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Safety Chris Hawkins part of a more aggressive USC defense

Chris Hawkins was the lone Trojan safety on the field for much of the afternoon against UCLA. We caught up with the redshirt sophomore one-on-one after the victory to get his take on the impressive victory.

Chris Hawkins Q&A:

What did it mean to beat your rival, UCLA?

Chris Hawkins: "It means a lot. You know weve been through a lot this season, now moving forward weve [got to take it] one game at a time. Our objective was to be Pac-12 South champs, we were that, and now weve got to go do whats 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 were 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 theyre 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 Id say for myself but inside the lines I was very active. The stat sheets 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 hes 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 its crazy, Im just ready for it. Were going to go try and get some revenge because this team beat us earlier, first loss of the season. But weve got to take it one day at a time. Well watch some film tomorrow, watch some film on Monday, lift a couple of weights, and then its time to go.

Do you think Clay Helton should be hired as the permanent head coach?

CH: Yeah, Im one of the guys that wants him as head coach. Coach Helton 2016 baby.

"Look what hes done to us as a team. Weve been through so much and for him to still put us in a position where we can go play for a Rose Bowl. Who wouldve ever thought wed 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 its awesome.

Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates from USC's regular season finale win against UCLA.

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Ryan Abraham has been the publisher of USCFootball.com since 1996. You can follow him on Twitter at @InsideTroy or email him at ryan@uscfootball.com.


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