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March 21, 5:00 PM ET
Chat with Garry Paskwietz

Garry Paskwietz
  (4:58 PM)

Hello everyone, we'll get started now

Kevin (Long Beach)

Hi Gary, I appreciate your efforts to keep USC fans informed, thank you. Since Tee Shepard has withdrawn from Notre Dame and was high on USC prior to his commitment, and cornerback is a position of need, do you see him becoming a Trojan?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:00 PM)

Yes, it's true that Shepard gave some real consideration to SC in December so that means there would likely be interest from the Trojans if he's available. At this point, however, we just don't know the reasons for why he left Notre Dame. One report indicated potential medical issues and, as we know from Armstead and Jarvis Jones, that could prove to be delicate to get him cleared if indeed that is the case.

joe (los angeles)

Hey gary how are things stacking up with johnny johnson and usc

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:01 PM)

It looks like the Trojans should definitely be on his short list. He's got offers from schools like SC, Stanford, Cal, Oklahoma and Notre Dame so he will have some good options but no word yet on him narrowing things down.

Chris (Lomita)

What do you think about moving Tre Madden to running back? I thought he would be a great linebacker?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:03 PM)

I think this move has a decent chance of sticking. There's no doubt he was looking good at linebacker but if you want to take a look at the switch, now is the time to do it. Madden offers some unique skills which could translate at running back, much like George Farmer, and Kiffin isn't afraid of thinking outside the box at possible options. If it doesn't work, Madden simply goes back to linebacker as the top reserve behind Dion Bailey.

Chris (Lomita)

Do you think Robert Woods will be okay for Fall camp?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:03 PM)

I think so. I've got no problem with shutting him down for the remainder of spring if that's what it takes to finally get the ankle right. This thing has been lingering for Robert since last April and proper rest should allow him to be good to go for the fall.

William (Montana)

How much does it affect a player like Woods who misses spring ball? Will it slow his development or does he come back in the fall as a starter at full speed?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:05 PM)

You don't worry about it with a guy like Woods. He's a guy who is so on top of the detail and preparation that goes into his work so you know he will stay mentally sharp even when he's off the field. As far as his physical skills, it will take him a very short time once he returns to get back up to speed in that department. I don't anticipate any issues.

Bill (Carson)

How has Antwaun Woods and Cody Temple been? Will either of them play?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:06 PM)

Both look ok, nothing great or nothing bad to this point in spring. They are both young and this spring will be a critical time. Antwaun has made an effort to get in better shape while Cody is moving to a new position so there is a lot of room for growth with both guys.

Bill (Carson)

Do you think USC can get Max Browne, Chris Hawkins,Su'a Cravens, Kylie Fitts, and Ty Isaac as early enrollees? What are USC chances with each? Thank you.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:09 PM)

That would be an amazing group. Right now I would put Browne, Hawkins and Cravens at one level (most likely to be at USC) while Fitts and Isaac are just below that (SC coaches need to do work to bring them in). Isaac will be on campus this weekend.

Chip (Los Angeles)

How are Victor Blackwell and Devon Flourney?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:10 PM)

Very solid so far this spring. We knew Blackwell was ready to go based on winter workouts but Flournoy has been a bit of a pleasant surprise. De'Von is really showing himself as a steady player, he'll need to continue that if he hopes to get playing time this fall. Blackwell is a playmaker.

Miguel (Los Angeles)

What do u make of the move of Tre Madden to RB? Is it a permanent move? I think he should stay at LB , he has been doing great in spring so far. I think the 3 RB can carry the load with Soma getting a few carries and Pinner

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:12 PM)

I don't think it's permanent right now but it could be if it is working. I personally like the move, especially now in spring. Tre was a terrific offensive weapon in high school and his coach thought he could be a spread option quarterback at the college level. He's got the size and the speed to be an effective back so take a look now in spring to see how it works. If it doesn't work, you can always move him back to defense.

jacky (CA)

unc seniors can transfer and they have a couple that would look great in USC uniforms. Chances Lane goes after any of them . Im thinking both DT = Ty Powell & Sylvester Williams both are great. We need depth any other players u got in mind?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:14 PM)

There hasn't been any indication so far that the Trojans are going after either player. We mentioned Powell last week in the chat, he would sure help fill some depth needs in the middle of the line. A big key to possibly going after those guys is roster spots, the Trojans are over the 75 man roster limit as it is.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Are the Trojans in the running for Nkemdiche, or is he Nick Saban's to lose?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:15 PM)

The Trojans made a run and at one point Robert talked about a visit but all the signs from the recruiting people I trust in the south point to Alabama.

Luis Gonzalez (Rialto)

I feel that the media and the fans are putting us on a pedestal. Granted all the talent that is coming back we should be considered a top 5 team. What worries me is our lack of depth in some key positions. With injuries piling up in spring ball aren't you concerned that this might be a sign for things to come in the fall? I'm optimistic about our chances of winning it all but I guess that I'm hoping for the best yet I am extremely causious for the worst. Depth really has me on edge.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:16 PM)

One thing to remember about the 2011 season is that the Trojans stayed incredibly healthy. For the team to make a run at a title in 2012 you would want to hope for similar results in the injury department, that's for sure. I'm not as worried about the depth because there are guys trying to prove themselves this spring, if we're still sitting here in the fall and they haven't proven themselves yet then it might be a different story.

Oscar (Bellflower)

Who is the top target at DT

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:18 PM)

Montravius Adams is an out of state name to watch. Of the in-state guys, Eddie Vanderdoes is getting a lot of attention, I also wouldn't rule out someone like Joe Mathis or Kylie Fitts eventually growing into an interior player.

Oscar (Irwindale CA)

Hey Gary!!The SEC raves about their top tier defense year in and year out do you think USC would of at least scored 14 on AU in the NCG??

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:20 PM)

yes, I do think USC would have been capable of putting up at least 14 points in the title game against Alabama.

grant (canada)

how many dbs would you like us to get?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:21 PM)

I'd like to see two corners and two safeties. Not sure if scholarship limitations will allow that to happen but those would be ideal numbers.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Moving Madden to running back will prove catastrophic, just like it did for Allen Bradford. Granted AB was a little on the short side, but both he and Madden are better at linebacker in my backseat coaching opinion. :) The team needs always come first though.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:22 PM)

I understand the logic behind your point. The only thing I would add is that Madden is a much more natural offensive player than Bradford was. I love Allen Bradford, don't get me wrong, but he was never a natural running back. I do think Madden has a chance to make it work.

Grant (Canada)

How many RBs will we take?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:24 PM)

I think the Trojans take two running backs in this class and it's a very good year to do that. Justin Davis holds an in-state offer while Terrell Newby has been at a pair of recent spring ball practices and is showing a lot of interest. Ty Isaac from Illinois will be at USC this weekend for the scrimmage.

Georgetirebiter (Bakersfield)

My biggest question this spring is can Tavai play against the run at the 1 spot on first and second downs? He seems so similar to a young Christian Tupau, who had a great motor, but sometimes could be pushed 10 yards downfield. Can he really anchor the middle at 270#?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:25 PM)

it's a valid question and I don't think we know the answer yet. Tavai is definitely still at the 270 range.

Andrew (Anaheim)

With walker getting a look at LT does that mean that Graf is not quite at the level that the coaches had hoped? Does it open a window for either Banner or Tuerk come fall?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:27 PM)

I don't think so. Kiffin was clear to say yesterday after practice that this was not a knock on how Kevin looked, they just wanted to take a look at both options. To be honest, I would take a look too. Graf at LT and Walker at RT is certainly a combo that could serve the Trojans well but, since it's the early stages of spring, why not at least take a look at switching them to see how it looks. If you don't like it better than the original line-up, flip it back.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

In the History of USC Football, Has USC Ever had a very Bad Season? If so what year?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

The Trojans finished in last place in the Pac-10 in 2000, the final year of Paul Hackett as head coach.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Joe Mathis join his cousin at USC? If so, does he enroll early as well?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:29 PM)

I haven't heard of any plans for JoJo to enroll early at his school of choice but I think the Trojans have a great chance to land him. He was at practice yesterday and got a warm greeting from Ed Orgeron.

Mark (Philly)

I've heard a lot about the outside backers in spring but not so much about the middle backer position. How have Lamar Dawson and Scott Starr looked?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:30 PM)

Dawson is what you would expect. Bigger, more comfortable and taking charge of the defense. He's not a loud guy, he's just very efficient on the field. Starr looks the part so far but he did get tossed around on a couple plays yesterday, once by Graf and once by Vainuku. It happens for every freshman, he'll be fine.

Warren (Los Angeles)

Gary, How has Morgan Breslin looked? Do you think he will be as successful getting to the QB at this level of competition?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

Morgan has been running with the 2nd unit at DE behind Horton. Nothing has jumped out at me so far but I'm anxious to see him in the scrimmage to see how he does in a game situation at the Coliseum.

Andre (North Carolina)

Do you think George farmer will ever get over these nagging injuries or wind up transferring like Kyle?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:33 PM)

I think we're a long way away from any transfer talk. These are small and nagging injuries, nothing big, although I'm sure George would like to get past them and stay on the field.

Oscar (Irwindale CA)

If the Trojans would of beat Texas in the 06" NCG would that win be vacated too??

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:34 PM)

yes, Reggie Bush was ruled ineligible for that entire season so all the wins were vacated.

Greg (LA)

Can someone buy Kiffin a cardinal and gold sweater vest to ward off the evil NCAA?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:36 PM)

I don't doubt that Kiffin would wear it if he thought it would work.

Lucas (Ohio)

Do you Belivie in the Madden Curse?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:36 PM)

no

grant (canada)

who you got in your bracket?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:37 PM)

Kentucky. Hard to see anybody beating them right now.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Are you surprised Lane Kiffin allowed Amir Carlisle to transfer to a school on the schedule every year? Schools usually place restrictions on those type of things. Is this the Donovan McNab disrespect, you can't hurt us card?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:40 PM)

No, from what I was told, this one was pretty absolute that he was allowed to leave with no restrictions so I don't think it was a case of "you can't hurt us". Kiffin knows full well how good Carlisle is and he didn't want to lose him. I also think a big part of Carlisle wanted to stay but his parents had an influence on this one.

Evan (LA)

Assuming the Madden experiment goes well and he gets some reps as a running back, do you see this being a permanent move or do you think he will eventually go back to LB or even take reps as both?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:41 PM)

Too soon to really know for sure but my guess is that, if it works, he could end up staying on offense while also playing special teams. Don't forget, Jabari Ruffin could step in as the No. 2 SLB in the fall if Madden is on offense.

Evan (LA)

If I have an perfect (mostly) idea for a playoff that still keeps the Big-10/Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl, who can I tell that will actually listen and make a difference? Or would you be interested if I put it up in the forum?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:42 PM)

Go ahead and put it in the forum. I'm all for any concept that keeps those two conference champions in the Rose Bowl. I thought it was the best set-up in all of college football and they never should have messed with it in the first place.

Evan (LA)

Thanks for everything by the way. From the weekly chat to the great updates as both stories and forum posts, we all appreciate it.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:43 PM)

you're welcome, lots of stuff to talk about these days with USC football.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:43 PM)

that's going to be it for today. We'll be back next week to talk about the first scrimmage of spring. See you then.