USC Football

Matt Fink: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

July 12, 2019
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You wake up one day and you’re competing for the starting QB job at USC.  You wake up the next day and you realize  you no longer want to be at USC.  That’s what happened with Matt Fink this past spring.  We had the opportunity to catch up with Matt for the first time this summer following Thursday’s player run practice, and he goes in-depth talking about his journey through the portal process as well as his recovery from off season knee surgery.

Regarding his injured knee Matt described what happened that led to the surgery.

Matt Fink: A piece of my femur chipped off with some cartilage and it was floating bodies that found its way unto my knee.  At first we didn’t know what it was so we had the MRI.  After the MRI a week later we had the surgery. 

What should have been a routine surgery became not so routine.  The Dr. had to make 3 different incisions in an effort to locate the debris because he couldn’t find it.   Matt let us know that it’s been been nagging for a while and it started back in high school from a  bone chip from his femur that ultimately led to where we are today.  The discomfort became too much though during spring and something was definitely wrong when he described the size of his swelling.

We asked Matt where he’s at now with his rehab process and his comfort level.

Matt:  Oh I’m fine.  I think I can run right now but the trainers aren’t letting me.  I was out here throwing today...I was cleared to do that on Tuesday.   “I’m just waiting for the go”  from the trainers and the doctor to be cleared to run. 

Matt continued to describe what’s involved with the rehab process to get him up to 100%.

Matt: They’re (the doctor and trainers) going to put me through different levels of it.  So it will be underwater treadmill.  Then light running and then gradually build up to it.  I don’t know their exact plan but I’m sure it’s around those lines.

When asked about his decision to leave USC and explore other opportunities via the transfer portal you really get a sense of how emotional the journey was for the young man in the voice inflexion when talking about his love for coach and his teammates.  Matt took a deep breath and then proceeded to discuss what happened.

Matt: I’ve got to give it to Coach Helton.  He’s always been like a father figure to me.  I love the guys here.  It was hard to go up to him(Helton) and ask him to put my name in the portal in the first place...”It was very emotional.”  It put me and my family through a lot of stress.  But when it came down to it I did some visits and I was able to tell Clay that this is my home...and he knew that.   I’ve just got to give it to him for allowing me to experience what it’s actually like to enter into the transfer portal.  I don’t think that a lot of people have the opportunity that I had...knowing that I would be welcomed back.

Matt wasn’t sure how much he could or should say on the matter, however, choosing his words carefully he continued...”Obviously I’m back.  They allowed me to stay on the roster.  I’m still on scholarship.  I just graduated and I’m applying for Masters program right now.”

Matt was asked to discuss his almost-transfer to Illinois.

Matt: Like I said, it was very emotional.  The decision-making on my end was emotional and I made decisions that weren’t really thought through.  It was tough because I’ve had...not arguments...but discussions with many people including my dad my mother, the rest of my family... friends coaches and everything all aorund.  But everything kept coming to me that okay, I can’t leave this place!  There was something in my heart telling me not to leave. 

We asked if there were any teammates that may have played a role in his decision to reverse course and stay at SC and  I got the sense that at that moment he realized how much his Trojan teammates meant to him, at least the guys that he arrived with in his class that are still around.

Matt: Yeah *long dramatic pause*  I love the guys here and I think that the guys here like me and that was a big reason for wanting to stay here.  Because that camaraderie doesn’t come easy.  It’s something that has to be built and it took me a lot of time to do so and I didn’t feel like throwing that away. 

Fink was asked about how he sees his role this year on the team as a veteran in a leadership role.

Matt: Exactly what you would think.  What anyone one would think of a back up senior quaterback.  I mean I’m continuing to do everything that I have been doing..plus some.  I know a lot more guys are looking up to me.  I’m trying to bring the freshmen under my wing...it doesn’t matter what position they are, offense or defense.  My role is just to make the team better all the way around and whatever way I can do that, I’m gonna do it.  It could start in the weight room...it can start out here on the field during PRP’s...I mean it could start in our little dining hall just by sitting down and having a meal with them.  Those are the little things that I’ve been working on trying to have small talk and build relationships not just through football but also on a personal level.

Matt went into detail when asked to explain to USC fans who are skeptical about the new vibe & energy that’s been discussed  around the rogram in 2019.

Matt: I’m gonna have to say it has a lot to do with my class.  My class has had I guess we can say a lot of ups and downs.   As everyone knows more than half my class is gone for good reason or for bad and I think the fact that the few guys that are still here it shows a sense of commitment, integrity, and and I think the guys realize that.  Theyre not blind to the fact that I could have left...I think it plays a big role for my class to step up and I believe that’s already happened.  I mean it’s not like the other classes haven’t stepped up, I think eveyone’s doing a great job, especially the freshmen.  

Reflecting back on the process Matt knows how stressfull it was on himself both mentally and physically and it’s not soimething that he wants to do again.

Speaking about Coach Ausmus

Matt: Gosh, I love that guy...he brings a fire everyday!  It’s something that I haven’t experienced with that much consistency since I’ve been here.  To bring up the camaraderie again...the meshing of both sides of the ball is a huge factor for his program.  He has teams split up so it’s mot just offense versus defense. I’m on Team Nasty and on the team we have specialists, we have guys on offense and we have guys on defense and each of the teams are like that.  And he’s made it so not only are we building camaraderie and brotherhood through all sides of the ball but were also competing agetting better because of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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