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)
Welcome everyone, let's get started.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry! What should be Coach Kiffen's concerns against Utah State? Do you see USC being better that Utah State this Saturday? thanks and Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
First of all you have to start with their quarterback Chuckie Keeton. This guy is good. 12 touchdowns to only one pick and is also the leading rusher on the team. It will be a real tough test for the SC defense. The Aggies defensive front seven is big, very strong. It will be interesting to see if the SC run game can continue the positive momentum. I do think SC brings the better team to the table in terms of talent but after what happened to WSU I don't think anything can be taken for granted right now. Should be a good ball game.
J (Los Angeles)
Do you think Cody could replicate his BC performance on Saturday?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
Sure. An equal question would be can coach Kiffin call a similar game? I think that game was one of the better called games that we've seen from Kiffin and it played well to Cody's strengths. Hopefully that keeps up.
GP can you update us on the current atmosphre of sc recruiting, and how SC is doing with the top 5 Cali prospects?
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
We've talked a lot about how there were a lot of local recruits who were taking a "wait and see" approach about USC recruiting and that was really solidified when many of them were at the WSU game. There is still plenty of time left in the season to get them back but it will take consistently good football. I would say the top 5 in California are Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith, Damien Mama, Miciah Quick and Tyler Luatua. I would say SC definitely still has a shot with the first four, not sure about Luatua these days.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, is it fair to say with the uncertian coaching situation at USC we are at a big disadvantage in getting recruits ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
There is definitely an impact this year. The Trojans only have 7 verbal commitments right now, one of the lowest totals in the country. The good news is that there are a lot of top local recruits who remain uncommitted and could be swayed to the SC side with the right results.
Any update on the health of Darreus Rogers? I recall a lot of encouraging news about his play in the spring ball, do you see him getting back on the field and making an impact this week?
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
There hasn't been anything confirmed from Kiffin or the school and that's in keeping with their recent injury policies. We just don't know if it was a minor ankle injury or a high ankle sprain.
scott (victorville, ca)
Gary read on the other USC website that LB Calhon has opened up his recruitment, is there any truth to that?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
Calhoun had hinted at that recently. He had also wanted to do an official visit along with Adarius Pickett, and the fact that they were told no did not go over well.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
Garry, as extremely good as Madden has looked, I am COMPLETELY blown away by Justin Davis. The guy cuts on a dime, is quick and is likely on of the smoothest runners I have seen. When all is said and done, I think he can be a top 5 USC back of all-time, and I do not say this lightly. Thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
That is high praise indeed. Time will tell if Justin will earn it but he sure looks good so far, good enough that you can make a claim like that. I will say this on Justin Davis. What we've seen in the early going is not a fluke, he's been doing this consistently since he arrived in spring ball. This kid is legit.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Now that Kiffin has surprised himself by naming a starting QB and seeing it lead to a more wide-open passing attack that utilizes the whole field -- what are the odds he continues with this successful scheme that mixes vertical throws to multiple receivers with a nice running game? I feel that if he regresses to the horizontal passing game again he is finished as a coach here.
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
I wish i knew the answer to that. You are absolutely correct, if Kiffin sticks with the game plan we saw against Boston College then good times are ahead for the Trojan offense. We just can't be sure that will happen, stay tuned.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Hi Garry, Based on what you saw from the offense in the BC game -- and assuming the D stays stellar -- is it enough to beat the likes of asu, nd, stanford, ucla and maybe oregon in a conference championship game?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
I think if the game plan is similar to the one that we saw against Boston College then anything is possible for this team. The talent is there to be a potent offense and we've already seen good things from the defense. At this point it's just a matter of keeping the good momentum going.
OKAY IM OFF THE LEDGE! LAST WEEK WAS GREAT. DO YOU THINK REDD OR ROGERS WILL PLAY SAT. WHAT ABOUT DJ MORGAN EVEN IF HES HEALTHY WHAT ROLE WOULD HE PLAY, DAVIS MADDEN AND EVEN ALLEN HAVE ALL LOOKED GOOD?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
Glad to hear that. Kiffin said he is hopeful to see the injured guys but that is his stock update when it comes to injuries so we don't really know for sure. I haven't seen or heard anything that would make me think they are playing. D.J. has not practiced so it would surprise me if he plays. To be honest, I'm fine right now with the tailback rotation featuring Madden and Davis with Allen mixed in there as well.
Hi Garry. Tre Madden is SO GOOD in the running game (ex. good ball control and no fumble). Will you still put Silas Redd back in the running game even if he is healthy to return?
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
I think Silas has earned the right to be in the rotation when he comes back but I'm not putting him ahead of Madden. I think Buck Allen would probably be the odd-man out because I would go with Madden, Davis and Redd. That's a pretty nice trio.
RC (Los Angeles)
Are Iman Marshall and John Smith priority targets for USC? With the state of USC's secondary, they would be great additions. Is USC actually on their short list? And, are there any out-of-state names to look out for that may come to USC with the next class? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
They are definite priorities, two elite recruits. Both have USC offers and both grew up as Trojan fans. Right now, however, USC has a battle with UCLA for Smith and others could join in as well. It's probably too soon to really predict on Marshall since he is only a junior. Both players are part of the local group that is keeping a close eye on the state of the SC program before making their decisions.
ray (los angeles)
What happened to Cyrus Hobbi?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
Cyrus has been injured lately.
Do you think Kiffin will go to a spread anytime this year? ESPN analyst have been ripping SC on our archaic offense, saying it's like watching 1970's football.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Kiffin has consistently said no on the idea of going to the spread and I agree with that. USC is one of the few places that can succeed with a pro-style offense on a consistent basis because of the level of talent. See Alabama right now, there aren't too many issues with their style. The Trojans showed against BC that the offense can be just fine with the right play calling and rhythm.
Steve Sarkesian (Washington)
Gary, I?ll come to USC and bring my high powered ?no huddle? offensive scheme with me and do away with this archaic scheme that?s there now. With our 4 and 5 star athletes, we?ll be as effective as Oregon. Adoree Jackson will come running to play in my offense and I can do wonders with Max Browne (whom I recruited), Nelson Agholor, George Farmer, Steven Mitchell, Dareus Rogers, Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer and Co and look to bring in Miciah Quick and Ju Ju Smith. In addition, bring Tosh Lupoi with me, the best young recruiter in the nation, team him up with Ed Orgeron (a Recruiting Dream Team), and promise we?ll have a Top 5 Recruiting class in my first year (even with 19 to work with). I?ll keep Coach Pendergast on (in fact him and Tosh worked great together at Cal) and I?ll bring back Kennedy Polamalu to coach running backs. We?ll get Joe Mixon re-enaged with SC, as well as, DB?s SC has been missing out on like Pickett, Hale, Lockett (who committed to me at Washington). I am an Orange County native and would love to come home and coach / recruit in the sun and SC back to prominence! What do you think?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I'm pretty sure SC has a policy that a coach needs to know how to spell his last name.
What are our chances of keeping DJ Calhoun Gary?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
I don't see them as good. There was a point a few weeks ago that I thought SC would get both Calhoun and Pickett but when Pickett reversed course and ended up at UCLA it meant that Calhoun would likely follow.
What underclassmen do you think will declare for the NFL at seasons end?
Garry Paskwietz (5:33 PM)
I think Marqise is a given, barring anything unforeseen. He's the only one I've heard any real discussion on so far. After that, you have guys who could consider it such as Uko, Pullard, Dawson, Bailey, Shaw, Martin or even Walker.
Our running game is really looking great right now and opposing teams will obviously be keying on it..eight in the box. We haven't seen too much of Lee and Aghalor catching deep balls and there seems to be more open space downfield. This, coupled with the fact that Madden has played some QB (I could be mistaken), it just seems like these ingredients could make interesting recipes for some delicious plays! We know that Kiffin has been pretty predictable in his play calling thus far, so wouldn't it be fun to see some wrinkles added ( aside from 2 point conversion attempts)? So howabout having Madden passing off of a quick pitch? And I would LOVE to see a flea -flicker/fake flea -flicker! I t seems to me that Kessler has the tools to make this fun! Also like to see more rolling pocket and play-action. Whadda ya think?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think the Trojans have shown very little of their playbook so far and it should open up in the next few weeks as the competition level increases. I also agree the Trojans can take their shots downfield if the run game continues to perform well.
Whould Orgeron or Pendergast ever be considered for the HC job if it opened up?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
It's hard to know. Haden certainly hasn't done any kind of speculating on where he would look if he is going to hire a new coach.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Very sad if we also loose Calhoun over no official visits during the season. You can dictate when you are on top like under PC but now we should do what is needed to ge and keep top recruits. Your opinion Garry ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
it's interesting you say that about dictating when you are on top because one local high school coach made the comment during this past off-season that USC was "recruiting as if they were still No. 1 in the country." There was also another college coach who talked about the visit policy and he said "we don't trip kids in during the season unless the kid absolutely says that's the only time he can do it, if you want him then you have to do it." I agree with that college coach, if you want the kid then you have to go along with his request. The hard truth about this point in the recruiting process is that the elite kids hold the cards.
Do you think it's a good thing that recruits are being more verbal and honest about their interest in SC? How does this affect the decision makers in Heritage Hall?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Recruits have had varying opinions through the years but we rarely heard them until now with social media. I'm not sure how much makes it to the decision makers in Heritage, maybe a tidbit every now and then but they aren't perusing the boards in search of recruiting nuggets.
Tommy (Somewhere in Tenn)
So everytime a Vol fan finds out I am a Trojan fan, I get the dreaded laugh. What possible retorts (if any) might I reply with?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
National titles, Heisman winners, bowl wins, players in the NFL, etc.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Tee Martin is a keeper as either a play caller or OC but somewhere on the staff. The players and recruits love him ! Your thoughts Garry >
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
Yes, Martin is a rising star as a coach and I don't think it will be long before his role increases, either at SC or somewhere else.
Jason (Fort Campbell, Kentucky)
Do you think Kiffen will use his Tight Ends more effectivly?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
I do think the tight ends will be more involved in the coming weeks. Both of them are healthy right now too, which is big.
Giovianne (San Antonio, TX)
Why hasnt SC scheduled any nuetral site games to expand the brand per se?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
That's something I would like to see SC get back to, the Virginia Tech game was a memorable one at FedEx Field.
RC (Los Angeles)
Is the defense really this good/dominant or they just haven't been tested against the better offensive team?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
I tend to think they are pretty good but your point is a good one, just how good are the offenses that SC has faced so far? The Utah State offense the Trojans will play this week is the best that they have seen and the match-up with Chuckie Keeton should be a good barometer of where they are.
RC (Los Angeles)
How are official visits organized? How many does USC usually hold for these recruits? And if a recruit wants to visit, why would USC turn them down? Isn't that just good PR? Thoughts? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
USC has had a policy in place for the last few years of bringing kids in for official visits after the season. There are some schools who bring kids in during the season, Carroll used to do it all the time. There are pros and cons to each. When you bring a kid in after the season, he misses out on the game day atmosphere but the coaches get to spend a lot more time with them. That's the big trade off and it's one that Kiffin feels is worth it.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, that's all the time we have for today. See you all next week.