SCPlaybook's Kevin Carden recently caught up with USC secondary coach Rocky Seto to get his thoughts on the defensive backs and the upcoming season. Look inside for all the details.
Q: First off, how has fall camp gone so far for the defensive backs?
A: I think they've worked hard. I'm very pleased with the way they've been going. It's a really competitive group of guys and I feel so blessed, you know the talent and they're really hungry. They've come along exactly how we hoped they would.
Q: You have three very talented freshmen in Brian Baucham, Dew McAllister and T.J. Bryant, how have the looked so far?
A: Really good. First, let's talk about Brian Baucham. Right now, he has a hurt foot and he'll be back but he's really made tremendous strides. He played a lot of running back in high school, and for the amount of reps that he's taken at corner, he seems really natural and picked up the technique and he's really done a great job. T.J. Bryant, corner from Florida, does an awesome job and is a really natural cover corner guy, really gifted. And Drew McAllister is a physical safety and he got a bunch of turns with the ones today and you know, we're taking a good look at him, he's done a great job, too.
Q: Kevin Ellison is a guy that gets overlooked by the media but just continues to make play after play. Can you talk about how important he is to this defense?
A: In my opinion, he's probably one of the most valuable defensive players that we have just because of his knowledge and how fast he plays. He gets guys lined up as well, and makes all our coverage checks and he's been awesome.
Q: Taylor Mays is one of the most talented players in the country, how good do you think he can become as a player?
A: We define success for our group as maximizing yourselves. My goal is by the time he leaves us to take him as far as we can. Really that's our goal for the whole group is to maximize ourselves, and so we really haven't defined how good he could be. We'll let the player define how good they could be by how hard they work and how far they take it.
Q: Josh Pinkard and Kevin Thomas both return from injuries this year. Talk about their progress and what role you see them playing in '08?
A: Both of them play corner and both of them look good. They're challenging Cary (Harris) and Shareece (Wright) for playing time and I expect them to be in the mix, and they are in the mix. That position is good to have a lot of depth at that position, so, it's a good situation for us.
Q: Shareece Wright is a player that made an impact whenever he was on the field last year and looks poised to have a big 2008 season. Can you talk about his skills?
A: He's done a great job. He really took a big jump this past spring. And then he's really continued that growth this fall camp, really technically, and he's sound. He's getting his technique down and plays hard, and he's really physical and tough. Very similar to Cary (Harris) in terms of the toughness. Both those corners are two of the toughest corners I have ever been around and it's pretty neat.
Q: As a coach how nice is it to have a veteran group in the secondary that has a lot of experience and savvy?
A: It's awesome because what's really rewarding is that you get to work with these guys for the last three years and you kind of build a rapport with them, but at the same time their very experienced and they're vets out there. It's great. It's a great thing to have.
Coach Seto and Coach Carroll talking football.
Stay tuned to the Premium Message Board for regular updates throughout fall camp.