Q&A with new USF assistant Telly Lockette
Still here in New York for Big East tournament and headed back to Tampa tonight, but I was able to talk to new USF running backs coach Telly Lockette, 38, who will hit the ground running as spring drills start Wednesday for the Bulls. Here's what the former head coach at Miami Central High had to say about his first college job ...
Auman: You've had opportunities to leave for jobs in college football before. How are excited are you about starting work at USF?
Lockette: I'm very excited to be here. It's a great opportunity for me. Coach (Willie) Taggart brought me on to help get this thing turned around. I thought it was a big challenge for me, but a great opportunity for me and my family to do great things here.
Auman: Did you have much interaction with Taggart before the hiring process this offseason?
Lockette: I'd dealt with him before, sent a kid to Western Kentucky (LB Devante Duclos, who enrolled in January) he was recruiting. He came down a couple times and we talked and got to know each other. We just stayed in touch.
Auman: What's the biggest transition you expect to have going from high school to college?
Lockette: I think it's just a lot more verbage and understanding the language. Once you learn that, it's the same, just at a faster pace. If I can get adjusted to the faster pace and the verbage, I'll be fine.
Auman: You coached at your alma mater, Miami Northwestern, before becoming head coach at Central. Where else have you coached?
Lockette: Miami Edison. Corey Bell gave me my first job. I was there (when USF signed five kids from Edison) -- Jackie Chambers, Chad Simpson, (Marc Dile, Brouce Mompremier, Richard Clebert), all those cats. I was the running backs coach.
Auman: Tell me about the natural familiarity you have as a running backs coach and why that's a good fit for you at USF.
Lockette: I played running back in high school at Miami Northwestern. Blue-chip All-American coming out of high school. Did some great things in college, playing in the Big Sky. The coaches thought it was best to use my talents on defense, so they converted me (to linebacker). I was a two-time All-American there.
Auman: How well have you been able to get settled in at USF in a short amount of time?
Lockette: I'm getting settled in. It's all coming at me at once, so I'm trying to digest it all. I think working with (Central stars) Jeff Godfrey (now at UCF) and Brandon Gainer that went to Kentucky, Davonte Freeman (at FSU), those young guys helped prepare me for this opportunity.
Auman: You were been able to send quite a bit of kids into college football in your time at Central. I can remember Jim Leavitt standing on the sidelines at one of our games on TV with half his staff there, trying to land some recruits.
Lockette: In one year, in 2010, we had 18 kids went Division I that year. We had seven kids go to Central Florida, Jeff Godfrey, Jose Jose, whole lot of kids. (The Leavitt game) was against Todd Chandler at Northwestern. I had Todd at Northwestern when he was a freshman.
Auman: Have you been able to meet with your new running backs at all?
Lockette: I sat down with Willie Davis, and I have their numbers and will reach out to them, introduce myself, go over goals and what Coach T is looking forward going into spring. We need some guys who are dedicated and can try to help us turn this program around. It goes through the backs. He likes to pound the rock. That's going to be an extremely big position.