O'Dowd's Looking Forward to Spring

USC fans are looking forward to the opening of spring practice on March 25th and so is USC sophomore center Kristofer O'Dowd. The talented center talked with SCPlaybook's Kevin Carden and gave us his thoughts on what it means to be a Trojan, the upcoming season and much more.

Q: When Matt Spanos went down last year you were able to step right in and play at a high level as a freshman. Why do you think you were able to step in and have a smooth transition to the college level?

A: It was really just the other players on the field that made me so ready. I was going up against Sedrick Ellis everyday and he made me pretty good. He definitely taught me a lot of lessons and you have to respond quickly because you want to do well. It was unfortunate what happened to Matt (Spanos) but they had the confidence to let me take over but that was last year and this year is coming up and I feel really confident. I have a couple things to tighten down but I am totally confident in what I am doing.

Q: You got injured against Washington and as a result missed a good portion of the season. What was the hardest part of not being able to be out on the field?

A: That pretty much was it, and everyday going in and not seeing dramatic results. I haven't really had a major injury like that before. I'm now finally coming back, I'm about 95 percent. It has been like nine months and it feels unbelievable that I can come back out here and do what I need to do.

Q: The offensive line is losing a lot of talented players to the NFL draft but still has a lot of experienced young players. What are your expectations for the offensive line this season?

A: We have a really young offensive line. Jeff (Byers) is the leader behind it all and the veteran of the group. I think this going to be one of the fastest offensive lines in the country.

O'Dowd showing off his guns.
Q: You guys have been hard at work this off-season with Coach Carlisle. How have your workouts been going and what have you been trying to improve?

A: Just the snap and my steps, making the calls and studying film.

Q: Last year you had the chance to go up against Sedrick Ellis everyday in practice. First off, how much of a challenge was that for you and what did you learn going up against a player of his caliber?

A: It was definitely a challenge, you can tell from all the hype he is getting right now with the NFL and all that. He is definitely a very unique player and is one of the best. When you play against the best like we do everyday here in practice you are ready to compete, so it just made me grow as a player.

Q: The center usually makes the calls for the offensive line. How much more comfortable are you heading into your sophomore season having a year of experience under your belt?

A: It definitely got me ready to know what I am going against and I'm 100 percent confident in what I am doing.

Q: Averell Spicer is a guy that you have had to battle during practice. Do you think he will be able to step in and replace Sedrick Ellis this season and be an impact player?

A: Definitely, he is very talented and the same with Christian (Tupou). They are both very good players that have their own attributes and I can see them making a huge impact.

Q: Last year the offensive line and USC running game were able to wear some teams down and control the line of scrimmage. How does it feel to line up across from a guy late in a game and impose your will on the defense?

A: It just shows everybody that this what we do and you can try whatever you want to but we are just going to manhandle you guys.

Q: Pat Ruel is one of the most respected offensive line coaches in college football. What makes him such a successful coach?

A: He's down to everything, technique and footwork and all the basics. That's definitely why I came here, to be coached by the best.

Q: What does it mean to you to be a Trojan?

A: It doesn't even have to be on the field. It could be off the field as well. It's kind of like a persona of confidence that you have and I am definitely proud to say that I am a Trojan.

Mark Sanchez gets the snap from Kristofer O'Dowd.

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