With the offseason more than halfway over in Southern California, we caught up with USC tight end Randall Telfer to talk about his injury progress, offseason workouts, and what he is looking forward to in 2013.
Reign of Troy: In spring ball, you torn your meniscus. Typically, that’s about a 6-8 week recovery process. Are you all healed now?
Randall Telfer: I was recovering just fine, but then I participated in a 7-on-7 because there were no other tight ends available and that kind of made it worse. It started to swell up, which has kind of stalled my recovery, but I will still be good to go by fall. From here on out, I’ll just need to get it drained after practice, probably.
RoT: How about Xavier Grimble? Has that fractured chest injury healed?
Telfer: X is good and healthy; he also will be ready to go by fall.
RoT: With both of you out, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick really had to step up this spring. What have you seen in him so far?
Telfer: He’s progressing really well, he’s a lot different then when he first got here. He’s matured a lot. We have helped him to get better at taking the coaching, so we will see what happens, what his role is come fall.
RoT: The tight ends are now being coached by Special Teams Coach, John Baxter. How has the unit grown in the short time you have been under his guidance?
Telfer: Its cool. Hes coached tight ends before so he knows his stuff. A lot of his techniques are a little old fashioned but it gets the job done. The new stuff we learned last year honestly wasn’t working, and now we are learning about football as a whole. Not just about our position but about the offense as a whole. I think it will be very beneficial to my future, especially my future draft stock.
RoT: Last season, we didn’t see much tight end play, and the one-dimensionality of the offense frustrated many fans and analysts alike. Can we expect more appearances of you and Grimble in 2013?
Telfer: In our offense, we will be seeing a lot more tight ends in the game. We will be running a lot of 2-tight formations. However, a big portion of our game plans will focus on the run because we weren’t too good at it last season. I’m not sure how much the ball will be in our hands but we will be in the game a lot more.
RoT: USC plans to run the ball more, even with the dynamic threat of Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor?
Telfer: That’s how ‘SC has always been. We are a hard-nose, run the ball, “make-the-other-team-quit” team. With Nelson & Marqise it will make it that much easier to open up the field on play action.
RoT:: Speaking of the running game, newcomer Justin Davis has already turned a lot of heads in his first semester in Troy. Is he as good as advertised?
Telfer: Justin Davis has the potential to be great. He’s fast, he’s really shifty, he runs like a college running back would in his junior year and he’s a freshman. He just got here. He just graduated and went to prom you know? Im definitely gonna do my part to be apart of his development and see where it goes.
RoT:This season USC will have a new quarterback, but fortunately will be surrounded by a cast of veterans. Until either Wittek or Kessler finds his voice, will you more experienced players be stepping up as leaders?
Telfer: Max and Cody naturally have leadership qualities. But we got guys like Marqise, and then Hayes, Dion, Devon Kennard on defense. Those guys assumed leadership positions last year and they seem comfortable with it. As the season goes on, Max or Cody will assume that role. It kind of just comes with it. Its a lot easier then for you to be THAT guy behind the head coach.
RoT: Do you consider yourself to be one of the team’s leaders?
Telfer: On the offense, I would like to think so. I did learn a lot about being a leader from Coach Baxter, especially in spring ball. Telling me about how in order to lead a group of guys, you have to serve them and I’ve been trying to do that. Ive talked to guys like Rhett Ellison and guys before me and I just want to follow their example.
RoTThis is your fourth academic year at USC, and you could potentially be leaving at the end of the season. Do you feel like your years and USC have prepared you for a career at the next level?
Telfer:It’s hard to say now. I mean, it sounds good to say that I’m ready but just watching other guys play that are in the league now and guys I see at my position that I feel like I can learn from, it kind of feels like I’m not ready. I could possibly be saying for another year. Rhett did that and he said it was the best thing he did, especially learning from Coach Pola. I don’t know what’s best for me yet, but as of right now, I don’t think I’m ready.
RoT:: 2012 still kind of looms over the team this year. Do you think, with the talent USC has this season, that debacle will be forgotten?
Telfer: Definitely. With the new coaches that we have, I feel like we have a new mentality. Especially with the O-Line, which is where we were really weak last season. We have a scheme now that has proved successful for other teams. I’m excited to showcase that in the Coli and across the country. As a team, it’s a new mentality and 2012 is a thing of the past. It’s not something we want to ignore but something we want to learn from. We had a really good spring, especially offensively. It’s going to be an exciting season. I cant wait for fall camp and I guarantee that this season will be a whole lot better than last season.
RoTAny game in particular that you look forward to the most?
Telfer: I really can’t wait to get out there, the first game against Hawaii. The games I look forward to the most are always against Stanford. Since I have been here we haven’t beat Stanford so Im hoping we can change that this year.