USC Football: Q&A with Randall Telfer


With the season around the corner and summer workouts underway, we chatted with USC Trojans tight end Randall Telfer about the upcoming season and his stint at USC to date.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Reign of Troy: With this being your third year at USC and your redshirt sophomore season upcoming, how does your mindset change when it comes with the prospects of being bowl eligible?

Randall Telfer: Nothing really changes. Coming in, I never experienced a bowl game, so I don’t know what to look forward to. So we are treating everything the same, and when we get there, we get there.

RoT: USC is favored in all 12 games and is being predicted to win the Pac-12 and possibly go to the National Championship game. Does that pressure affect the team at all?

Telfer: Not really, Kiff does a good job keeping us away from the preseason rankings. We are just excited to show the fans what we have been holding back.

RoT: You redshirted your first year, but came on strong last season as a freshman to be one of the most productive newcomers on the team. What allowed you to make that transition?

Telfer: I just bought into the program. I had a role moldel, Rhett Ellison, and he taught me the ins and outs of the offense. I just worked on my craft, got faster and added a couple pounds. Right now I’m at around 252. I’m at a good size, but getting to 260 running a 4.6 would be great.

RoT: Xavier Grimble took the same step you did last season. How do you two compliment each other on the field and is it tough being in a competition with him for reps?

Telfer: Not really. We get the same amount of playing time because we offer something different. I’m more of a pass catching tight end, and he’s more of a blocking guy. We have the Y and the F in our system. I play the F and he is the Y, so its an even split.

RoT: The tight end position is really a big part of the USC attack under Lane Kiffin. Does the rise of the tight end spot in both USC’s scheme and teams like Stanford get you excited for the progression of the position at all?

Telfer: Yeah, definitely! It’s always exciting to see more tight ends being used for more teams, it excites me. It’s like [the 49ers’] Vernon Davis. If I could be like Vernon Davis, my life would be complete.

RoT: If Vernon Davis is a role model in the NFL, how was it having Rhett Ellison as your role model at USC? Did his move from tight end to fullback last year affect things?

Telfer: Rhett is more of a technical guy. He’s a good blocker too. He doesn’t have blazing speed, he’s not the best receiving tight end, so him moving to fullback helped out our offense. Me and Xavier coming out of HS we were both…we had better ball skills.

RoT: You have the propensity to break tackles. Is that something that was aided by Coach Kiffin’s changes to tackling in practice?

Telfer: We still don’t tackle. We wrap up, and its called ‘five hard steps’.

RoT: Have you seen the McKay Center at all?

Telfer: Yeah, I saw it when it was still pretty bare, but it is world class. I’m really excited to move in, and I’ve never seen a facility like that before. I think it’s just going to be another tool in the future. We have better facilities, better weights, more room.

RoT: There’s iPads in there for you guys to use too, right?

Telfer: Oh yeah, even iPads.

RoT: That’s crazy. Can you take those home?

Telfer: No, they’re just for film and email and everything like that. But really, the whole place is super nice. I saw it when they just finished the practice area. The turf field is insane. It looks like the Coliseum field. And, each position coach has their own office, like our tight ends coach, which is pretty cool.

RoT: Have you looked at this year’s schedule at all?

Telfer: Yes, I have.

RoT: Off the top of your head, what’s the toughest game at first glance?

Telfer: Maybe Stanford. They’re a really strong team. They have a really strong offense. Dual tight end packages, an extra tackle and just old school power offense. It’s difficult to play against, but I have no doubt in our defense.

RoT: I’m sure you’ve heard about Robert Woods’ ankle still showing signs of damage. If he misses time, do you think you and Grimble could be called on more often?

Telfer: I’m not sure of his status or anything, but right now, I’m ready for anything. Not saying that the ball is going to come to us more, though. We are looking forward to Woody playing.

RoT: Assuming everyone stays healthy, USC will be expected to score a lot of points. What makes the offense so hard for teams to stop?

Telfer: One is our speed. We got a lot of speed at the skill positions. Another reason, would be Kiffin’s offensive scheme and his offensive brilliance. He’s a genius. He knows where to put the ball and how pick teams apart. It’s kind of easy to run our offense and you get the idea, because of him.

RoT: You got to USC at the same time as Lane Kiffin, so who recruited you?

Telfer: It was Petey.

RoT: So what made you stay when Kiffin came in?

Telfer: Well, I thought about leaving for a split second, but I committed to the school, not coach Carroll. It’s like a home away from home here. I was pretty sure that Kiff would be a great coach and he’s proven to be.

RoT: What makes him a great recruiter? How does he do it?

Telfer: Kiffin is a businessman, like a stock broker. When he wants something, he gets it. I assume he just tells them that we are on track to do great things at this school in spite of what the NCAA has done. It gets us motivated, it got us motivated. I think him bringing up examples of Woody and Marqise helps because they played right away.

RoT: Have you met Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick at all?

Telfer: Yep, and I’ve been working him in 7-on-7’s.

RoT: Any thoughts on the player he is?

Telfer: He has all the potential in the world. I really can’t wait to see what he does in fall camp. Obviously, there is still a lot of room for growth, but he will absolutely fit. Plus, He’s a good kid. He’s not a cancer to the team, he’s on board.

RoT: Speaking of character, how’s it been under Coach Kiffin? A lot different than the Carroll era?

Telfer: There’s definitely been a character change. There’s been a big emphasis on leadership and team first, and so there’s not many individuals, and there’s no cancers to the team. Even if we have been appointed leaders, there are other guys who step up too. I was talking to Shareece Wright and he said that there’s definitely been a change in the team.

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Tomorrow on Reign of Troy, we’ll launch a new recurring feature called ‘Hang Time’, where we ask more off the cuff questions with the Trojan Family, on a lighter, more fun level. Randall Telfer will stick around with us and be the first to chat with us for Hang Time, so stay tuned to Reign of Troy to see a more candid side to the Trojans’ big tight end.