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August 8, 2006Garrett Anderson is one of six true freshman offensive linemen on the USC football team. Despite just turning 18 earlier this summer, he found himself running with the first-team offensive line when practice began. Gamecock Central talked with Anderson following Monday's practice about that and some other topics.
GamecockCentral.com: What is it like playing for the hometown team?
Garrett Anderson: I think it's incredible, just being able to play for the team you've watched all your life, just watching the team you've always wanted to play for, actually being able to dress out with them.
GC: How much of a factor was being from Columbia in your decision to come to USC?
GA: I think it was a big factor. You've got to be able to stay close to home; family can come watch you practice. Just being able to help out the team that you've always been pulling for through the 1-21 seasons and stuff like that. Just being able to stay close to home and be there with the fans that I grew up with.
GC: Were you excited to be on the first team the first day of practice?
GA: I think that I was just in there until someone else could take the spot. It was exciting but I knew that it wasn't going to last because physically and mentally I'm not ready yet. I don't know the plays as well; I'm not as big as these fifth-year seniors and stuff. It was exciting but I knew that it wasn't going to stay.
GC: Your preference is to still redshirt?
GA: No, I'd rather to be able to help the team as much as possible. How it's looking, I don't think I'll be able to redshirt, that's what the coaches have said. It would be nice but it's not that big of a decision for me anymore, it's whatever the team needs.
GC: You skipped a grade when you were younger right?
GA: I started early, yes, sir.
GC: How's that been like being the youngest guy out here?
GA: It was a factor when I was 260 but I worked really hard over the summer and got my weight up to 295. I think that I can compete at this level but not at what I need to be. I think that it was a factor but I think my body has grown a good bit and matured a good bit and God has put me in a position to have a bigger frame to be able to compete in.
GC: So what made you commit so early, rather than waiting until signing day?
GA: I didn't think it was worth all the going between coaches and stuff like that. I wanted to make my decision and worry about my senior year of football and just improve through there and let is be about the game and not be all about me.
GC: Do you expect to battle Kevin Young at all?
GA: I think that it will be a battle but I think that Kevin's a very good football player. I think that he's got incredible size and incredible speed and he knows what he's doing up there. He's a very good football player. And I think that it will be between me, him, and I think that J.T. (James Thompson). He came back today and I think that he'll work his way back in there, so I think that it's between us three, but I'm pretty much thinking it will be J.T.
GC: So, overall experience for the first three days?
GA: It's been intense; it's been a lot different than high school football.
GC: Everything you hoped for?
GA: Oh, it's been incredible.
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