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 (4:59 PM)
Hello everyone, let's get started.
Davis (Boston )
How worried should USC feel about Oregon and UCLA this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
I think both of those teams will be in the conference race this year, as will Stanford and ASU. Obviously the Trojans don't play Oregon so there won't be an opportunity for a head to head match up unless it happens in the conference title game. The Trojans can control their fate against the others, however, and they look to be three very tough games on the schedule.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Where will be the Coldest College Football Game that USC will Play in 2013?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
I'll go with November 23rd in Boulder to play Colorado. That should be a chilly one.
Bobby Boucher (ATL)
Who benefited the most from a reshirt year last year???
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
I'll say Jordan Simmons. He won offensive service team player of the year and then he dropped some weight in the off-season. He has looked very good so far in camp as the top reserve at right guard.
jose lagunas (Pico Rivera Ca)
What's going on Garry P enjoy reading your stuff on Sc and keeping us inform oncthe trojans. TWO questions GP what is your prediction on the trojans record for 2013 I personally believe the trojans will improve possibly 10 win team. My other question on Ermon Lane the recruit do you think Sc has chance with him. Thanks for your time GP.
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
Thanks Jose. I think a 10-win season is certainly possible for this team. There is an awful lot of talent on the roster and if they come together the right way there is a lot that can happen. As far as Lane, he is saying that there is interest in SC right now and i believe that. it's just hard to tell how realistic the chances are until he takes a visit, we should know a lot more after that.
Swami (Santa Clarita)
Don't like the way the recruiting is going. Kids leaving to go to school out of state. Latest is Ricky Town. Do you think Trojans will catch up with recruiting this year and come up with top 10 class?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
Sure there is a chance it could happen but things would need to change. If the Trojans should have a strong year it would go a long way to getting the elite recruits, many of whom are taking a "wait and see" approach with the Trojans after the 7-6 season last year.
Ed (New Mexico)
Garry, If SC does not take a QB this year do you that it would make SC more attractive for Rosen? Guess he would have to decide if he wants to go up against Cryst or Sills. Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
It might be one mark on the checklist in favor of SC but it's not going to be a key part of his decision. Rosen has made it clear that competition isn't going to scare him away and he's looking at the kind of schools who will always be bringing in a quality quarterback every year.
Hi Garry, I believe it is too early to tell. However, who will be the starting QB based on what you have seen in the last 3 days? Who do you like the most?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
If the Trojans had a game this weekend I would start Kessler. There's just something about the way he's playing right now that he appears to be more in command of the offense. He really looks comfortable these days. Wittek can zip it at times and I'm not ruling him out at all but at the moment I would go with Kessler.
egrimwad3 (the dumps)
When is Max Tuerk going to be moved to LT?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
He got a few reps there yesterday when Walker was unavailable. It's something the coaches are well aware of an as option and you certainly can't rule it out from happening at some point.
Matthew (San Francisco, CA)
What are the chances that all RBs see action this year? It seems like each one brings something unique to the table.
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
Yes, one of the interesting things about this group is that each back has a slightly differing style. I would love to see them redshirt one of the true freshmen but they definitely both look good enough to play right away. It's a tough choice because how many realistic carries are there going to be for both of them.
Bobby Boucher (ATL)
Who has a better Soph season between the FLA boys??? DL L. Willams and WR N. Agholor???
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
That is a terrific question. As good as I think Agholor is going to be this year (and that is really good) I'm going to go with Williams. He simply looks dominant so far in camp and I think he's going to start being looked at as one of the best defensive lineman in the nation this year.
Jason (San Diego)
Hi Garry! Dion Bailey is being moved to safety but hasn't truely played there since high school. Is he being moved to free or strong safety? I would assume strong because it closely resembles that linebacker spot he's been playing. If it is free safety, how has his mobility looked in practice?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
Hello Jason. Dion is at free safety and he looks fairly mobile out there. He's dropped about 10 pounds from 208 last year to 199 right now. I think he's always been a natural free safety, he just has a way of anticipating plays that was evident in his play at linebacker, even though he was really playing out of position.
Hi Garry. Jump into your time machine and tell me who hits the field on the O-Line for our first possession later this month in Hawaii.
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
Right now that's a hard question to answer since the left tackle situation could be something to watch as soon as today. Aundrey Walker missed the last day and a half of practice and yesterday they put Chad Wheeler and Max Tuerk at tackle for a look. Kiffin said he was excited to watch the tape last night to see how they looked. Does Walker slide right back in when he returns? Did Kiffin see enough to give one of those others more of a shot? We should know more today and then tomorrow at the scrimmage. Obviously things are set at center with Marcus Martin, at right guard with John Martines and at right tackle with Kevin Graf.
Nike (Brooklyn )
Will usc be good
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
I think the Trojans will be better than many people think. There is a lot of talent on this team and they are eager for redemption from last year.
Tank Dempsey (Der Riese )
Is the rumor true that Ty Issac was unhappy at USC upon his arrival? How is is doing now? Thanks!
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
I never heard that it was true. Things sure seem to be going well for him the last few days, he has looked terrific in the first week of camp.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Kiffin and the Trojans will perform better this season, exceeding expectations, like they did two years ago, now that there is no pressure on them?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
I think that is certainly possible. I don't think you have overstate how much these players, and coaches, want to make up for what happened last year. They certain;y didn't come to USC to go 7-6 and that's not the way they want to be remembered for their time in the program.
RC (Los Angeles)
With the QB situation being as close as it is now, with probably no clear separation at the moment, is a two-qb system a possibility? If Max Browne does not play this year (redshirt), do you think the "back-up" QB stays at USC or does he start thinking about transferring?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
Kiffin addressed the possibility of playing 2 QB's a couple days ago, he said "I would never say never but it's not something we've done in the past." Kessler said there is no way he transfers, even if he doesn't get the job. Wittek said he would cross that bridge if it comes to that.
Ketan Sharma (San Jose)
Hi Gary, 2015 is the first year when USC brings in a full class of new recruits. But still we are loosing on lot of key players. We lost Ricky Town to Alabama and Josh Rosen seems to be fixed on Stanford. What will you put these losses to :- Poor recruiting or uncertain future of coaching staff?Fight On!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
I think it shows the power of a down year. Last year at this time the Trojans were pre-season No. 1 and also No. 1 in the recruiting rankings. Now Alabama is No. 1 and they have the ability to reach into SC's backyard for a top QB. That's the benefit of being the top team in the country, the Trojans benefitted from that status many times under Carroll. A lot of elite players are taking a "wait and see" approach to the Trojans and Kiffin this year and the results on the field will be a critical factor for the recruits.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who is the Best USC Trojan in the NFL Right Now?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
It has been Troy Polamalu for many years but I think Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews or even one of the two Kalil brothers can make a strong argument right now.
Larry (Newport Beach)
Gary, please share with us your impression of the offensive line as it stands today comparing it to last year. Lastly, has Andre Walker shown improvement and do you feel he will be a true asset to this most important part of the offense.
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
I like what I see from the line because there is so much experience in the group. I also really like what I see from Marcus Martin and I think that is key because you needed to find a good replacement for Holmes. It's hard to know what's going on with Aundrey right now because Kiffin hasn't given any details for his absence the last two days. I think this very much remains a situation to watch at left tackle, I don't get the sense things are settled yet in Kiffin's mind. The good news for the Trojans is that there are options, with either Wheeler or Tuerk.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Name the biggest potentail trap/letdown game this year for the Trojans?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
I'm going to say the road trip to Oregon State. The Trojans have that tough 3-game stretch with ASU, AZ and Notre Dame, then they come home for one game against Utah, which should seem like a break after the previous three games. Then they head to play the Beavers in a place that has not been kind to the Trojans in recent years. Beware of that one.
RC (Los Angeles)
How do you see Zach Banner, J. Simmons & G. Townsend playing out this year? Do you see them contributing mightily this year? Or are they still about another year away? Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
Of the three, Simmons is the most likely to contribute this year as he looks real good so far in camp. Banner is most likely a year away, in large part because there doesn't appear to be a good opportunity this year for him at right tackle. I could see Townsend being the back-up to George Uko this year, he has been running with the 2nd unit in camp.
Darryle (Nipomo, Ca)
Hi Gary, I've been hearing a lot of good things about SC's deffense. Do you think they have a good chance to be as dominant as they once were?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I don't know if you can start saying that yet but I do think they are going to be dramatically better than last season. And once they hit their stride with figuring out what Pendergast wants I think they will really have a chance to be good.
Besides the obvious big name commits, who do you see having a big year, and who has looked really good in spring. Guys such as Shelton, Hawkins, Starr, and Ruffin.
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
Shelton is a guy who has made a few plays so far in camp to catch the eye. He's a long and lean corner with sneaky speed, he's been hurt a lot in his time at USC so he hasn't really had a chance to make his mark but don't be surprised if he gets some action this year. I also really like what I see from Starr at the OLB spot, that fits him much better than MLB. Hawkins has a bright future, good fundamentals.
We've heard that Kiffin wants the offense to be more balanced this year. Does this have more to do with he doesn't have as much faith in QB position right now, or he really wants a balanced offense. I think most people would agree that he loves to pass.
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
it's interesting, Rick Neuheisel did a Q&A before practice yesterday with the Pac-12 Networks and he thought SC would run the ball more in a balance offense this year. His reasoning being that Barkley made the coaches so comfortable that it was easy to fall into the mode of pass first to Woods and Lee. He thinks things will balance out this year with the run game, especially since SC happens to have some good backs right now. We shall see, Kiffin has talked this before but it does seem so far in camp like the backs are getting a lot of good opportunities.
Joshua(Los Angeles) [via mobile]
GP, is our youth(immaturity) going to hurt us this year? We aren't mentally weak are we?!
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
i don't think the team will be mentally weak, in large part because so many guys were on the team last year. They know a 7-6 season is not the USC standard and they are anxious to prove it wrong. I really think that is going to be a powerful self-motivator as the season goes along because the players know it is on them to get it done.
Who are the the starting CBs going to be? I think we can assume Seymor on one side, but who's on the other?
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
Yes, I think Seymour has locked down one spot. On the other side, Anthony Brown has pretty much been the No. 1 guy but Torin Harris has looked good in camp and I wouldn't rule him out. One thing in Torin's favor is his size advantage over AB. Torin is healthy for the first time in a while and Kiffin is known to like his game. But don't overlook Brown, he is a fighter on the field. I also like what we've seen in camp from Devian Shelton, he could make a run too.
Lanny (Los Angeles )
How much will it effect USC that they don't have Barkley?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
There is a lot of thought this it won't impact the offense much at all. Obviously it will be tough to match his numbers but there are a lot of skill players available to help the quarterback keep things going at a high level. There might also be a little more balance in the offense, something that would be looked at as a good thing.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Will the Trojans be dominant on defense if they can avoid the injury bug? Or will the lack of physical play in practice show up in their tackling, and limit their potential on the field?
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
Kiffin has committed to keeping the physical practices in camp but things will probably be limited during the season. Right now the defense looks real good and aggressive but it's hard to know how that will be impacted when there is not as much practice contact.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who steps up for the Trojans at the third WR spot? And do you expect Agholor to have a breakout year similar to Marquise Lee in 2012?
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
Coming out of spring ball I was saying Victor Blackwell but right now I would be leaning toward Darreus Rogers, who has really been impressive in this first week of camp. He's a bigger receiver with very good hands. I do think Nelson Agholor is capable of having a breakout year like we have seen lately from Woods and Lee and I completely realize what kind of statement that is. I just think Agholor has that kind of potential.
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
Thanks everybody, that's all we have time for today. We will see you next week.