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

Garry Paskwietz
  (4:58 PM)

Welcome. Let's get started.

Tim Irvin (Down the street from SC)

Typically, parents sacrafice for the sake of their children...Do you think Coach MK will "retire" for the sake of his son, Coach LK, at the end of the season?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:00 PM)

I think it's a possibility. It's a delicate situation when you're talking about a father-son dynamic like that but it seems like things are heading in the direction of Monte not coming back, by one means or another.

Jon Gurden (ESPN)

So are you guys going to call me up or what?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:01 PM)

You would be great but USC prefers coaches who can spell their last name.

Kalven (Bay Area)

Tell me I'm wrong but we lose atleast 2-3 more commits before signning day? I'm looking at LaRule, Ramsey, and maybe Falah.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:02 PM)

I think it's something the coaches are going to have to pay a lot of attention to because other schools are coming hard. It's one of the reasons this game is so big, if SC can pull of a win it would be a heck of a thing to point to for the coaches. If SC loses, it goes into the off-season on the wrong end of the momentum swing.

Brian Kelley (South Bend)

Who would have thought our teams would be in reverse roles come Sat?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:02 PM)

Not the Trojan Family.

Kevin (Thousand Oaks, CA)

Lamar Dawson doesn't seem to have the killer instict that you look for in a middle linebacker. And the cover 2, where he's responsible for the middle-third on passing plays, causes him to rock backwards on every play. I'm not sure what his tackle total is, but I do know that if he's making the tackle the other team has just picked up significant yardage. What is your opinion on the cover two as it relates to the middle linebacker position and what do you think of Lamar Dawson? He doesn't look like a 55 to me.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:05 PM)

I do think it's been a tough year for Lamar. I don't think he's an ideal fit for the responsibilities of this defense and, while his tackle production is good, he's not the physical presence that a lot of fans would like to see at the spot. There was a lot of talk earlier in the season about having Hayes Pullard at middle linebacker and I can understand the merit of that. I want to make clear, I think Dawson can be a good player, it's just that he was put on a pedestal with the No. 55 and he could be playing out of position. I also think the linebacker group misses Joe Barry.

Warren (Los Angeles)

Garry,With all the turnovers and penalties why do you think there was such a lack of focus this year? Also, was it just me or did it seem like MB had tunnel vision for ML? I watched several games where he wasn't going through his progressions to find the open receiver. Thoughts?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:08 PM)

We could be here all day analyzing those questions. The loss of focus with items like turnovers and penalties is the most baffling to me, particularly with the group of leaders this team has. I would have thought coming into the season that the leaders would do a great job of preventing those lapses and it didn't happen. When those things started to go bad, the coaching wasn't able to stop it either. As far as Barkley having tunnel vision for Marqise, I think there is some element of truth to that. The loss of Kalil at LT this year was huge and I think the increased defensive pressure on Barkley all year has impacted the passing game in a big way. He just doesn't have the same time to throw as he did last season, which results in less time to stand in the pocket to go through progressions.

Jose L. (Pico Rivera Ca)

Hey GP. Garry its been a really dissapointing season for SC Do you think the way the season as turned out do the trojans hold on to there current recruits I'be read that current comitt Nico fallah from bellflower CA said that the Ducks were back in it after a recent trip. Do you think that he will and if he does what are other options for the trojans? Thanks for your time GP and have a blessful Thanksgiving

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:11 PM)

We mentioned it earlier in the chat, I do think other schools are coming hard after the SC commits and I don't think it's any guarantee that all will stick. I'm not saying there is anything pending but you just never know what can happen in recruiting. I actually think Falah ends up at SC in the end, even with all the Oregon talk. One important thing could be the recruiting weekend of Dec 7th when the early entries come on official visits, if SC can keep all those commits in the fold to enroll in the spring semester it would send a strong message.

Warren (Los Angeles)

Garry,Early on the mantra was "Prep not Hype". We seemed to lose that as the season progressed on both the player and coaching level. How do you think CLK will change to correct this for next year?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:12 PM)

I honestly don't know but it will be interesting to watch. Kiffin has tried to be more motivational with the players in meetings this week, something that is not his natural way of coaching but it's clear that he knows some new approaches might be needed. The off-season meeting with Kiffin, Haden and McKay should be very interesting.

Kevin (Thousand Oaks, CA)

What is our problem regarding blocking schemes when the furthest man out isn't accounted for? On Barkley's injury, Aundrey Walker had an obvious assignment, yet he looks inside, stands there, and blocks no one. And on both special team disasters, both blocked kicks were caused by the untouched furthest man out. In each case, the defense didn't run a stunt or somekind of trick play, the defenders where the most obvious players that needed to be blocked. Yet, they came in untouched and unaccounted for. How can this happen?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:15 PM)

The Walker one is a puzzle to the former offensive linemen I've talked to. To a man, they all say it was a missed assignment, there were two Bruins on the outside, Curtis McNeal picked up his man and Walker saw the other man early in the play but looked inside for some reason and never looked out again. It was painful to watch because Barr had such a clear path to Barkley. Not sure on the special teams blocks.

fightonSC (Orange County)

Have heard some criticism about Barkley, and justifiably so based on his disappointing play in several games this year. However, in my mind Barkley still goes down as one of the greatest Trojans ever mostly for the class and leadership he showed in shepherding us through one of the darkest periods of the program.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:17 PM)

Couldn't agree more. His place in USC history is secure and I think there can be a real fascinating debate to talk about what happened this year. It's clear that it wasn't the year Barkley hoped for but the reasons for that are varied and you will find people on both sides of the discussion. Regardless, he deserves every bit of the applause he will receive coming down the senior tunnel on Saturday.

Deejay (Walnut)

Have you seen anything in practice this week to lead you to believe Wittek is (1) going to lead SC to a win on Saturday and (2) going to be the starter going into next season? Also any new updates on recruiting? Any verbal commits waivering away from SC, and who are the coaches currently recruiting to fill Redfield's spot?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:19 PM)

I do think there's a chance Wittek could lead USC to a win. For one thing, this rivalry is filled with stories of players like this who rose up to take advantage of their opportunity. Secondly, Wittek has a big arm (he's regarded as a better downfield thrower than Barkley) and the Trojans still have Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. It's been fairly clear all year that Wittek has a leg up on the starting spot for next year and this game can only help his cause. The best bet to fill Redfield's spot is Leon McQuay.

Jerome McKnight (Annie house)

What are the chances that usc hires Jeff tedford and that defensive coordinator from Oregon state?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:21 PM)

The Tedford scenario is worth watching. He is going to be in demand, he had enough success as a head coach that it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him get another shot at a head job. If not, there are reasons why SC could make sense, the main one being that Tedford is one of the few coaches Kiffin would trust enough to turn over the play calling to. As for defensive coordinator, Ed Orgeron and Joe Barry are two names that will receive a lot of consideration.

Kevin (Thousand Oaks, CA)

I know you can't talk about injuries, but Silas Redd could barely walk when he went into the game. So without talking about Redd, is DJ Morgan going to factor into the gameplan this week?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:22 PM)

Morgan is available and ready but I wouldn't be surprised if McNeal is the horse for this game. He's shown great production in the last two weeks while carrying the ball a lot, go ahead and give it to him a bunch in his last home game and my guess is the results will be good.

Simon (Los Feliz)

What's the latest on Niko Falah? Do you see him sticking with his commitment? Who might be our back-up plan?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:23 PM)

Oregon seems to be in the mix for Falah, and it would probably be a mistake to completely rule out UCLA, but I still think he ends up at USC. For those who haven't seen him play this year, this guy is the real deal and he's just scratching the surface. The Trojans are going to do everything they can to hang on to this one.

fightonSC (Orange County)

The lack of tackling this season, particularly last week was appaling and embarassing. You can't tackle effectively in the game if you don't practice it. Why did we switch the practice routine particularly after we tried this a couple of years ago and it didn't work? Would rather risk a potential practice injury and have to plug in an inexperienced 4/5 star backup, then watch a healthy team that can't tackle and continues to lose games.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:25 PM)

There is enough tackling going to to where it should be a problem in a game. The problems on defense go beyond one or two issues, even the coaches say it's a case where everything has to be evaluated because the results have been so bad at times.

CLK (McKay Center)

How do I ask my dad to graciously step aside for a new DC? Also, don't you think it would be good for me to hire an OC so I can spend some time overseeing all of the other issues that need to be addressed (tackling, penalties, getting team prepared to play).

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:25 PM)

I would say the biggest issue right now is getting the team ready to play on Saturday, these players deserve as much.

Ricky (Los Angeles)

Well Garry, here we are...Kiffin has ruined Barkley (keeping him under center as oppose to keeping him in the Shot Gun) and now Young Max Wittek is all that stands between the Irish and a Championship...What can we expect from the Coach-QB tandem this week?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

Boy, isn't that the question of the week? USC fans everywhere are hoping Kiffin takes the wraps off and doesn't go too conservative like he did two years ago with Mitch Mustain under center. Wittek can chuck it and the Trojans best hopes lie in doing damage with Lee and Woods, the only way that happens is if Kiffin calls the game that way.

SCOTT (NJ)

do you have any list of visits this weekend. Also gut feeling if woods, robey, breslin come back next year?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

There is an updated list of the recruits on the WeAreSC message board compiled by Blair Angulo. There will be many of the committed guys - Mitchell, Fitts, Hawkins, etc - but the Maryland trio of Bigelow, Rodgers and Sills was forced to cancel this week. Su'a Cravens is scheduled to be there but there are also rumblings on the net today that he may not be. I think Robey leaves, don't know on Woods but it wouldn't surprise me if he leaves and I think Breslin stays.

fightonSC (Orange County)

The Kiffins remind me of the situation the Lakers were just in with Brown as coach. Have not faced one team with more talent than us, but one big reason for underperforming is because of the complicated schemes. We need offensive and defensive systems in place that maximize the special athletes we have.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

No argument here.

Mario M. (Norwalk,CA) [via mobile]

Hey garry with the loss to ucla is kiffin gone?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:32 PM)

No. In fact, Pat Haden did an interview on Sunday and said that Kiffin will definitely be back next year.

Ricky (Los Angeles)

How bad do you think CLK feel's for MB7? Matt's a good kid and he wouldn't throw his coach under the bus (can't say the same for Lane) but do you think the rumblings of his "stock dropping" got into his head?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:33 PM)

i don't think the issue of his stock dropping was something that impacted Matt Barkley at all in his senior year. There were certainly issues at play but Barkley isn't the type of person who would have let himself get distracted over something like that.

Pat (Los Angeles)

Garry... Please tell me that Max can run? He doesn't have to run like RG3 but at the very least it be nice to have some "Johnny Football" magic working for Troy.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:34 PM)

He is a more mobile than Barkley but I'm not going to call him Max Football. He is still primarily a pocket passer and that's where he will see most of his success.

Chris (Inglewood)

Matt's a great kid but his decision making has been terrible this year. I am not one of these guys who wants to jump all over MB but we as fans and alumni would like answers to this God awful season. My question is who's to blame: Matt's skill as QB or CLk and his play calling?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:35 PM)

This topic will get a lot of analysis once the season is over, that's for sure. I would put more of it on coaching than anything.

Simon (Los Feliz)

Whither George Farmer? Does he transfer as he has had no playing time?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:37 PM)

His dad has long said his son is at USC for the education first and foremost so that's why he wouldn't transfer. I think that's very noble but I don't think it would surprise too many people if George decided to take his chances elsewhere. I think there's a lot of good football in that guy.

Trayvon armstrong (Annie house)

If usc does defeat notre lame, is max witted the clear cut starter going into next season?also do you see any usc recruits transferring after this season?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:38 PM)

Yes. Wittek has the edge right now over Kessler and if he beats the No. 1 team in the nation in his first start I think that would be awfully hard for Cody to overcome that before the start of next season.

Mike (Culver City)

Stanford's success in defeating Oregon's spread attack exposed the fact that using undersize LB's is & and never was the answer. The OBVIOUS answer to the Oregon problem is quality O

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:40 PM)

A stout defensive line that can move is the biggest key. The way that Stanford defensive line took on blockers and moved laterally along the line of scrimmage was impressive.

Chris (Granada Hills)

Is it fair to say stubborness and inability to adjust has led to the Trojan collapse?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:40 PM)

Those are two things you hear a lot.

Henry (Las Vegas)

Given the antics of CLK: 1) Lying about voting USC #1 in the polls, 2) banning reporters, 3) switching jersys and 4) deflating balls it would appear CLK still has a lot of maturing to do. Does he have any sense of how embarrassing this is for himself and the University? What do you think Haden is thinking given this list of clown-like behavior? Are you finding it hard to defend him? Because I know I am.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:42 PM)

in talking with a lot of alumni and former players in the past few days, this is the single biggest element of wonder with the decision by Haden to back Kiffin. i've heard a lot of people talk about how Haden came into the job saying "we're going to win the right way" and it seems puzzling to a lot of people that don't perceive Lane fitting that model.

Simon (Los Feliz)

Can we give Charles Burks an actual position and let him learn it? (Preferably pass-rush specialist)

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:43 PM)

Burks is still only a redshirt freshman who missed all of last year with an injury. He's seeing time on special teams at the moment, let's see how he progresses heading into next year as most players don't really start to earn playing time until their 3rd year in the program.

Chris (Granada Hills)

What are the plans going forward? Should we expect to see same staff and system next year? Looking around the nation, there seems to be many RS/True Frosh starting at many programs at QB in spread systems and flourishing. What would be our excuse for not evolving?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:45 PM)

i'm guessing these are some of the hard topics that will be discussed by Haden, McKay and Kiffin when they meet in the off-season. Haden and McKay have a strong base of USC football and what needs to get done, I don't think it would be a surprise at all to see some staff changes, there are already rumblings from some pretty credible people that a change will be made with Monte Kiffin being gone.

Troy (San Luis Obispo, CA)

Gary,With a QB who has only thrown 9 passes, all in garbage time, how many times do you see Lane Kiffin calling for the notoriously unsuccessful bubble screen? And, how many times do you see ND, which anticipates this and will be playing within roughly 3 yards of the wideouts, stuffing it, leading to a 2nd and 10 run for one yard or no gain, leading to another bubble screen or a lateral-type pass to the flat for maybe 2-3 yards and a punt?Hate to be so pessimistic but that is the pattern of Lane Kiffin during his 3 years.So, conservative? Play to win, McKay-style? Or, is most likely we see vintage Kiffin: Do something well, go away from it and kill any momentum until it's desperation time?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:48 PM)

You aren't being pessimistic, there are plenty of USC fans who can recite the same offensive pattern right along with you. This game is a perfect opportunity for Kiffin to absolutely use everything in the playbook, throw it all out there. You've got a rookie QB making his first start in this situation so you've got nothing to lose. There are no stakes in this game other than the pride of the win so just go for it.

trevor (l.a.)

Have you noticed that Kiffin creates complicated schemes to confuse opponents, but all it does is confuse his own players? What ever happened to doing a few things well, vs. a bunch of thing mediocre?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:50 PM)

Yes. I think there is a lot of merit to the thought of setting an identity with things you do well, even if that list isn't very extensive. It's like the old days of Student Body, the Trojans would line up and say we're running this either left or right, stop it.

MJ (Davis, CA)

A happy Thanksgiving to you Garry. I wonder who would be your candidate to replace M Kiffin if he retires at the end of this season? Feel free to name a few if that makes it easier. Thanks.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:50 PM)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well. And to everyone reading this chat. The two names i've heard are Ed Orgeron and Joe Barry.

Chris (Granada Hills)

Sports has evolved in facets. The new high octane style of play that has been exhibited in CFB, CBB, NBA, and NFL has replaced the old systems. This is due to the athletes we possess these days. Why has SC insisted on being stuck in the past? The pro style offense in college is almost extinct. The Cover two that was created to stop west coast offenses doesnt work with spread.. Why Garry?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:52 PM)

I don't have any issues with the pro style offense, if executed properly. The current USC defensive schemes, however, are another matter. I don't see how you can look at the USC defensive performances against spread offense in recent weeks and think that this is the right way to go. Something needs to change and I'm guessing there will be a new system in place next season.

Greg (LA)

Not enough players because of the sanctions, overrated players or bad coaching - to what do you attribute this miserable year?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:52 PM)

coaching

Bob (Westlake)

Is there an emotion this week at practice from players and coaches ?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:54 PM)

The really interesting dynamic this week has been the fact of a new QB in Wittek. It's no knock on Barkley but just the newness of Wittek and the prospects of someone different in the spot has given things a certain energy this week. That and the fact that it's Notre Dame week.

trevor (l.a.)

Any chance Kiffin is fired if we lose to Notre Dame? Over his tenure, his teams have been consistently inconsistent. When losing one game can cost you a national title, I would much prefer a team that doesn't change so much from week to week.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:55 PM)

I don't get the sense Pat Haden was bluffing when he said Kiffin is coming back so I will say no, there is no chance Kiffin is fired if the Trojans lose.

MJ (Davis, CA)

Falah seems to be unsure of his commitment. In case if he goes elsewhere, which OL do we really have a shot to bring in as a replacement?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:56 PM)

There don't seem to be any other offensive linemen who are really in play at the moment, that could always change but right now I get the sense the focus is on keeping Falah.

Chris (Granada Hills)

ANYONE can come to USC and recruit. We are not far removed from glory days and many kids grew up wanting to go to USC. Why does Lane get all the credit.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:58 PM)

I think that's a great point. You look back at someone like Paul Hackett who was considered a pretty bad coach by SC standards and he brought in guys like Carson Palmer and Troy Polamalu. There was also a ton of handwringing when Carroll left because he was such a great recruiter but things have been maintained fairly well. USC is USC and that will always be the case in recruiting.

Greg (LA)

Barkley went from probable #3 in the draft after Luck and RG3 to what? Still a 1st rounder?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:59 PM)

So far, yes. most of the analysis i've been seeing lately still has him in the first round, even with the struggles this year. I don't anticipate that changing either, as long as there is no real damage to his shoulder.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:59 PM)

That's all the time we have for today. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I'll see you again next week.