Fred Davis and USC prepare for BCS championshipWritten by Chris Kozak | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As co-starting tight end for the University of Southern California, Toledoan Fred Davis is part of what many call the most powerful offense in the history of college football. He also has shown an almost Forrest Gump-like ability to be at in the right place at the right time.
With the USC record at 12-0, a 34-game winning streak intact, Davis is ready to take the field Jan. 4 as USC faces Texas, also 12-0, in the Rose Bowl for the BCS Championship.
A 6-4, 225-pound sophomore who played quarterback at Rogers High School, Davis has been given a unique role in preparation for the game: Posing as Texas quarterback and Heisman runner-up Vince Young during practice. His teammates have taken to calling him ‘Fred Young.’
”I’ve got a little bit extra in practice then I usually do,” Davis said in an interview with Toledo Free Press from the USC campus. ”Most of the time I just run a lot. They let some other quarterbacks throw. I just run.”
If it wasn’t for a little bit extra from Davis earlier in the season against Notre Dame, the Trojans may never have arrived on the doorstep of a third consecutive
On the final play of the now legendary game, Davis gave a shoulder of assistance to quarterback Matt Leinart, helping USC score a remarkable last-second touchdown for a 34-31 victory.
”That game was crazy,” Davis said. ”I knew we were going to win. I said ‘we can’t leave here without winning.’”
The Rose Bowl date against Texas has been on the radar of every college football fan since the season kicked off in September. For Davis, the championship game means an opportunity to finally take the field in college football’s biggest game.
Last season, as his team prepared for the 2005 BCS Championship game, Davis was late returning from Christmas break in Toledo. Instead of slapping on the shoulder pads, snapping up the chinstrap and running into Orange Bowl field to play Oklahoma, Davis was in Toledo, suspended for the game by Coach Pete Carroll.
”I learned I’m not going home for break this Christmas, so that’s a good sign already,” Davis said with a laugh.
”Fred’s not traveling. Fred’s not leaving the state,” Carroll recently told the LA Times.
During the 2005 Orange Bowl, which USC won 55-19, Davis was in Toledo, being interviewed on FOX 36’s Hardcore Sports by anchor Brad Fanning.
”It was real weird, because I wasn’t with my team to go out and play Oklahoma. I have the opportunity now.”
The maturation is evident on and off the field. After just four receptions for 30 yards last year, Davis has grasped the offense. Growing into his position, he’s shown consistent improvement and ended the regular season with 11 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. His role on the nation’s marquee team is showing shape and focus.
He shares a huddle with two Heisman Trophy winners, Leinart and running back Reggie Bush; the team gets regular visits from Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell and Nick Lachey, the latter even rumored to have spent the night on Leinart’s dorm room floor. But Davis steers clear.
”I probably could have met [Lachey],” he said. ”But I’m really not into that.”
He’s into beating Texas.
”We’re out here working hard and getting ready to play a great team,” he said. ”Two undefeated teams, so there’s a lot of preparation. There’s no school, so we’re even more focused on football. Who ever plays every down the hardest, that’s who’s going to win.”