Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC reporter 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)
Welcome everyone, let's get started
Sam (Rhode Island)
Hi Garry,Do you think the recent success of UCLA has leveled the playing field with USC in terms of recruiting in the southern California area or does USC still have a leg up?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
I think Mora and UCLA gained some ground last off-season and they will head into this off-season looking to capitalize on a 2nd win in a row over SC. But I also think Sark is a good coach to combat that during his transition to the Trojan job. Sark is well known is the southern California recruiting circles, which is always going to be the base of Trojan recruiting. He's also hired a staff that has a good reputation for recruiting. A big key to watch in the next few weeks is the status of 3 big So Cal players: Mama, Adoree and JuJu. Both schools want all three of them, let's see where they end up.
fightonSC (Orange County)
Hi Gary, what's the status of Pelon's enrollment? He fills a huge need so really hope it all works out, but if it falls through can we still use that scholarship for somebody else?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
Still no word on if Pelon will qualify academically to transfer from JC. The word from Sarkisian last week was that it had come down to one class and they were hoping to hear as early as last Friday. Just because that day passed without any word doesn't mean a positive answer won't eventually come but there is the possibility it won't happen. The good news for SC is they can still use that spot on signing day since they already have four early enrollee spots filled.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, thank you again for doing this weekly chat session. Between the two 2015 QB recruits (Town and Rosen), who do you feel we have a better chance of landing at this point in time? Do you think any of the two might end up at our cross town rivals and why?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
I think there's been a pretty clear shift recently with the USC attention now focused clearly on Town. Sark has made it clear to Town since getting the USC job that he is the top priority at QB while Rosen had yet to hear from Sark as of last week. The timing of Sark's interest couldn't have been better with the hiring of Lane Kiffin at Alabama, where Town is currently a commit. One of the reasons Town verballed out of town is because there was no real relationship with Kiffin so there is a lot of speculation that Town could look to flip his commit and stay closer to home. The speculation on Rosen in recent weeks has been UCLA so it is definitely possibility that the top 2 QB's in the class of 2015 could be staying to play for the cross town rivals.
Garry do you think we will be moving toward a more mobile QB this fall with Sark?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
I certainly don't think it's going to hurt a QB to be mobile in this offense but I think the priorities are still going to come back to decision making, timing and accuracy. One thing a QB is asked to do in this offense is to make the read to hand it to the RB or not but, if he keeps it, the QB is usually asked to throw rather than run as the next option. That's why throwing skills will still be in demand more than running skills.
Nate [via mobile]
You think town will flip to sc?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
I think there is definitely a chance that could happen.
Garry. Do you have any update on WR's Farmer and Mitchell with their rehab? Will they be ready for spring practice.
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
Both players are coming along well but it would surprise me if either of them took part in any contact drills this spring. It doesn't sound like Sark is really going to push things with injured players this spring because his focus is on the players being available for fall camp. Right now he is saying every injured player will be available for fall camp. Look forward to seeing both of those guys in action again.
What is your opinion on Top Recruits waiting until NSD to make their choice?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
I think a player has every right to wait until signing day to make his decision. Fans of the recruiting process can sometimes get caught up in following things and wanting it done on a certain schedule but this is an important decision in anyone's life and they deserve to make their own decision.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, in your opiinon and best guess, who will be the 4 remaing recruits to sign...FIGHT ON
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
I think Mama and JuJu will be two of the group. I think there will be another WR/DB in the group, someone like Adoree' or Charles Nelson, and my guess is a LB like Warner or Lewis. My wild card is DL with Josh Frazier, who could end up with an open spot if Pelon doesn't qualify.
When is national signing day?
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
Wednesday, February 5th
RC (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry. Aside from Fields and Maloata, do you anticipate any other de-commits from this current class? thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
It wouldn't surprise me. There are a lot of players still showing interest, for more spots than are currently available.
Garry,Are the new line coaches on campus yet?
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
Yes, they are here and will be part of the recruiting weekend.
Rob (Santa Clara)
Hi Garry, All these guys leaving early for the nfl must know SC cannot add another scholarship to replace them. I understand they might have unique personal/family issues. Still, knowing the bind they put the program in must really make it a hard decision for them ... or not?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
This was a unique situation this year and there was a lot of emotion at the end with the Orgeron situation. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of time after that before the players had to make their decisions and emotions were still raw. There were questions by some players about being asked to stay while coaches who led them to the #1 ranking in the conference were being let go, coaches who led them to become a team. It was a tough situation.
RC (Los Angeles)
With 2 scholarship TE's left on the roster, how solid is B. Dixon's commitment to USC? And should USC fans be worried he might de-commit and go across town? Thanks and Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I think it's something to pay attention to, that's for sure. UCLA is still pushing hard and there are some in the recruiting circles who think they have a legit shot. One twist could be his friend and HS teammate Davonte Nunnery, a CB who has been offered a preferred walk-on spot at SC. Both of them will visit SC this weekend.
Steven (Rancho Cucamonga)
Garry, when do you think the Trojans will be an Elite top 5 team again?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
If anything were to happen like that in 2014 it would be a bonus. In 2015, you would have the benefit of a full recruiting class and a potential 3-year starter at QB so you never know what could happen. But in 2016, with another full recruiting class and a full roster, and being the 3rd year in Sark's system, I think that would be a real time to think the program could be back among those elite national teams.
Larry Shield (Orange, Calif.)
I realize that Ed Orgeron did a great job of revitalizing the Trojans after Lane Kiffin was fired. He preached loyalty and love for his players. Yet when he got turned down for the permanent head coaching job he had a temper tantrum and left the team. He should have stayed for the Las Vegas Bowl and then pursued other coaching opportunities. Why does the media seem to give him a pass on this one? Why hasn't he accepted Steve Sarkisian's overtures to come back to USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
As the old saying goes, there are two sides to every story and we've never heard Ed's side of the story. In fact, we've never heard Haden's version either. There have been snippets of info, and the reality that Orgeron left, but not a lot of other confirmed details. And I doubt the full story will ever come out either. It's a shame. Something that was so good just a short time ago got turned so sideways.
Hi Garry,Out of all the players we didn't see much of last year due to injury, redshirt or being backups who will have the biggest impact this year in your opinion?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
Good question. Steven Mitchell at receiver, he could instantly fill a role in this offense as a slot receiver. Jordan Simmons, if he comes back healthy he could be in line for a starting OL spot. Delvon Simmons was a transfer on the DL and he should make an instant impact. Quinton Powell was a reserve linebacker who is ready for a bigger role.
Tarik LaCour (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Two Questions: With Su'a Cravens having a similat build and playing style to Myles Jack, how about putting him as an inside linebacker in a 3-4? Also, when do you think Sark will name a starter at QB, end of spring or into fall camp?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
I wouldn't rule out Su'a getting a look at linebacker, kind of like the rover spot that Washington used last year with Shaq Thompson. My guess is that Cody Kessler enters spring ball as the incumbent and unless someone really applies pressure during the spring competition, I think Sark makes it official with Cody at the end of spring.
andy2099 (temple city)
Is wilcox leaning toward a 3-4 this year or a 4-3? There seems to be a lot of depth at linebacker with Pullard. Sarao. Dawson. Ruffin. Powell. Starr and hutch. Am i missing something here?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
He said last week that he would call it a 3-4 to start off but there will also be 4-3 elements that they will use, depending on the opponent. He said the key point he would make is that it's a multiple defense, one that can adjust as needed. And I don't think you're missing anything at all with that group, lot of talent there.
Jason (Newport Beach)
With big name prospects on campus this weekend and next. who do you feel rounds out USC's recruiting class? Juju? mama? frazier? adoree? i'd like to think that we land those 4...what're your thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
I think those four are all still possible and I have them on my short list of players I think could end up signing with SC. If Sark does close with those 4, it would be a terrific job of polishing off an already solid class.
ZDUB [via mobile]
Josh Frazier is a must ,is his family takin trip with him .He says he a Trojan fan since youth can new dline coach connect ? Ur thoughts please .
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
This is potentially huge. Frazier is a legit interior big-man SEC style on the d-line. The Trojans picked up one of those guys a few years ago in Leonard Williams and that one is working out so far. Through the strange timing of a new Alabama d-line coach coming in (from SC of all places) and a new DL coach coming from Georgia to SC who already had a relationship with Frazier, the Trojans once again look like a legit possibility to flip him from the Tide. You can't overstate how important this one would be for the SC d-line.
Jerry (Woodland Hills)
Does OG commit Toa Lobendahn figure into the plans at center next year? Or will Cyrus Hobbi/Khaliel Rodgers get the first shot?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
I would give Toa a look at center and it would almost surprise me if it doesn't happen. He's a versatile guy, very physical, and reminds me of former SC offensive lineman Lenny Vandermade, a one-time HS OT who made the move to center and guard for the Trojans. I think Rodgers gets a look as well, there are rumors of Hobbi's academic status but if he is clear he will be in that mix too.
Brandon (Orange County, CA)
What are SC's chances with Adoree now that he eliminated Orgeon? What is the back up plan if Adoree signs with UCLA or Florida?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
i would put SC and LSU as the two schools with the most likely shot at Adoree, with Florida or UCLA being the next two in consideration. If he signs elsewhere the Trojans are still in on multi-purpose guys like Miciah Quick, Charles Nelson and they already have Rahshead Johnson. There is also talk of JuJu Smith possibly getting a look at receiver.
Has Damien Mama said if he is certain to be going on his mormon mission? If so, is it worth it to give him one of our coveted scholarships?
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
Yes, Damien has been clear that he wants to take his mission after his freshman year. I think he is a talented enough prospect that you do use a spot on him, even though he won't be available for the two years of a mission.
Winston (San Gabriel)
Should I be worried about some of the recent Juju to ND rumors?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
Ricky (Los Angeles)
Which of our recruits is most likely to turn out to be surprisingly good?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
Andrew (Agoura Hills, CA)
Any chance that Davis' injury is serious enough that he will be "forced" to redshirt? Tailback is probably the most talented unit on the roster, and it seems like a great way to save some of eligibility for future years.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
He just got the screws out of his ankle earlier this week so I think it's too early to be projecting where he will be as fall camp gets closer. I can say this, Davis has no intention of redshirting right now. He wants to get back into this rotation as soon as possible and I'd be surprised if he isn't out there in the fall, unless there is a setback with the ankle.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you surprised Clancy Pendergast wasn't hired to fill one of the vacant DC positions within the conference? Will David Shaw bring aboard or hire from within now that Mason has gone?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Yes. Clancy has shown twice in the last 5 years that he can take a conference defense and get them to the top spot in his first year. Pretty good talking point on a resume.
Garry, what is your feel for the atmosphere amongst the players right now? As an alum, my favorite part of last season was the joy and excitement we saw from the team once they truly started having fun under Coach O. We are living the "fun football" atmosphere in Seattle right now with Pete Carroll, and as a Trojan who has seen the evolution from Pete to Lane to Orgeron and now back to Sark, I'd love to see the fun return to the Coliseum. Does Sark get it?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
i definitely think Sark gets it. His style of getting fired up to play football may not be the same as Pete's or Ed's but it does resonate with players. I liked a line that Marques Tuiasosopo gave last week after meeting with the players, he said he got the sense they were ready to "move on". I took that as meaning they were ready to get going with winter workouts, with throwing sessions, with diving into a new playbook, and getting ready for spring ball.
Can DJ Morgan come back and compete with the 4 rbs we have right now
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
I saw him two weeks ago and he said his knee is healthy and he's looking forward to returning to compete for the starting job. I like the optimism but D.J. has a long road back after missing time with his injury. If he can come back healthy, it's a speed option that isn't available with the other backs.
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
thanks everyone. That's all the time we have for today, we will do this again next week.