BRO: So, a lot of things have changed since you signed your letter of intent with Jeff Baca getting hurt during the spring and Stan Hasiak no longer with the team. Things on the line are in flux again. I'm just wondering if that has changed anything for you, your preparation or your mindset coming in?
TW: Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to step up my game up a lot. I'm going to have to transform everything I learned in high school and step up my skill level, my technique, all of that stuff.
BRO: How would you rate that technique just walking in the door here? I saw you out there working with Jeff and Sean Sheller on technique, on footwork...
TW: I feel my technique is about a six right now. I feel potentially that I can get it up a lot more than it's already at, with the right coaching and the right teaching. I feel like I can improve a lot with what I'm learning right now.
BRO: So between now and Aug. 8, can that six become an eight or a nine?
TW: You know, I'm hoping to learn as much as I can over the summer. I'm willing to erase everything that I learned in the past and sponge up new things that are coming for me right now. But, you know, I'm willing to do anything it takes to help the team out.
BRO: What are some of the things that Jeff and Sean have you working on?
TW: So far they've been telling me to fix my feet, mainly my stance and my stagger and how I'm sliding back and all that stuff. I need to work on my steps a little more, my hand placement … there are a lot of minor details that I need to fix to get better.
BRO: I imagine back in high school, with the long arms, you were able to just chuck anyone aside …
TW: Back in high school I had enough technique, but now is the time I really need to learn as much as I can and step my game up.
BRO: And you came in at 292 pounds, is that right?
TW: Yes, that is right.
BRO: So that's a pretty significant gain. You were around 270 at the end of your senior year...
TW: Yeah, I was really surprised. The last time I weighed myself I was around 275, so just to see how much that I've gained, that was a big surprise. I had no idea how much weight I put on.
BRO: But you obviously were working toward that...
TW: Right. I just hadn't been on a scale in a long time. But, I mean, it's good to come in working with a little more weight than I had leaving the season because that means I can have a lot more weight to put on over the summer time, which will be great for me.
BRO: How did you do that, because in the spring didn't you also play volleyball?
TW: I did play volleyball in the spring. After volleyball I was getting on the weights a little bit, doing some running, mainly staying in shape cardio-wise. I feel like I did more running than I did lifting.
BRO: Did your weight numbers improve quite a bit?
TW: The numbers, they didn't get a lot higher than what I was doing in the spring time. I guess I stayed around the same weight. I just wanted to progress every week.
BRO: So how confident are you, when you come out here and look at guys like Datone Jones or Damien Holmes, that, ‘Yeah, physically, I can do this if I get the technique down. I can play right away.'
TW: I feel that, like I said before, with the right coaching I can do it. I know I have the potential to be great and that's what I'm striving for.
BRO: But right now you see it as more of a technical thing rather than a physical thing?
TW: Right. I feel like these guys are going to be stronger than me, of course, and they have more experience under their belts. But if I work on my technique enough I should be able to keep up with these guys.
BRO: You mentioned the mindset has changed a little with all the changes and everything. How so?
TW: It has changed. It's more of a ‘want to' to a need, so I'm going to have to push myself harder and I'm definitely going to go for that spot. My main goal is to get on the depth chart. Before, it was ‘if I have the opportunity to then I'm going to do it.' Now I don't feel like I have an option but to push myself and go as hard as I can and be one of the guys out there.
BRO: Is that more of an internal pressure? Are you feeling it from the outside as well?
TW: It's both. I feel like the guys out there know that, the older o-linemen, know that I'm going to have to step up and change my technique and I'm going to have to get there and get on that level. I feel that's what's expected of me.
BRO: Things like your stagger, your stance, are you learning a lot more about their importance?
TW: It's very important. The guys were telling me out there it's the little details that matter, just changing my foot from being on my toe to going flat-footed on the ground that can make a big difference. It can put power in my base. Just things like that are going to help me.
BRO: It's crazy how intricate it can be, the little details, because it seems so simple but it's not.
TW: It seems simple. But at first it's a little different being in high school and then coming to college and being told, you know, you're doing this a little bit wrong and you need to change to this because you don't know that. But it's good help right now. It's what I need to know and it's going to get me places.
BRO: So, when you think physically and you think about your technique, between now and August, what do you think you're going to look like when camp starts?
TW: When camp starts I'm hoping to be right at the level I need to be at. But like I said, it's going to take a lot of work.
BRO: So, you're taking summer classes, I know you guys are out conditioning and lifting in the mornings, you're out here in the afternoon twice a week. Is it what you expected? A little bit more than I expected?
TW: It's actually been a little bit more than I expected. I was expecting a little bit more time in between classes and practice, but so far it's been busy. My schedule has been really packed in. It's thing after thing after thing. I'm going to have to work on my time management a little bit more, start getting the schedule down of everything that I have during the day and start finding time to work on homework and practice technique outside the field, stuff like that ... work on the little things, just to get better.
BRO: So you're looking to find the time to improve that technique even when you're not out here …
TW: Of course. It can't just be all out on the field. I've got to work. If I'm going to get to where I want to be at, where I need to be at, then I'm going to have to do stuff outside of practice, work on the little things that they've been telling me on my own; work on my stance more, get my foot flat on the ground, fixing my knees and balancing my weight, stuff like that.
BRO: OK, I just wanted to ask you one thing about signing day to finish … Did your little brother say anything to you after your announcement (for USC) on TV?
TW: He really didn't have to. It was all shown on his face how disappointed he was. He got the vibe around the room. But, you know, it's done with now and I'm happy I am where I wanted to be. I'm happy to be a Bruin.
The Lakewood (Calif.) offensive tackle, Torian White, talks about flipping between UCLA and USC and…