a five day program of running and lifting through the whole week. Before that we had power lifting, more of the heavy lifting, four times a week. It's awesome, we're just doing a lot of conditioning."

WeAreSC "We've heard a lot about the difference in conditioning with Carlisle, how has that helped you?"

MM "Oh, it's helped me a lot, especially with stretching. In the past I had a lot of pulled muscles and it would because I hadn't stretched enough or because I didn't stretch after lifting weights and would just start running. These coaches put a big emphasis on stretching and flexibility and that's only going to help everybody out. Right now I'm as healthy as I've been in a long time."

WeAreSC "What is your role on this team?"

MM "The coaches are telling me I'm pretty much going to do everything, I'm going to play some tailback, some slot receiver and even a little fullback at times. Whatever they need me to do I'm going to do. A lot of people think we aren't going to use the fullback but we had all 3 of our fullbacks out at times with injuries in spring ball and so we haven't done much but we will."

WeAreSC "Talk about the other running backs."

MM "Sultan's looking awesome right now, I think he's lighter than he was last year. I'm surprised Chris Howard's knee has come back so quick and he looks good but he missed the 7 on 7 workouts to save the knee. Fargas, he's the sleeper of the bunch. I know he's not going to play this year but he's an amazing athlete. He always out there working hard with us and he's so explosive and strong, he's gonna be something. Charlie Landrigan, he's a warrior. Chad Pierson has been out all summer with his back but he's slowly but surely getting back. Chad is the whole package with power and speed, he just needs to get healthy. Sunny Byrd had a really good spring but hurt his knee and is wearing a knee brace now. It's getting there slowly but surely. Hopefully they'll be healthy before the season."

WeAreSC "How nice has it been for you to see the success that Landrigan has had after many considered him an afterthought when he was recruited?"

MM "That's what so many people thought but I always knew that all Charlie needed was an opportunity. All he needed was the chance to prove himself. He's strong as a bull."

WeAreSC "What has Pete Carroll brought to this team?"

MM "I think he brings the love of the game. Before we didn't really go out there and have fun playing, we just went to fill spots, but that's going to be a big difference in our play this year."

WeAreSC "What is it about Norm Chow's system?"

MM "It looks so simple but at the same time it seems sophisticated when you are looking at it from the outside. He's so detailed with every little route we do but he uses simple terminology and it's easy to pick up. It's an awesome offense to play in."

WeAreSC "How are you doing academically?"

MM "I'm fine and scheduled to graduate next May with a degree in Public Policy Management."

WeAreSC "What are your goals for the season?"

MM "I just want to win. I heard somewhere that we have the hardest schedule in the country but we've just got to take it one game at a time. We have all this talent, we've always had the talent, but now we've got to do something with that talent. I believe we're going to be all right, we're gonna do real well."

WeAreSC "Who is one player who is going to surprise people?"

MM "Keary Colbert, he's going to surprise a lot of people."

WeAreSC "You live with several teammates in a house off campus, how does that work?"

MM "It's great but lately we've been having 8 or 9 guys staying there with all the guys coming down for workouts. Keary Colbert and Matt Cassel were there last night, Eric Torres sometimes stays the night. We've got myself, Lenny Vandermade, Carson, Norm Katnik, Troy Polamalu, Charlie Landrigan and Grant Mattos. I was gone for two weeks and I came back and the place was just a mess. I'm the clean freak of the house, I clean up everything. I have to be clean."

WeAreSC "Tell us about Mattos"

MM "He's really good. I like him a lot because he works hard, he's out there and he's serious but at the same time he's having fun. He's pretty focused and could be a possession receiver we need. He's got great hands, he has the perfect frame for a receiver, he works hard, he's got everything. I think he's going to be a big part of our receiving corps and he's going to set the tempo for them. He's a worker."

WeAreSC "Are you having a good time at USC?"

MM "Man, I'm having a great time, on and off the field. Off the field I like just hanging out with the guys, spending time with a few girls, whatever is out there. Mostly it's hanging out with my teammates because they are like my extended family after my family moved back to the islands last January. The whole family went back and it's been hard but it's made me focus more. My teammates, they're my family now. On the field right now I am having more fun than I ever have. It's not just the coaches, it's the different attitude of the players, we're responding to the new staff real well."

WeAreSC "Have you taken a role with developing that attitude as a senior?"

MM "Yeah, it's supposed to be that way but I believe our whole team is accountable to each other so it doesn't matter if it's seniors, juniors, freshman, whatever. As long as we set an example for each other we're going to be all right. I know this is my last year and I'm going to miss it a lot but I have to make the best of it right now. My focus is on leaving something for the next guys to try and achieve, set the tempo for the younger guys. We've been losing for too many years and it hurts. It's time to turn it around."


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