What It Feels Like To Intercept A Pass
Sept. 9, 2003
What It Feels Like......
TO INTERCEPT A PASS
Marcell Allmond was a wide receiver by trade until the spring of 2002, when the Trojan coaching staff decided his skills best suited the team as a cornerback. By Oct. 19 last year, Allmond emerged as a starting corner against Washington. Four weeks later, on Nov. 23, USC played UCLA at the Rose Bowl, where Allmond started his fifth consecutive game. He ï¿½ along with every other person in the building wearing Cardinal and Gold ï¿½ was enjoying the day. USC led 42-7 late in the third quarter. UCLA had just got the ball back at its own 10-yard line after another Trojan touchdown. Bruin freshman quarterback Drew Olson, looking for some big yards in a hurry, heaved a pass in the direction of receiver Tab Perry. All he found, however, was Allmond, who came down with the ball for his first career interception. Here's Allmond in his own words describing 'What it feels like.'
'We key on the ball before the snap, whether we're going to change up our defense or anything. We do most of our stuff off the ball. Bail is off the ball, change ups are off the ball. Anything else we react off the receiver.
'We check the receivers alignment on the line. Whether he's closer to the sideline or to the quarterback. When he starts his route, we're feeling for an outside release or an inside release. Those are all keys that we read.
'Then we take what we call our pure step and then we become patient and wait for the receiver to come up field and make his move. We wait and see what he'll do. We don't really attack.
'It all depends on what the play is. Man or zone. Personally, corners always want to play man. We like being locked on. My favorite is cover 2. I love cover 2. Quarterbacks have trouble reading it, especially the way Coach Carroll teaches us.
'On that play, it was a zone coverage. I don't remember which one. The call was for us to bail out, plus it was late in the game, so you know they might go long. And when we have two receivers on a side or a close split, we just bail off the ball, which is what I did. I got out of there and the quarterback didn't read it and he ended up throwing it right to me.
'Tab Perry just ran a straight go route, straight up the field, trying to get me deep. I was way ahead of him. I got out of there way before the ball was snapped and the quarterback just didn't read it, he just threw it.
'I have no idea what the quarterback was thinking. I don't know why he threw that ball. He just threw it straight to me. It was nowhere near the receiver.
'So it's in the air and now I'm thinking, 'Don't drop it, don't drop it.' That's why I fell down. I wanted to make sure I caught the ball. I wanted to make sure I caught it. My first pick, coming against UCLA. And I got to keep the ball. It was pretty great.