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!
Gary how in the world is Coach Pendergast going to manage the whole defense with just three coaches to work with. I imagine he will use grad assitants but does this make any sense?
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
Yes, they will have to heavily rely on grad assistants. The good news is that the three coaches are defense are all pretty veteran guys, especially Orgeron and Pendergast. It is noticeable though to see the imbalance.
Kalven (Bay Area)
Which local talent is a must get, Tyler Luatua, Adoree Jackson or Michiah Quick? Why haven't we given a scolly to Dwight Williams? And which out of state prospect do we have the biggest chance at? Tony Brown? Marlon Humphrey?
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
I would put Adoree Jackson at the top of any priority list but the others you mention, Luatua and Quick, are both elite players as well and SC would love to land any of them. There's just something unique about Jackson and his playmaking ability.
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
You will see our full answers to that in the roundtable tomorrow as analyzing the new staff is our topic tomorrow. To give a short take ahead of time, i like the defensive staff even though there are only three full-time coaches. On offense, there is certainly a lot of attention being put to that side of the ball with so many coaches, now it is just a matter of seeing how the plan is laid out.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
Garry, I want to play a little over-under game for the 2013 season: O/U - 27 TDs thrown by the QB. O/U - 7 true freshmen playing this season. O/U 1,100 receiving yards for Lee. O/U 45 sacks for the D.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
I think that 27 number is a pretty good one for touchdowns but I would go slightly under it or right at it. I would go over on the 7 freshmen. I'm going to go under on Lee, not because of any knock on his ability but with a new QB and a system that is supposed to establish more of a running game there just might not be the huge numbers again for Marqise in that range. I'll go under that sack total but not by much. You put together some pretty dead on numbers there in my opinion.
Does Aundrey Walker have any kind of bad taste in his mouth for completely missing his blocking assignment on the play where Matt separated his shoulder? Have the coaches gotten on his case about it?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
There hasn't been any indication that there is any lingering bad taste for Aundrey. It's not really something you hear brought up around the team, it happened and it was unfortunate but you move on.
Not suggesting it's a good idea to do it, but would SC go after any of the players that got booted from Bama? Would they have to sit out a year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
Under the circumstances that the players left Alabama, my guess would be that Pat Haden would not be looking to take them in. i would never say never though.
We dont have the strongest schedule , so whats your way to early prediction for USC - 8 wins, 9 wins , 10 wins ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I'm putting the over/under at 9 wins this season, this is certainly a schedule where 9 wins is not an unreasonable number. Of course, there are 13 games so there are four games in there that will be tough and you could get to 9 wins while still losing the tough ones on the schedule. I think most USC fans realize that and would like to at least get to 10 wins to be considered a good year.
sctrojan2006 (Los Angeles)
Nickell Robey's combine performance appears to be much better than most anticipated. He ranked in the top 5 out of the Pac-12 athletes in most categories. Also, 10 reps when only weighing 169#s is very impressive. With that being said, where do you see him going in the draft?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
I think it was a solid performance from Nickell in all areas but the 40. He was definitely hoping for a mark lower than 4.53, that's not a bad mark by any means but he was talking low 4.4's as a goal. I don't think the 4.53 number will hurt him but he's not going to move up because of it, I still see him as a late round pick. I completely agree though about the 10 reps being a nice mark for his size. Whoever gets him will be getting a quality addition to their team.
What do you think of the offer and subsequent commitment of Tashon Smallwood? Is he slated to compete for the NT spot in Pendergast's defense or one of the 5-technique spots?
Garry Paskwietz (5:33 PM)
Smallwood was on the short list of guys that we talked about heading into junior day as potential offers so it wasn't a surprise in that regard. He's a real physical guy on the interior of the line and it was pretty much a no-brainer to offer. I do think he has the frame to be a NT in this system but that doesn't mean he couldn't slide to a DT spot as well.
Sam (Long Beach)
Hi Garry. Does the team have enough DLs to run "5-2" defense (in terms of depth)? We got only 1 DL from the NSD, and I got a feeling the D (specially, the DL) will be gassed out in the 2nd half of each game if no rotation.
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think the important area to remember is the OLB/DE spot because guys like Jabari Ruffin and Scott Starr will be in those spots, probably behind Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin. You are correct though in that DL was the spot hit hardest by the de-commits, there's no getting around that.
Do you think any team will pick up coach Kennedy since he is a strong recruiter especially in the LA ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
I certainly think KP will have options, it's just a matter of him figuring out what he wants to do. There were a lot of rumors around the time of his firing that he was set to return to the NFL but that wasn't the case, he had no plans to go anywhere and so he is in kind of a holding pattern right now. My guess is there will be some news very soon.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Michiah Quick will join his teammate at USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
I think that is possible but too early to call. It sounds like Quick wants to go through the recruiting process and he has an impressive offer list but SC has a pretty good rep right now with receivers so you have to imagine the Trojans will get a lot of consideration when all is said and done.
Daniel (Roseville ca)
Do you think Woods is up to the challenge of playing more in this new defense? He seems to be the only true nose gaurd we have on the roster
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
Yes, I think he is but now he has to go out and do it. The NT spot is so critical in this defense and he is the one guy that makes the most sense. The good news is that I thought Antwaun made nice progress last year and he just needs to continue stepping up his game. I like what I see from him in winter workouts, take that for what it's worth.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the Staring Quarterback for USC in 2013?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
My crystal ball hasn't delivered an answer yet. My guess is that it will still be Wittek but I do not think he has sealed the deal and this spring should be a tremendous competition. I'm not ruling out either Kessler or Browne.
Gary,In looking at the 40 times posted by our Secondary at the combines it makes a lot more sense why the Monte Kiffin defense struggled as it is predicated by speed. Throw in Dawson who at times seemed lost in coverage you have a recipe for disaster. Do you our team speed in the secondary being much better this year allowing us to attack more?
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
The numbers were decidedly average in the 40, they weren't bad but they weren't elite either. I think that was one of the factors in why the defense struggled but I'm going to put several other reasons ahead of that. I liked some of the other testing numbers that were put up - McDonald in the vert and broad jump, Robey in the bench, Starling in the 3-cone, they actually represented well in those areas. It just says something when SC puts out 3 starting DB's who all started for three years and there will likely be a 3-4 round selection and a pair of late round selections.
Do you think the coaches will address our problem with strength,conditioning and poor tackling or will we continue to hear excuses?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
One of the biggest talking points from Kiffin this off-season has been the need to return to a more physical style of football and he has specifically mentioned the need to tackle more in practice. To me, that is one of the key issues of this year, can Kiffin take those words and put them into play on the field with increased toughness from the team.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What incoming/redshirt freshmen do you predict will make the biggest impact in 2013 for the Trojans?
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
I'll put Su'a Cravens and Kenny Bigelow at the top of the list for incoming players and Jordan Simmons for the redshirts. I'm not exactly sure where Simmons will end up but there is a lot of buzz about him being the next big-time offensive lineman at SC.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Is Nelson Agholor the top contender to replace Robert Woods? Or does George Farmer finally step up this season and live up to the tremendous hype bestowed upon him when he arrived at USC
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
I think Agholor has a leg up right now. Nelson has bulked up this off-season and is looking real good in winter workouts. Farmer is taking part in track so we will see how that impacts his play once spring ball rolls around.
Ryan (Los Angeles)
Who you think USC should hire as their new basketball coach and who do you think actually will be hired? Here my list of the order of phone calls I would make for the job.1. Shaka Smart2. Buzz Williams3. Jamie Dixon4. Gregg Marshall5. Steve Kerr6. Tim Floyd7. Bob Cantu
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
I like the thought of Floyd a lot even though there is about zero chance of happening. The thing is, this will be the first big-time hire for Pat Haden so there's no real way of predicting his thought process. I can make a great case for Shaka Smart or Jamie Dixon but I have no idea how realistic that is. I also liked the thought of Cantu doing enough in his interim gig to earn the full-time job but I don't think he's done quite enough to make that happen.
With Max Browne a 2013 signee and David Sills pretty much a lock to sign in 2015, do you see USC signing a QB during this recruiting cycle? Would you rather have Chryst or Dawkins (or Carta-Samuels, who is already committed to Vandy)?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Yes, I do think the Trojans sign a QB. Kiffin always wants to have four QB's on the roster at any one time and right now there are only three. Chryst is the first offer out there for USC and he's the most technically sound that I've seen.
Ed (San Diego)
Hi Garry! Is Christian Hayward still on the team? I'm hearing rumors that he dropped out of class.
Garry Paskwietz (6:03 PM)
Not certain on his status. There was a rumor that he is on semester abroad. He has not been at the winter workouts. We will confirm before spring ball starts.
mike (Huston tx)
Hi Garry, any word if Dion Bailey switches to safety or does he stay at LB?
Garry Paskwietz (6:07 PM)
There is still talk that he will switch to safety, but he will miss spring drills to rehab his shoulder. It would have been ideal to get him back to the secondary as soon as possible, especially considering the Trojans might be starting four new players back there.
Kalven (Bay Area)
What's your mock draft for the 5 USC grads?
Garry Paskwietz (6:08 PM)
Barkley -- 1st round and I think he goes top 15. Woods -- 2nd round. Holmes and McDonald -- 3rd to 4th. Robey -- 5th. Starling and Horton -- 7th.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do Robert Woods' comments reiterate what many have said about Kiffin trying to force the ball to Lee?
Garry Paskwietz (6:10 PM)
Sure. Even Barkley made comments that support the same thought. Guys like Barkley and Woods are two of the most solid teammates you will find. Their comments weren't made in derogatory ways, but the fact that they both said it should speak volumes.
chris (Calgary, AB)
USC's junior day was last weekend. Overall, how did the recruits like it?
Garry Paskwietz (6:12 PM)
Sounds like it was a big hit. Blair posted tons of interviews with the recruits afterwards and, for the most part, it was a positive event. The junior day is the first real meet-and-greet of the year for the Class of 2014, and things started off well.
Hi Garry. Given our experience with early commits this past year, is it OK that I am not overjoyed about any early commitment announcements for the 2014 class?
Garry Paskwietz (6:13 PM)
Yes, I think it's safe for any USC fan to be a little gun-shy about early commits. That's OK, it's a long process and a lot can happen along the way. Take it for what it's worth. It's better to have a guy like Smallwood being committed right now to the Trojans than to somewhere else.
Garry Paskwietz (6:14 PM)
Thanks for coming, everyone. We will see you next week.