July 17, 2008

Patterson ready to take on the big guys

Travon Patterson knows he's not big. It'd be impossible not to.

Since he was young, Patterson has been small, shorter than most.

But growing up without a ton of size forced Patterson to develop other skills. Patterson's tough, and he can flat-out fly.

"You have to be tough. Everyone bigger than you thinks they can run over you," Patterson said. "You have to step up and show your heart and play big. Just because I'm little, it doesn't mean anything.

"Ever since I was young, I was always the smallest. I had to show them just how big I was. Everyone's cool with me now. I showed them."

Patterson missed most of last season after a foot injury, but he's back healthy and ready to help the Trojan receiving crew make some more noise this season.

"I know I could have helped us out there last year, and I got hurt. I'm coming back, and guys are still talking about our receiving corps," Patterson said. "I know what we can do, and I know that everyone on the receiving corps is very good. We're capable of anything. We'll show them this year that we're back and ready to step up."

The criticism adds fuel to the fire already started by his diminutive stature.

"I always play with a chip on my shoulder," he said.

Patterson and the offense had been struggling for a lot of the summer in seven-on-seven drills before finally breaking through with a big day on Tuesday.

Patterson said the unit has been working well under quarterback Mark Sanchez, and it was only a matter of time until his side of the ball saw results.

"It's coming along. We really have to execute and do things right. Mark's leading us really well," Patterson said. "He's keeping everyone in check and stop all the playing around.

"It's time. Camp is right around the corner. We just have to make sure we're ready."

Working against USC's heralded linebackers and experienced secondary hasn't made things any easier this summer, though.

"Our defense is just great. We have a lot returners on that side of the ball, especially in the secondary," he said. "That's been making things hard on us. Those guys all know our offense very well, and they're all athletic.

"It's hard beating them, but (Tuesday), we got it done."

Tuesday, Sanchez and freshman Aaron Corp found Patterson and other receivers consistently down the field for the first time this summer, sending a positive message to the players.

"It was very frustrating when you're not completing any balls down the field," Patterson said. "That's the easiest way to score.

"With our defense, it's going to be hard for people to score against them. If we score, it shouldn't take too long for us to get back on the field."

Patterson's been preparing to help the Trojans any way he can, but he's got his own ideas of how he could best be used.

And, it's not much of surprise that Patterson wants to take on the big guys.

"I try to be everywhere. I try and learn every position, so whenever they need me, I'm ready," Patterson said. "I can see myself on the outside, but I can see myself more in the slot. I can get open there and work on the linebackers.

"It's hard for them to stick me because I'm pretty much faster than all of them."

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