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)
Hello everyone, welcome to the chat. Let's get started.
what does usc do at the cb postion now after Adarius Pickett goes to ucla? Do you think we can keep Derik Calhoun?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
A couple of the top local uncommitted options include Demetric Woodard from LB Poly and Donovan Lee from Chaminade. There are also committed guys like Wadood (Cal), Lockett (Wash) and Hale (Ariz) who could end up getting increased attention as well. Calhoun is an interesting one because he is going to get a ton of pressure from Pickett, too soon to tell how much that could work or not.
Joel (Niagara Falls) [via mobile]
Hello Mr. Paskwietz, How is it that a traditional, big-time CFB powerhouse has so much difficulty establishing a starting QB. This, especially, after the lineage of Leinart, Sanchez, Barkely, and others. Thank you for your time.
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
it is notable to see this, in large part because of the players you mention, even going back to Carson Palmer. USC has a recent history of picking a guy and sticking with him but that's certainly not the case at the moment. I doubt it goes on much longer though.
A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS IS KENNY BIGELOW REDSHIRTING? ANY BIG TARGETS AT CB FOR 2014 USC DESPERATLY NEEDS HELP THERE ESP WITH PICKETT GOING TO UCLA. FINALLY DO YOU THING BOTH KESSLER AND WITTEK WILL PLAY SAT THANKS GARY
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
Kenny did not play in the Hawaii game so a redshirt is still possible but I think he will end up playing since he is the No. 2 NT. The Trojans employed a nickel defense against Hawaii for most of the game that had Dion Bailey as a slot defender and the nose tackle (Antwaun Woods) came out on those plays. If the reps were severely reduced for the No. 1 guy Woods, it makes sense that Bigelow didn't play.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Hi Garry. During a recent USC podcast, one person said Buck Allen catches the ball as naturally as ANYONE on the team. We already know he has speed and can hit like a train. Due to the depth at RB, slot receiver was suggested as a way to get him on the field. With a guy like that, what are the coaches waiting for? Thanks for the weekly chat!
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
I think Buck is a victim of a numbers game right now but the coaches do like what they see from him at TB. The problem is that Madden and Davis are at a little higher level and Redd is projected to come back soon. I think those 3 make up the rotation eventually but I would have no problem if Buck was included. Buck proved it to me over spring ball and fall camp that he has stepped up his game. My guess is the coaches still think there can be a role for him at tailback this year.
Mark Gonzalez (IE)
Garry if Marqise Lee holds on to the bomb Wittek threw to him during Hawaii would you have felt comfortable with him running the offense. Personally I feel Wittek can make the Trojan offense a verticle one.
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
I thought that was a great throw by Wittek, especially when you consider he had a defender coming at him for several steps and he took a shot after the ball was thrown. That was an example of the good that Wittek can bring. He also missed a couple receivers on shorter passes that could have been turned into first downs. That is the inconsistency that Kiffin talks about. There is no doubt that Wittek offers the chance to stretch the field more with his arm, he has got a gun.
g (north )
Should we strike Syria? Boots on the ground? I think we should just take out the Russians once and for all. What say you?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
I think the Trojans can run on Russia
Jason (San Diego)
Hey Garry, is Morgan Breslin healthy and ready to play this Saturday?
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
We haven't heard any word on that. The media is not allowed in to practice now that the season has started so that limits the ability to see if injured players have returned. Breslin is a critical one to get back, the defense looked good without him last week but imagine how good it could look if he is in that mix as well. I think SC needs him back for ASU so it would be great if he could be back at least by Utah State, if not sooner, to get a little work.
Hey Garry, do you think Lane will open up his play calling this game/season and do more down-field passing to his play-makers?
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
I would certainly think so. I'm guessing the Trojans showed just enough of the playbook to get out of Hawaii with a win, there should be plenty of downfield options left for Lee and Agholor.
Nicholas (La Mirada, CA)
Garry, what's the biggest difference you've seem with Wittek this season, when he's been working as at least a potential starter, compared to where he was last November, trying to jump in unexpectedly to replace MB?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
The thing that really jumps out to me right now about Max is how he just seems to have the physical tools to be a big-time guy. He looks the part, when you see him on the field he is a big tall guy with a commanding presence. Then you see his arm and it is a strong one. Those are a couple pretty strong attributes for a quarterback to have.
RC (Los Angeles)
Just to get A. Jackson, would you bite the bullet and just sign him as a receiver instead of his better CB position? And how similar is this to say, the DAT situation? He wanted to play RB (on offense) and that's where he ended up signing and playing for (OR). Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
Of course I would take him as a receiver. If it turned out that he was a great receiver, then I've added a great receiver. If it doesn't work out well, he could always go back to corner. That was the key for Marqise, he tried the move to offense and it worked. The speculation about De'Anthony's move was more of a projection because of his size. He actually played more safety at Crenshaw than corner. But he was always a terrific running back and I always thought that was where he would play in college. The size concerns never bothered me with him because he was just so explosive, and tough.
MJ (Davis, CA)
How concerned are you about our offense, particularly our line? Is pass protection going to be an issue -- all season long -- or does the OL settle down and right the ship?
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
I am optimistic about the line settling down over the next few weeks, in time for the ASU game. There is a new left tackle who had never played a college snap before and a center who has always been at guard. There is also the teachings of a new coach. They were certainly a work in progress in week one but let's see where things are in a couple weeks.
RC (Los Angeles)
News tidbits/rumors lean toward Kessler starting this weekend. What do you see as his positives (or his advantages) when he starts over Wittek? What worries you if Kessler does indeed start this Saturday? Thanks for the insights and fight on!
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
I wouldn't really say I'm worried about anything if Kessler starts. I'm just waiting for that moment when one of the quarterbacks stands up and takes the job. If you would have asked me that based on fall camp I would say Cody deserves the start. But I thought both he and Max did some good things/bad things against Hawaii so I've got no problem seeing them rotate again on Saturday. I think the key for the offense is going to be continuing the balance of running the ball, stay committed to that and then hit some big plays to Lee and Agholor at key times.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, I was shocked to learn Pickett chose to go crosstown! Thought he was USC lean ...regardless, I know it is a little early and things change if we start winning, but now that he's off the board, who are some of the remaining CB targets? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Oh, he was definitely a USC lean. This one was a surprise and it sounds like things changed recently with the issue of not being able to take an official visit during the season. Of course, this is all from Pickett's side of the story but it sounds like once he heard that news and then had a good unofficial visit to the UCLA game, things turned quickly for him. Good player.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Prediction for this weekend's game vs WSU
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
USC 31, WSU 28
Garry,Hope you are doing well. We have two Oline coaches and I was wondering if we should jump to 4 oline coaches? What are your thoughts on what is going on with the oline...
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
We kind of hit on this in an earlier question but I'm going to be patient with the line right now. This is a group that only came together midway through fall camp so there is still some jelling that needs to take place. With that being said, I thought the run blocking was definitely stronger than the pass blocking in the game. It a little disappointing to see some of the breakdowns but that should be something that gets cured in the next few weeks. We shall see. This is certainly what Mike Summers was brought here to do.
Are we going to see Kessler get the green light from kiffen to pass the ball over 10 yards and spread the field more this game. Also with Washington State bringing an aerial attack are we going to see less blitzing and more safety help on the corners.
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
I would think so on Kessler. It was pretty obvious that Kessler in the game meant no throws over 10 yards but with Wittek, go ahead and throw it downfield. Kessler can do it too. As far as the coverage against WSU, they definitely liked to dink and dunk all night against Auburn so it's hard to get to a quarterback quickly in situations like that. Pendergast has faced Leach before though so he will have awareness of that. It will be interesting to see how SC adjusts.
RC (Los Angeles)
What is your forecast for this Saturday's game against WSU? Will Coach Kiffen open up more of the playbook - have a few more pass plays to the fullbacks, TEs, and WRs? Will this game come down to the last few minutes in the 4th quarter? Should SC fans be worried about this game?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think this is going to be a much more compelling game than most would anticipate. WSU appears to have made some progress in year 2 under Mike Leach and that shouldn't come as any surprise. Leach has a plan for what he wants to do and his teams do it well. That means a consistently aggressive attack that can be unpredictable at times. Does he find a point to attack in the SC secondary, particularly at corner? The guess here is that he is able to put up 3-4 touchdowns so that means the SC offense needs to keep up. I think they do because of the ability to run the ball when needed and then a few big plays sprinkled in to Lee and Agholor.
Luke M. (Santa Barbara)
Garry, with all the criticism the o-line has taken in the past week, do you see players like Walker(Rozay)a once starter, Simmons, Falah and Rodgers getting a chance to play?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
Walker is the only one from that group who I would anticipate possibly having a shot at playing time. It was certainly noticeable when he didn't play last week, although we don't know how much of that might have been due to lingering injury issues. If he is healthy and ready to go, it wouldn't be a shock to see him in some kind of rotation with Martinez at RG.
Rez (San Diego)
Garry,What is the status of our two starting corners that got hurt during the Hawaii game. Torin Harris looked horrible out there against Hawaii. I know CLK doesn't give any injury reports but how does it look for the starting corners to return against WASU?
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
The chances appear much more likely for Seymour than for Brown. As you noted, there isn't much injury info coming out but Brown did not practice on Tuesday while Seymour did so take that for what it's worth.
Pietro (San Francisco)
Justin Davis hurdling the defender to get to the end zone reminded me of another great USC gridiron hurdler....Reggie Bush! Is Davis the second coming? Close to the second coming?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
Davis just has some natural running skills, doesn't he? I thought he was going to trip over his own feet at times because he was so excited. This is no fluke to see that kind of play, he has been doing it since he arrived on campus in spring ball. He is legit.
Kevin (Thousand Oaks, CA)
I know everybody is making a big deal about Tre Madden and Justin Davis, but I'd like to see what Buck Allen can do with more playing time. Don't get me wrong, the other two kids did fine. But Allen, really ran like a veteran running back. He looks like the type of back that could wear down a defense. So I'd pound him early and often and bring the other two in later in the game. BTW, what is the status of Morgan? All of the other backs have one gear. It would have been nice to see some break-away-speed on the field.
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
I agree with your thoughts on Buck. He's done so much this year to advance his case for playing time and I have little doubt he would do well if given the opportunity. Right now, however, the coaches seem to prefer Madden and Davis (and probably Redd) but if Buck keeps making plays like his run over the defender near the goal line he might just force the coaches to give him more touches. Morgan doesn't appear to be close to a return yet.
Hi Garry..i know that wsu plays alot of 4 wide sets do you see chawk getting pt...and if Devian Shelton is the second cb do you see things going really bad?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I can certainly see a scenario where Hawkins gets a chance. There's no doubt about his long-term talent and right now the main things others have on him is experience in the program. Shelton is getting a first shot ahead of him and that was a rough outing for Devian against Hawaii. Things will need to step up for him as he continues to get extended time.
Is USC ever going to land a dual threat qb? Do you think they need to move in that direction?
Garry Paskwietz (5:47 PM)
I think that would involve a switch to a version of a spread/read option offense and so far Kiffin has resisted that talk. There are plenty of advantages to being one of the dwindling number of schools running a pro-style attack and there are still elite quarterbacks who will be drawn to that,
TroyZilla (The Klondike)
Gary, isn't it one of the jobs of the coaching staff to be upfront with players and "suggest" to them that a switch in position would be beneficial to them and the team? Case in point, D.J Morgan...oft injured RB....very athletic, extremely fast, relatively tall...sounds like a NFL type CB...more money, longer career...what say you? Am I missing somethibg here? Get him on the otherside of the ball! Put the best 22 out there...enough with the experiment/make everyones dreams come true crap!
Since the QB position has looked pretty shaky so far, do you think that USC should establish the run to set up the pass? We know Kiffin loves to pass, but the QB's don't look comfortable yet.
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
sorry, having some technical issues with posting
28 points for WSU,Garry please explain yourself
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
I think Leach and his offense can put up some points and the one thing they do is get rid of the ball quickly. Because of that, I wonder how much pressure SC will be able to get, at least in comparison to last week. I think it's a real interesting match-up. A lot depends, of course, on the health of the SC corners too.
Daniel F (Ladera Ranch)
The Cougars looked pretty impressive at Auburn. Is MIke Leach turning the corner with this program?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
I don't know if we can say they have turned the corner but I think you can definitely say they have made progress so far. That's why I think this game on Saturday has become more interesting. If Leach can get his passing game going quickly, that might be an area that can give SC problems. But the Trojan offense should be able to move the ball against the WSU defense.
RC (Los Angeles)
With Cravens, Bailey and Shaw manning the safety positions (successfully) during the game against Hawaii, do you see Leon McQuay trying the cornerback position (again) just to get some more playing time (and of course if the two initial starters from the Hawaii game are still not 100%)? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
I don't see that yet. If there are more corners lost then you never know but the audition for Leon just didn't go well enough to think it's something you could turn to with immediate success.
Bob (Westlake Village)
We dont have the elite talent in the Pac 12 as compared to Stanford, Oregon and UCLA and maybe some others are catching up fast. Garry do you feel recruiting last two years was weak at OL and CB and does not look great EARLY this year.
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
I don't think USC has the dominant amount of talent like in recent years but I certainly don't think the Trojans take a back seat to anyone in the conference. If you go the two-deep depth chart, the Trojans can match up with anyone talent-wise. I do think there have been some high profile misses at the two spots you mention; I'm thinking Peat and Murphy along the o-line to Stanford and Ramsey at corner to Florida State. All would be right in the thick of things for the Trojans.
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
thanks for coming everyone. that's all the time we have for today. See you next week.