Question: You really worked hard and earned this opportunity with all the patience you showed those years playing behind some terrific defensive linemen. Then you got “your” time at the start of your senior year. How special was that for you?
La Juan Ramsey: The whole time I was at USC I kind of figured it would be that way. I knew those guys were great and I had no problem with my role as a back-up player. I felt I could contribute to the team a lot and I was just waiting for my time. Those guys helped me a lot and taught me a lot so it was kind of like I was playing through them and when I wasn’t on the field I enjoyed watching them play. When I got my opportunities to spell those guys on a series, I took advantage of it at whatever position I was called on to play.
Q: How much do you think that patience and work ethic that you learned is going to help you in making the leap to the NFL as a rookie?
LR: I think it’s going to probably be the same situation whichever franchise I go to. I’m pretty much going to be learning from whoever they have in the starting position and just taking my time as a player, grasping everything and just being patient while learning all the ins and outs of the position. I think it will help a lot. It shows that I’m willing to be a team player and that I’m willing to wait my turn to help in any situation and in any way I can. I think that my whole career at USC is an example of me being patient and willing to do anything for the team.
Q: You see all the different types of personalities—the real aggressive guys, the guys who are quiet, but focused. Where do you fall in that spectrum?
LR: On the field I’m not really a chant leader or a big rah-rah guy, but at USC a lot of people knew that I was one of those tough, hard-nosed, hard working type of guys. I was somebody that no one could just push over, a tough guy on the field without going around bullying people. I was just one of those people that is determined, focused, sometimes mean and just a “do whatever it takes to get the job done” type of guy.
Q: How long have you had that type of personality is that something you had in your high school or junior high days?
LR: Yes, in high school I was the same way. I didn’t show much emotion. When I made plays I never celebrated or anything like that, because I was determined and there to do a job. I never really wanted to be or cared about being in the spotlight. I’m just one of those hardhat, lunch pail type of guys that will get the job done and isn’t scared of anything that lies ahead.
Q: How much has it helped you as a player to be practicing against running backs like LenDale White and Reggie Bush? Do you think that has strengthened your ability to be a better run defender?
LR: I think so. With the running backs, it really doesn’t matter. I think the offensive lineman, the blocking schemes and the pro style we went against every day at school--that was probably one of the biggest things that helped me. Those two great running backs, the great quarterback and wide receivers presented a bigger challenge with the scheme so they contributed, but I would say it was mostly the schemes.
Q: How much fun was Fred Matua out on the field, or was he all business on the field too?
Fred was one of those big rah-rah, chant-leaders and yellers and screamers. He was real good though. He was a real tough guy, one of those guys I got in a couple brawls with at practice, but I love him for that. We’ve been competing against each other since we were freshman so it’s good to leave with him. He was a guy with a defensive lineman’s mentality on the offensive line.
Q: You had a good Pro Day, what was that experience like for you?
LR: The Pro Day was a good experience and I’m glad I was able to do pretty well in the position drills. Basically the mantra that I went in with was to focus on one drill or whatever I was doing—just the drill and me. But, it was tough out there; there were about a thousand people out there. When I was doing my drills it seemed like I was the only person out there, so I was able to get the job done.