Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC blogger Garry Paskwietz stops by to chat some USC football.
Paskwietz is the Publisher of WeAreSC and has been covering the Trojans since 1997. Paskwietz is also a co-host of the USC Football radio pre-game show
Send your questions now and join Paskwietz every Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET!
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
Welcome. Let's get started.
Obet Martinez (Huntington Beach, CA )
Hey Garry, love your work! How many wins does Lane Kiffin and the Trojans need to save his job? I've been hearing a lot of rumors that Jon Gruden is interested on the USC HC position. You think he would be an upgrade to Kiff?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
Gruden is an interesting name out there, not sure how realistic it would be but he would bring a lot of fanfare to any college job, that's for sure. I think Gruden would love working with the college age players but I also think the time restrictions would drive him crazy because he is known as a grinder. If you want to put a number on things for Kiffin, i'm guessing 9-10 wins would be a good place to start.
GP can you give us the latest on any recruiting updates? Who likes us and who we are falling out of the race with.
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
Since the Nike Camp in Northern California is coming up this weekend, let's talk about the targets who will be there. keller Chryst will be at the Elite 11 on Friday and a lot of people think he will come down to Stanford or USC. At running back, Joe Mixon is the only offer in the state and he is very impressive. Mixon is friends with Adarius Pickett and D.J. Calhoun, who also have offers. if SC could end up with that trio, it would be a good thing. miciah Quick is a teammate of USC verbal Smallwood and Quick could end up at either WR or CB. Those will be some of the top names to watch this weekend.
Ed (New Mexico)
Garry. USC has offers to half of ESPN's top 10. We should have a good chance with Adoree and Speedy Noll has us in his top 3 right now. Is there any genuine interest in SC by Jabrill Peppers, Da'Shawn Hand or Andre Brown? It is good to be in the mix with guys like this, but am happy to see the renewed push for local talent.
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
Adoree obviously has interest and the SC coaches are all over that one. I thought it very interesting to see the top 3 update from Noil considering the home state LSU Tigers were not there. SC just put Robert Woods in the NFL as a 2nd round pick and Marqise Lee could be a first round pick next year, with Nelson Agholor coming up as a star as well. I wouldn't rule out Noil on this one. i think with Hand, Brown and Peppers it will have to wait until a visit to really know how serious their interest is for the Trojans.
Tyler Durden (Fightclub)
Now that FSU has officially said it will not release Matthew Thomas, what can we expect to play out? What USC chances now? Can they offer a grey shirt?
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
Thomas has the opportunity to appeal to the NCAA. If that doesn't work, he could stay at FSU or choose another option such as attending junior college for a semester (while not playing and taking less than 12 units). If he did that JC route, he would be eligible to enroll at another D1 school next spring with a full eligibility schedule (a greyshirt, if you will).
Shaun Cozort (Cypress)
With USC having 2 senior OLB's in Breslin and Kennard, who do you feel USC must sign in this recruiting to help with rushing the qb?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
I think two in-state names to watch are Malik Dorton and D.J. Calhoun. Both have legit interest in the Trojans and would make solid additions as potential outside linebackers.
is the offer to budda baker at safety or corner??
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
Do you think SC offers any of these guys- Kyle Allen, Viane Talamaivao, Ainuu Taua, Marquise Ware, or Jamardre Cobb??? Thank you
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
I think any of those names could eventually see offers. Of those 5, I would put Allen and Talamaivo at the head of the list. I think Allen is terrific, the 2nd best QB out there behind Chryst but there is a lot of thought that Chryst could end up at Stanford. With Talamaivo, he's a big-bodied mauler for the interior of the offensive line who has long been a fan of the Trojans.
Do you believe Southern Cal has a shot to land class of 2015 DB Marvell Tell? & will they take another QB to go along with David Sills in that class seeing as how cali is loaded at that position?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
i do think SC has a chance at Tell. He says he will camp at USC this summer and he claims no favorites. As far as a 2nd QB in the class of 2015, I do think that is possible as well. Kiffin prefers to have 4 QB's on the roster at any one time and right now there are only 3 with no guarantees for the class of 2014. At some point, I see taking two QB's in the same class and, as you say, the 2015 class looks pretty loaded. Two that I've liked on the circuit this spring are Hiliinski from Upland and Brady White from Hart.
Kalven (Bay Area)
Michigan has 8 ESPN 150 for 2014, we have ZERO? Should I be concern?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
i think it's fair to say it would be nice to have 8 150 commits right now but one look at last year's class for the Trojans would indicate not to get too overly concerned about where things are at right now. The Trojans were sitting really pretty at the end of spring and summer but several of those commits ended up signing elsewhere.
Shaun Cozort (Cypress)
USC is doing a good job of recruiting here in California. Which recruit do you feel USC will bring in from out of state (ex: McQuay, L.Williams, Robey) and surprise people by getting?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
I'll say one of the surprises will be a receiver, someone like Speedy Noil or Ermon Lane.
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
Hey Gary, So Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine Donated $70 million for a new arts class at USC, Do you think LK and his recruiters just got another sales pitch for any top rated local or national kid to come play football at USC. UCLA who!!!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
Yes. Look at someone like Leon McQuay, who made it clear in his recruiting process that learning the music business was a huge priority for him when choosing a school. This new program sounds like it would fit Leon like a glove and I'm sure there are plenty of other recruits out there who would be interested in learning at a program that bears the names of Dr. Dre and Lovine, those guys have a lot of credibility in the music world.
Lane Kiffin has said that he wants to make a commitment to the running game. What exactly needs to happen to make this a reality? Do you think the current offensive personnel can achieve this, and do you really believe him when he says this?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
I think it starts with the play calling. Whoever is calling plays or setting the game plan needs to stay with the run game on a consistent basis. Next it falls on the players. i wrote a story yesterday talking about this running back group because I think they are capable of leading the way, it's a very balanced and deep group. Perhaps the most important spot, however, is the offensive line. It's a solid veteran group that the Trojans return but I don't know yet if they can be that dominant type of road grading offensive line because they haven't been asked to do it yet. I want to believe Kiffin when he says he will commit to the run but only time will tell on that one.
Garry, With all the negative press on the performance of USC quarterbacks in the NFL, I think it's important to point out that there are so many in the NFL. Are there any other schools with as many current quaterbacks in the NFL as USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
Agreed. I'm not sure if there is another school with more QB's in the league but SC sure has plenty of options. I think it's a testament to the success over the last decade and to the fact that SC runs a pro style system. If you're a HS quarterback looking to get to the league, the fact that SC has so many guys in the NFL is a pretty solid recruiting pitch.
Kalven (Bay Area)
Whats with all these prospect from Cali trying to leave out the state (JuJu)?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
That's nothing new Kalven. There's so much talent in the state and there are bound to be players who want to get away for college. I think it's always important for SC to get their share but they likely aren't going to get all of them. I still think JuJu ends up at SC, for what it's worth (and he brings Iman "Biggie" Marshall with him next year).
I don't see the point in getting early commitments from reecruits - its how you finish that counts. The last 2 yrs. LK hasn't closed the deal. He could of had Fitts and Masselin - then lost them and other early commits to ND UCLA ORE. The class finished like the season. Any news on the play calling this season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
A lot of USC fans share your opinion this year Steve and i think part of that is a directly result of what happened last year at the end with the defections. Those losses were a blow, no doubt about it. As far as play calling, there has been no announcement but Clay Helton did call a lot of the plays in spring so it would appear there is a chance he will end up doing it in the fall.
What r the chances we get Matthew Thomas on a scale 1-10 1 being not likely 10 being he'll enroll for the fall? Will coach k use all 20 available scholarships for the next class?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
I'm going to go right in the middle at 5 because I just don't know how Thomas will react if/when FSU denies his request (which the AD said they would do). It's clear to me that he still has legit interest in attending USC and, even if FSU denies him, he could go to JC and be at SC in the spring so he would only miss one semester. His mom was out of town last week when he made the request and she is the big variable because we don't know how she will impact the future moves. The coaches plan to use all 20.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hello Garry! Since the QB starter is still unsettled, should Coach K just try to implement and use both Kessler and Wittek this season as co-starters with different schemes? And should Browne RS this season? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
I don't think Kiffin has any intention of using a two-QB system but it's not entirely out of the question since both guys are so even and bring such differing skills. My guess is Kiffin picks one and sticks with him. If that happens, I do see Browne redshirting. His future is very bright but he's got two capable veterans ahead of him so the smart move is to redshirt.
Dr. Dre (USC)
What are your thoughts on the new academy? As if we need another drawing point, we now have Dr. Dre in our corner. Are we slowly taking over the world, and is everyone else just along for the ride?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
Dre - Will you be running routes at an SC practice like Snoop did a few years ago?
I know there has been a lot of concern about the conerback situation. How much better would our corners look if they were not going up against Lee and Agholor everyday? I think practicing against the two best receivers in the country will get the corners to where they need to be come game time. Do you agree?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
i agree that it can only make them better to go against those receivers. As far as how much the good play of the receivers impacted the play of the corners this spring, I don't think the answer to that question is clear. No matter how good the receivers are it would be ideal to have seen a few more stops from the defense, there were just too many big plays on a consistent basis. Maybe the short term struggles will benefit the corners in the long run when the opponents aren't as good as Lee and Agholor.
When Nelson Agholor first arrived there was talk about him seeing some action at RB. Is he playing exclusively at WR? or are there some plays or packages that have him working out of the backfield?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
He is exclusively at wide receiver. There may be a play every now and then which sees him carrying the ball, like Woods and Lee have done in the past, but it won't be from a dual RB/WR role, he is strictly a receiver (and a very good one).
Gary,Do you think the players will give that extra effort to Kiffin this year knowing that this is the make or break for him
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I think the bigger motivation is to remove the stigma from last year. Any player this year who was on the team in 2012 is more than ready to show that last season was an aberration, that has more to do with their individual pride than the head coach.
RC (Los Angeles)
Are there any updates on the Matthew Thomas / FSU situation? If released, what is USC's chance of getting him? And In your opinion, should FSU just release the 18-year old from his LOI rather than prolong this situation? Thanks for the time.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
The FSU coaches plan to meet with Thomas and his family this week. The FSU athletic director has already said they will not release him from his scholarship but he added that there is an appeals process available for Thomas if he wants to go that route. If he does end up getting out of the FSU situation, I think SC has an excellent shot to get him because I think SC is the school he wants to attend.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will USC have to battle Alabama for the signature of Tyer Luatua?
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
Tyler is saying that other schools are in the mix but I think it does come down to an SC vs Bama battle on this one. The Trojans have a big need at tight end and there will be a real opportunity for early playing time.
D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, CA)
D.J. Calhoun is 6'1, 205. How can he play OLB in this system?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
D.J. is 205 pounds right now as a high school junior, where will he be in a few years with a college strength and conditioning program. He could always end up inside as well, that's the beauty of trying to project players from where they are at 17 to where they will be at 22.
how would you compare David Sillis ,Ricky Town and kevin Dillman ? should usc try for 2 of these outstanding players
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
Sills is the classic drop back guy of the group. Dillman is probably the best overall athlete and there are some people who think he could end up at another position in college. Town is one of those "gamers" who just seems to make things happen. I like Rosen from St. John Bosco as well, he can zip it.
Where would you rank our Oline in relation to the other schools in our conference? First? Worst? Somewhere in between?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
I think they have the potential to be one of the better lines in the conference but I'm not ready to rank them ahead of someone like Stanford right now. The Cardinal are doing things on the line these days that remind me of the SC of old. For the current Trojan line, a lot will depend on how things progress under new coach Mike Summers, there is a lot of returning experience along the line but it just needs to come together the right way.
Nick (HD) [via mobile]
The one player SC must get this year is....?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
I will say Adoree Jackson as No. 1 with JuJu Smith as No. 1-A.
Thanks for all your hard work!! How about Su'a Cravens and Kenny Bigelow, any chance they both start? I expected to hear more on Bigelow this spring.
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
Thanks Troy. I wouldn't bet on either one starting right now. Su'a is capable but it's a deep safety group so he will have competition. Whenever he does get into the line-up, you are going to like what you see. With Bigelow, there were flashes of his potential this spring but there were also challenges with the leap to the college level. Remember, Kenny played at a school in Delaware as a junior and then only played 4 games as a senior due to issues related to his school. That's not the high level of preparation that some other players are getting in high school. Kenny will be fine in the long run once he gets completely adjusted.
Do you think local kids going out of state is the result of those programs having a HC that is principled leader?
Garry Paskwietz (6:02 PM)
It may be the case sometimes, it just depends on the player. There have always been local players going out of state, it just happens sometimes, especially when schools like Notre Dame and Oklahoma put such an emphasis on recruiting the area. But make no mistake, it happens less when the SC ship has solid leadership. When the Trojans were running well under Pete Carroll, you rarely saw an elite local player heading out of state.
Garry Paskwietz (6:03 PM)
That's all the time we have for today. See you next week.