Chris Hawkins Q&A:
What did it mean to beat your rival, UCLA?
Chris Hawkins: "It means a lot. You know we’ve been through a lot this season, now moving forward we’ve [got to take it] one game at a time. Our objective was to be Pac-12 South champs, we were that, and now we’ve got to go do what’s next on our list which is to be the Pac-12 overall champions.”
After struggling against Oregon, what changed this week for the secondary?
CH: “We played a lot of man-to-man, almost every play. 90 percent man [coverage] and we just played, they let the dogs loose and we played. Not too much thinking, that was it.
“Usually we’re a base quarters team, we play a lot of quarters defense, but today we were cover one almost every play. I would say we ran 90 percent cover one today. I was the lone deep safety at times. Kevin [Seymour], Adoree’ Jackson, Biggie [Marshall], and then Isaiah [Langley] were coming in at corner, and then sometimes Marvel [Tell] would come into my spot in the back. So we had a good, solid game plan.”
Do you prefer playing more man coverage?
CH: “Yeah, because it lets me be the post safety and lets me roam the field. I can make certain checks if need be, you know get everybody lined up so they know who they’re sticking with. I was trying to read [Josh] Rosen and then sometimes they had me come off a couple of blitzes. I had one QB hit on Rosen, one time, and then I made a tackle in the backfield on another, and I tipped the pass too. It was a quiet game I’d say for myself but inside the lines I was very active. The stat sheet’s not going to say that but I was very active.”
The defensive front appeared to blitz more, did that help out the secondary?
CH: “Yeah it helped because he’s not able to just stand back there and pick us apart. He has to make quick decisions. So yeah it was awesome.”
Have you thought ahead about the possibility of making the Rose Bowl?
CH: “Yeah it’s crazy, I’m just ready for it. We’re going to go try and get some revenge because this team beat us earlier, first loss of the season. But we’ve got to take it one day at a time. We’ll watch some film tomorrow, watch some film on Monday, lift a couple of weights, and then it’s time to go.”
Do you think Clay Helton should be hired as the permanent head coach?
CH: “Yeah, I’m one of the guys that wants him as head coach. Coach Helton 2016 baby.
"Look what he’s done to us as a team. We’ve been through so much and for him to still put us in a position where we can go play for a Rose Bowl. Who would’ve ever thought we’d be able to play for a Rose Bowl after firing our coach and everything like that. He has our team in a whole different light right now, and it’s awesome.”
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates from USC's regular season finale win against UCLA.
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