Heyward started out by giving some insight into the Trojans’ newest defensive back signees including Lamont Simmons, Jonathan Lockett and John Plattenburg.
“You need guys who can flat out cover,” Heyward said, pointing to Simmon’s long arms, Lockett’s smoothness — he calls him “Mr. Smooth” — and Plattenburg’s physicality.
The idea is to fit the scheme to each recruits particular skillset. From there, Heyward says the focus is on fielding the best 11 players they can.
As for whether any of the cornerback recruits will have an immediate impact, Heyward is taking a wait and see approach: “We’ll find out whose going to be most ready to start next season when they get into camp.”
Like his boss, Heyward doesn’t shy away from National Championship talk. When asked about where Simmons in particular would be lined up, he responded, “Wherever he’s going to play to help us win a National Championship is where he’ll play.”
On the state of the recruiting class, Heyward felt that things were going well, “It’s shaping up to be a great one. It’s always nerve wrecking, never know what’s going to happen but so far so good.”
If he sounds subdued, it’s because he has even bigger plans for USC’s recruiting success.
“We want to own Southern California,” Heyward said. “We want any kid that’s a great football player, and not just in Southern California. We want to own all of California.”
Heyward also revealed a bit of his personal coaching style.
“My philosophy is, first of all, teaching accountability and attention to detail,” he said. When you have great athletes and you are faced with great athletes on the opposing team, focus is what makes the difference, according to Heyward. In that vein, he intends to emphasize finishing plays, capitalizing on turnovers and sure tackling.
As a coach in the Pac-12, Heyward spoke about the challenges of facing the many different offenses that defenses have to face.
“You see my hair?” Heyward joked, referring to his bald dome. “I used to have a lot more of it.”