The loss of senior leader Josh Shaw came with many ramifications. USC lost the leader of their secondary, a senior captain and an All-Pac-12 caliber player. For junior cornerback Kevon Seymour, it was the loss of a good friend, roommate and brother on the field. But enough with that. USC has a new leader in their secondary and that new leader is Seymour himself. Although some might see many question marks in the secondary, Seymour is confident in his group.
“I don’t see any question marks,” Seymour said. “When you’re out there with your guys and the young guys are coming along, everything is running smooth. Playing with technique and confidence so we’ll be alright.”
Leading up to the season, Seymour wasn't feeling 100-percent. He came down with a flu early in camp that caused him to miss time and drop some needed weight. That time is long in the rearview mirror though as Seymour felt we was perfectly ready for the Fresno State game and the season in general.
“I felt good going into the first game,” Seymour said. “I had all my energy and stuff. I put my weight back on so that’s a good thing.”
The junior corner had to feel good on Saturday, due to the fact that he would be guarding Fresno State’s best wide receiver, Josh Harper. The two got a chance to know each other a little bit better, but Seymour reassures that it was all in good fun.
“First of all, Josh Harper is a great receiver and a great dude as well,” Seymour explained. “I wasn’t expecting that from him, I wasn't expecting nothing less, but I just wasn’t expecting that. He had some great moves, he had some speed and he definitely had size. His size is deceiving. When you’re looking out on the field and stuff, well he might not be 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-1 and a half, but he really was and he had nice size. He was pretty physical. We were out there just exchanging words, but nothing personal. Just getting to know each other, but at the same time, taking care of our business.”
Seymour, being the most experienced member of the secondary, made some veteran observations about other defensive backs on Saturday afternoon, some who were starting their first college games. Chris Hawkins was one of those guys and Seymour thought Hawkins did an exceptional job considering it was his first college start, but thinks Hawkins still has some things to work on.
“He did pretty good,” Seymour said. “He had the jitters a little bit, just like every player in their first college game, but he did pretty good. He’s always got to improve and communicate better and when we do that, we’ll be a dominant secondary.”
The Trojans started three safeties on defense Saturday and it was something different to deal with for the cornerbacks from past years. Seymour feels like despite the change, the cornerbacks and safeties worked very well together and made it a seamless transition.
“The coaches do that,” Seymour said. “They rotate them in and they communicate with us and we communicate with them so we can be solid on the back end and (make) no mistakes. We worked real well with them. During fall camp, we went through all of that and made corrections and stuff like that. Leon stepped up big time too, Leon McQuay, so he’s been doing good. Su’a, he’s been in situations like this last year so he’s used to it. And Gerald, just an old veteran. Even though he didn’t play that much last year, he pretty much knows everything. He can help all the guys out so that’s good for us.”
A ton of hype surrounding this team has been about fab-freshman Adoree Jackson. The former 5-star got a chance to get in the game on both sides of the ball Saturday and Seymour was impressed with the freshman’s first college game.
“He did real good on both sides of the ball,” Seymour said. “Catching some good balls, where he could have dropped them, but he held on to it. On defense, he did pretty good. We all got to be more consistent on our technique, but overall, he did pretty good for his first game.”
When Jackson comes into the game, does it change anything with the cornerbacks?
“No, Chris stays in and I stay in too,” Seymour said. “We just bring him in so we can have some more speed. I normally go to the far sideline. Just keep him on the left sideline and stuff like that. The nickel package. Chris would go to the nickel back. Adoree would replace Chris in at corner. It would be me and Adoree at corner and Chris go to the nickel. Chris is a smart guy. He knows pretty much the whole defense. D-line and all of that. Chris is a smart guy.”
As the now sudden leader of this secondary, Seymour expects the best out of every one of his defensive backs. Even if you make an interception, you better get the most out of the return. Gerald Bowman might be in the Seymour doghouse, but it’s all in good fun.
“Man, he must have never touched the ball in college, high school or Pop Warner because there’s no way he should have stepped out of bounds,” Seymour said. “We still on him, to this day. Every time he walks into meetings. I’m not going to let that go until he makes it up. I promise you, I’m not going to let it go.”