May 27, 2008

Holmes is getting mind, body prepared for SC

Plenty of people spent Memorial Day at a barbecue, the beach or at a party.

And plenty of people spent their day in a movie theater; Khaled Holmes was one of them.

But unlike everybody else, Holmes saw his movie with Troy Polamalu

The four-star offensive guard, ex-Trojan Alex Holmes' brother, happens to have the Pittsburgh Steeler safety as a brother-in law.

"We saw 'What Happens in Vegas,'" Holmes said.

Holmes has been casually doing the extraordinary on and off the field for a while now. Whether it was scoring near 2,000 on the SAT or being one of the most dominant linemen in the country, Holmes has made things look easy.

"I'm a pretty relaxed guy. I like being with my family and friends - playing some video games when I can," he said. "Mostly, it's relaxing when I get the time. I guess I'm pretty boring."

Life, on the other hand, has been offering up plenty of excitement. Holmes graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana on Saturday, giving him a few weeks off before heading in the USC campus in late June.

"I kind of have an advantage because I'll get to relax a little bit before I head up to SC," he said. "I'll just hang out with my family and with my friends."

Like fellow USC signee Matt Kalil, Holmes said he felt some pressure to commit and sign with the Trojans because of their family ties.

"My brother definitely tried to pressure me, but he knew that it was my decision," Holmes said. "I'm not sure he made much impact, but really, I thought it was the right decision for me."

Now that the process is over, Holmes is ready to use his brother as a resource, as he transitions to college life.

"It's comforting. It's a very assuring thought knowing I won't be doing anything that my brother hasn't done," Holmes said. "Every step of the way, he's going to be there to help me out no matter what."

The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder said he's been spending time working out, preparing for summer workouts. But while he's strengthening his body, he's mindful of another important kind of preparation.

"If anything, it's more of a mental thing getting ready for college," Holmes said. "It's a huge change. I think the mental factor is something underrated by a lot of guys.

"I'm just trying to get my mind right."

While Holmes hopes to make an impact on the field as a true freshman, he's realistic about the chances.

" I'd like to come in and work really hard, and hopefully, play my way onto the field," he said. "I'd love to be able to get on the field as a freshman, but we'll see how it goes. It's a goal."

Holmes could have a leg up, though. He sad he's grasping the playbook very well.

"Luckily at Mater Dei, we ran a pretty intricate system in terms of high school," he said. "Hopefully, it won't be too much of an adjustment."

Regardless of what happens, things are definitely changing in Holmes' life, and he's embracing it.

"Things are really moving fast. The past four years seem like a blur. I'm sure the next four will move even faster," he said. "It's exciting; it's fun. I wouldn't change anything.

"I just want to keep moving forward."

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