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 (5:00 PM)
Hello everyone, let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you Rank the USC Defense in College Football in 2013?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
So far so good. The defense is doing a terrific job in getting takeaways and applying pressure, as well as stopping the run (although the two teams they have played so far do not focus on the run).
Garry. Marqis lee said they had a players only meeting in front of camera. Devon Kennard twitted "if there was a player's only meeting I wasn't there". What's going on with the team.
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
It definitely looks like some kind of get-together happened with players but it's unclear how many were there or what was discussed. These types of meeting can often be a good thing as players clear the air about issues. What makes it a story in the media is the fact that Kiffin said he didn't know and now it looks like the players are trying to downplay what happened.
Garry, Do you think that Lane will finally allow Cody to throw the ball downfield? He needs to realize that bubble screens won't work if the defense knows you won't go vertical.
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
I think it would be a very good thing to open up the playbook and let Cody do that. It would surprise me very much if that doesn't happen.
Hi garry, I was on coach kittens side, but after analyzing form the beggining of last season till this point I cant do that be on his side goin forward. Nothin has changed since the beginning of last season up to now. He had a preseason team full of potential and turned it into mediocre. Another example the defense is the backbone of the team so far! I believe that's coaching, the players grasp his defense, he uses their strengths, something coach kiffin is doin the oppose time. The defense has tons of energy and the offense is totally in negative mod. Coach kiffin is coaching scrape is obvious just on his behaviour
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
There are a lot of USC fans who share your opinion right now. The boos and chants from the crowd last Saturday were a very telling sign of how the fans felt and i don't think a single bit of it was directed at the players, it was all at Kiffin.
Rob (Santa Clara)
Dear Gary, I can't stop wondering: Given the sad offensive performance we've seen, assuming they did PRACTICE in spring and fall camp, what did they practice? The same cr@p we're seeing? Also, did you have any inkling that things would be this bad on offense? Did you see anything that you now was a tipoff to poor offensive performance? Thanks!
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
Kiffin was asked specifically about that on Sunday in his media call. There were definitely moments in spring and fall camp where the passing game looked good and was throwing the ball downfield. Kiffin said he has been very surprised about the struggles all of a sudden but there was at least one sign at the final fall camp scrimmage when the first offense had trouble against the service team defense. It was one of those days where the energy seemed to be missing from the offense, something that has been apparent in the opening two games.
RC (Los Angeles)
Is it panic time for SC recruiting-wise? How would you sell USC and recruit if Kiffen is still the coach and students chanting "fire kiffen" at the end of just game #2? Do you see any hope for this next recruiting class - are there any recruits out there that are actually leaning 'SC? Seems like everything is negative these days. Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
it's not really a secret right now, the recruits are noticing the Trojan struggles and they are looking at Kiffin as a big reason why. We have said all along that many of the recruits are approaching this as a "wait and see" year for the Trojans to judge how they respond to 2012. Unfortunately, there were a lot of top recruits in the stands last Saturday who didn't like the answer.
RC (Los Angeles)
Now that he has picked a "starter" in Kessler, should fans be more optimistic with the rest of the season? How do you see Saturday's game against BC playing out? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
I think this was a much needed step but I don't know if it will cure everything. A starter needed to be named, Kessler talked yesterday about how hard it was to worry about winning a job in addition to winning a game. Hopefully that helps to settle some of the ills of the passing game and the play calls by Kiffin.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, after the loss to WSU how do you see our season unfolding? Do we rebound and win a bunch of games, or this was an indication of things to come?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
I don't know. That was a low point in futility for the passing game last week and you don't know what is in store for the coming weeks. These next two games are huge and they offer an opportunity to get things straight before a tough stretch with ASU, UofA and ND but if the Trojans don't get things turned around quickly it could turn into a real problem.
RC (Los Angeles)
What is your feel about Kiffen's offensive game plan this Saturday? (Defense is doing a great job already - just keep it up) Should he reduce the run plays to get more pass plays and get M. Lee and N. Agholor more touches? Do you see him more willing to open up the playbook and throw more downfield with this game against BC? Thanks and Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
I don't want to see a reduction in run plays, I really like what is happening so far with running the football. I think the change needs to come in the passing game to take advantage of the amazing weapons at the disposal, which would help with longer drives and more overall plays in the game so that you don't need to reduce the run game.
Hi Garry, is Lane Kiffin going to give up offense play calling responsibility? I got a feeling Lane Kiffin's play calling is the reason why Cody Kessler underperformed in the 1st 2 games. There is no reason such a huge gap exists between off-season and regular season.
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
There hasn't been any indication Kiffin is ready to make that move of giving up play calling.
Hi Garry. I'm not saying the sky is falling after one loss this season, but rather that the sky fell mid-season last year. We have lost 7 out of our last 9 due to EXTREMELY limited and predictable play-calling. Why does it appear that CLK doesn't trust the kids that he so adamantly recruited? The QBs looked like they had no confidence. How does Kiff get these guys to buy in when it appears that he can't lead the team?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
You bring up an important point with the trust issue because it does appear to be a real factor in what has happened over the last part of 2012 and into this year. That is a key part of coaching and getting the players to buy in. I think things need to change in that area for the season to head in the right direction.
kimo (santa monica)
what is the sense around the ball club considering the lack of production on offense? Is there just no trust in the offensive play calling?When you couple the stat line of the Defense allowing just 3 pts and Madden running on 32 carries for 150+ yards you would think that was a USC blowout of an opponent.
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
The fact that there was some kind of get-together with players (they aren't calling it a players-only meeting) should tell you that there is something going on. Players don't get together like that to talk about how great everything is, it usually happens when there are some issues that need to be addressed. Hopefully it is a sign of the players taking more ownership of the situation no matter what is happening with the coaches.
Bob Boyd (San Gabriel, CA)
Do you think Coach Kiffin will let someone else call the offensive plays now?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
No, I don't get the sense he is ready to do that.
HLH325 (Menlo Park)
Doesn't anybody at the University share with CLK that he is a poorly prepared, if not incompetent, offensive coordinator?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
I think plenty of people in the stands tried to express that sentiment last Saturday.
MJ (Davis, CA)
How surprised were you by the passing numbers from last weekend?
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
Shocked. I didn't think that could happen, not with players like Lee and Agholor on the team. i don't care what kind of new defense was used, or how much it might have stumped the coaches, a highly paid play caller should be able to gain more than 54 yards passing in a game with so many weapons at his disposal.
Chris (Calgary, AB)
Hey Garry, Fun week hey.... Seeing as the QB's played well in camp when Helton was calling plays is there and chance Pat Haden makes Lane give up the play calling? Like Jerry Jones did in Dallas
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
i wouldn't completely rule that out but I also don't think it happens. Haden did let Kiffin know in the off-season that his preference was for Lane to give up play calling and focus more on being the head coach. Lane chose to keep play calling and my guess is Haden will let him succeed or not succeed with that choice.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, do you belive with the doubt about the coaching situation at USC it will be possible to get any good recruits ? Just your opinion,,,,Thanks
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
it all depends on the results. There is a lot of doubt among recruits with Kiffin right now but that could change if he wins. If he doesn't, and if he is replaced, there are plenty of recruits who would be lining up to consider the new coach.
Why do you think more people are not asking for Pat Haden to get fired? Ultimately he is the leader of USC football program, not Lane Kiffin. Pat Haden has allowed Kiffin to be the coach when he should have been fired last year. I think Pat should also go because of that big mistake.
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
I think more and more focus is starting to be placed on Haden. He put his support behind Kiffin with an emphasis on areas such as play calling and recruiting, right now Kiffin isn't making that support look good in either area.
fightonsc (Orange County)
Major props to Coach Pendergast! The quickness with which he has changed the approach, attitude, and results of the defensive has been nothing short of phenomenal. So fun to watch and shows the talent we have on the roster when it's coached correctly. If only he had been hired a year earlier we could have lived up to that #1 ranking and wouldn't be in the mess we are in now.
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
Indeed. Pendergast has quickly changed the defense, which shows how important coaching can be to get things turned around.
DH (Porter Ranch, CA)
Was the play calling based upon Kiffin's lack of confidence in the quarterbacks or do you think he is just bad.
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
I don't know for sure but I would lean toward the first option. We've seen both Kessler and Wittek have their moments in scrimmages so you know they can do it. but the play calling has been so conservative that it sure points to a coach who doesn't have confidence to do much more. Let's see what happens now that a full-time starter has been named.
Reid (San Diego)
The term "losing the locker room" is usually a big indicator of a coach having one foot out the door. Would you say this has happened given the reports of the player only meeting following the WSU game?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
I'm guessing Kiffin doesn't want it to be perceived that way which is why the spin being put on is that it wasn't really a full players only-meeting, it is now being described more as a few guys getting together to talk about staying positive.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, would you like CLK to show some emotion on the sidelines this Saturday ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:33 PM)
That's not him so I think it would be fake emotion. He is going to stick with doing things his way (keeping play calling) and let the chips fall where they may.
O-line has been brutal. What changes do you think should be made there? Will A. Walker ever live up to his potential?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think the line has done a fine job run blocking and the game last night was one of Walker's best efforts. The pass blocking needs to improve, and soon, and the players and coaches know that. I don't know that I would make any changes, i'm fine with either Martinez or Walker at right guard depending on who the coaches think is the better option.
I'll make the same statement I made last chat (it was omitted). Lk has not developed the the talant he has recruited - 2 qb's that have been in the system for 3 yrs. have not been able to lead the team against weak competition - in contrast Florida St. rs freshman qb is able lead and win his 1st game. LK's play calling and leadership is laughable - Wash.St. dq confused LK - LK is unable to adapt - he should burn his plastic play card - how can the longest gain passing be 7 yds.? WE are wasting time and talent continuing any longer with LK - insanity - continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
i think that is a solid point. Look at Texas Tech with a walk-on freshman starter or Cal with a true freshman in Goff who is putting up big numbers. These quarterbacks have been in the SC system for 2 1/2 years so there's no reason they aren't able to hit the ground running when given the opportunity. Very fair to ask that question.
Jason (Newport Beach, CA)
Much hasn't been said about Silas Redd or Farmer. What is the current status of their condition and can we expect them to play this coming weekend?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
Silas recently had a procedure done on his knee, the coaches keep saying they anticipate him to return soon but there are no further updates given. As much as I like Silas, I think the Trojans are OK with Madden, Davis and/or Allen although Redd certainly enters that rotation when he returns. Farmer is out for the year with his knee injury.
Any Chance Max Browne starts vs Utah state if the offense sputters again vs BC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
That would surprise me. I think Kessler would need to be given more of an opportunity than that.
Hi Garry: I think Kiffin needs to ease off of the "run first" philosophy. I understand using the run game to set up the passing game, but we're averaging 3 yards a carry -- and have no passing game to speak of. Can't expect Tre Madden to keep this workload up all season. Thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
i agree that it would be tough for Madden to carry a similar workload all year and I don't think it will happen. Kiffin was pretty clear in saying that Davis can expect more of a workload this week. I disagree on the run first mentality, I think it will be a huge benefit. Right now the Trojans are averaging 3.8 yards per rush but that counts sacks as well, they would be right around 4.5 per carry for the tailbacks and my guess is that number grows as the line gels even more, and as the pass game gets going.
Does the NCAA have any interest in punishing any of these crooked schools and players out there? Why hasn't USC gotten all their scholarships back yet?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
it seems like most every school out there has learned from what happened to USC and they look to cooperate as much as possible when the NCAA shows up to investigate. But trying to predict any consistency with the NCAA is a futile effort. USC tried two appeals to the scholarship reductions but both were unsuccessful, I don't see anything else happening at this time.
First you praised Justin Davis as a possible starter, and then only gets 2 carries this past game...what's with that?
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
Kiffin said Madden was running so well, and getting stronger as the game went along, that it made sense to stick with him. Kiffin also acknowledged that Davis will get more work this weekend.
Kennedy (Manhattan Beach, CA)
Thoughts on Jordan McLaughlin. I just saw that Evan Daniels broke that he committed to USC and Coach E.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Big-time addition for Enfield and the hoops program. There aren't too many times when USC wins a basketball recruiting battle against UCLA, Indiana and Kansas.
How should Trojan fans interpret the silence from Haden since last week's game?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
i would say not to expect much in the way of constant updates from Haden. He made his statement of support at the start of the season and now my guess is he will let things play out for a while.
Garry - With USC taking over control of the Colosseum do you see any big changes coming that will help the program?
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
I do but I think it will be a couple years before it happens. The Coliseum is one of the truly traditional stadiums in all of college football and I see this as a real opportunity for the school to take the home field advantage up a notch. i've heard lots of thoughts from new seats to better concessions to luxury suites, etc. It's an exciting time to see what happens with the Grey Lady.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Switching sports for a minute. Do you think Andy Enfield gets Stanley Johsson to join McLaughlin at USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
I think today really helped. it's known that Stanley has SC on his short list but it has to help when he sees another elite player step up to say he's going to be there as well. This was a huge step today for Enfield and the program.
Dave (New Jersey)
What are the chances that USC has 3 wins when they visit Notre Dame? I don't think the outlook is good at all. Your thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
Oh, there's a chance all right, especially if the offense doesn't get on track. That's a big part of the reason why these next two games have become so important, nobody really expected these to be must-win games but they are now after what happened against WSU.
Is Silas Redd going to get the bulk of the carries when he returns? He's a solid back but he's slow like Chauncey Washington.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
I wouldn't think so. I think Madden has proven himself enough that Redd won't come in and get the bulk of carries. Things may be more evenly split, with Davis in the mix as well, but I don't see Tre reduced to a lesser tole at this point.
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Thanks everyone, that's all we have time for today. We will see you next week.