USC Football Q&A: Khaled Holmes talks Trojan optimism and Talegate

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images /
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Looking back on a polarizing 2017 season, former USC Football offensive lineman talks optimism for the future and chatting with fans on Talegate.

Among the best things about the Trojan Family is how engaged former USC Football players stay with their alma mater. As they say, the cardinal and gold is for life.

Khaled Holmes is one such player whose connection to USC hasn’t waned in the years since graduating.

Now, the former All-Pac-12 center and Rimington Trophy finalist, who helped see the Trojans through the difficult period of NCAA sanctions, is more active in the USC fan community than ever.

Here’s our Q&A with Holmes, talking USC’s past, present and future, plus new forms of fan engagement:

Q: The 2017 USC season was pretty polarizing. Now that it’s behind us, where do you stand on the state of the Trojans? Positive? Negative? Undecided?

A: I am an eternal optimist, and I know the character of Coach Helton, so I continue to be positive about the overall outlook for the future. That does not mean everything is rainbows and butterflies! We certainly had highs and lows, but having the expectations that we have at USC, the lows leave more of a lasting effect on my perception of the season.

Looking objectively, the team’s overall record and performance is something most universities aspire to, however, we are not most universities.

CHECK OUT: Five Things USC Must Fix in 2018

I am most concerned about our performance in big time games/matchups. Historically, we have struggled to perform to our fullest against lesser opponents and have had issues of “playing down” to the competition. Now, it seems, we are not stepping up to the biggest challenges the season throws at us.

I am confident that the staff will have a focus on this moving forward!

Q: Which players have you most excited for USC going forward?

A: I am excited for the two incoming kids from my high school, Mater Dei. I think the QB [JT Daniels] will have an opportunity to contribute very early and the WR [Amon-Ra St. Brown] will add to what I view as the deepest position on the roster.

Q: What is your biggest concern for the Trojans?

A: As an offensive lineman, this will be the place I always look for leadership and dominance. I am intrigued to see how dominant a player can be up front in a spread offense.

There are certainly pros and cons that the coaches must weigh when it comes to any scheme, and I absolutely see the value in a spread offense. I also understand the need to be all-in on a style—this makes it difficult to have traditional goal line/short yardage packages be effective, as you must practice the spread approach diligently.

That being said, I am excited to see the O-line continue to adapt and master this spread offense – it takes some things easier for the, and it makes some things harder.

Q: You’ve been active on the Talegate app all season. How has it been interacting with fans in a more direct way and how has it changed your experience following the Trojans?

A: Talegate has been an incredibly fun and refreshing way to follow the Trojans and all of college football. Interacting with fans and other players in this unique environment really sets the platform apart. Joining in the Game Time Chats during the season was an absolute blast and the exclusive player content was insightful and hilarious!

Q: What are some of the best parts of using that platform? Why should fans check it out?

A: Being able to be an active member in a focused community of your peers is something we all can appreciate. When that community is based on one’s passion for college football, its even more special.

Talegate is really the social media destination for people who love USC and college football in general.

Beyond that, our access to former players and exclusive content from them is a true differentiator. Right now, you can follow along with Matt Barkley as he is giving Talegate an exclusive sneak peek into what its like training in the offseason as an NFL QB.

Q: What’s going on with the giveaway you have planned this week and how can fans get involved?

A: Starting today, we are going to give away awesome USC x Talegate shirts to 10 lucky new users of the app! All they have to do is download Talegate and make a comment on this post!

Thanks to social media, there’s never been a better time to connect with past Trojan stars. You can keep up with Holmes and other USC alums on the Talegate app and other platforms like Twitter.