Welcome. Let's get started.
What College Football Bowl Game are you looking forward seeing this season?
I think the Cotton Bowl jumps out to me. Two pretty good teams, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, who used to have a local rivalry and the stadium is going to be packed so it should be a great atmosphere.
Hi Gary, Do you think Max Wittek will be a better QB than Barkley over time or will Max Browne overtake him? Also, who do you see in defensive coaching position changes?
I think Max Wittek has a chance to be real good, I'm not ready to say he will be better than Barkley but he's got every chance to reach that level. I don't rule out someone as talented as Max Browne though, or even Cody Kessler, because these are all legit guys. It should be a great competition to watch through spring and fall camp.
Do you think Silas Redd regrets leaving Penn State for USC. Penn State finished with a better record. Zach Zwinak had 1000 rushing yards to Redds 821.
So far Silas has been saying all the right things about how he is content with his decision and there is no looking back. I can appreciate him saying that but I'm guessing somewhere in the back of mind he has to have thoughts of what would have happened if he had stayed. When SC had a similar situation a few years back, there were some players who made the decision to leave, when I talked to those players after their careers were done they all said it was such a tough decision. The biggest thing they talked about was the decision having to be made so quickly, Silas didn't get to think it out much, he basically had to make the choice and leave. I'm sure it was a tough one.
Garry, which Pac 12 DC is USC lokking to hire in your opinion ?
I don't have any sense from Kiffin one way or the other so it would really just be a guess. you hear names like Clancy Pendergast (Cal) and Derek Mason (Stanford) but that is just speculation based on the fact that they have had success against spread, which is a qualification that Kiffin has put on the hire.
what have you been hearing about robert woods draft status? what is your gut feeling?
You don't hear any buzz about the possibility of Robert leaving. While I think there's still a chance he will go, my instinct says he stays.
with the decommitment of massington, and larue pretty much having one foot out the door. does USC have any other WR's targeted? also who do you think is more likely to commit? redfield or mcquay ?
Let's be clear, I wouldn't be pushing Larue out the door, there's a reason he's being pursued by some pretty good schools. He didn't put up great numbers this year but there's only so much a receiver can do without a quarterback to get him the ball. As far as the safeties, I would have said McQuay a week ago because I think SC has a real shot there but a lot of ground has been made up with Redfield and I'm not ruling him out at all. I think it's real key that the coaches got him to trip this weekend with committed guys like Su'a and Max Browne.
Who will be the next two commits for this years class?
Leon McQuay and Max Redfield or Tahaan Goodman. I also think there could be a defensive lineman in there.
Garry - so what's the deal with Markowitz? If/when he gets granted a 6th year, will he be jettisoned from the team? Also any insight as to why Massington decommited? Did SC cool on him, or was it because of the early enrollment request? What about LaRue? Heard he made Twitter waves by claiming to have a high interest should Oregon come knocking on his door. Any insight on McQuay? Is SC in serious contention for his services in the secondary, or is another school more of a lock for him? As for DC, out of these 4 candidates who is the most likely to land the gig? Chizik, Shannon, Barry, or Walker? Or do you see someone else as the "leading candidate" to land the DC job? Final question, what are the current ticket sales reports for the Sun Bowl? Any estimate on the over/under on number of SC fans traveling to El Paso to watch the Trojans take on a 6-7 ACC squad on NYE?
No, Markowitz would not be jettisoned from the team, he would be in a battle for the starting center spot with Cyrus Hobbi. It wasn't Massington's choice to de-commit, apparently there were some issues with him enrolling early and that put a crimp in his plans. This is a guy who was loyal to USC ever since giving his verbal, he didn't take any other trips and hadn't shown interest at all in other schools. Now he's left to scramble in order to enroll elsewhere for the spring semester. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to stop there in order to get to some questions from others.
You foresee anytime soon that the Trojans will return to the tradition of student body left/student body right - with an outstanding offensive line and running backs...or will see more air shows?
i think that all hinges on Lane Kiffin's statement last week that "Kennedy Polamalu is our offensive coordinator". If he does turn over playcalling to KP, I think we would see a return to a traditional USC-style power run game. We just don't know yet if Kiffin is ready to turn it over and, if he does, if it will go to KP.
Hi Garry,Kiffin has said many times that if he could do 4th and 2 against Texas again, he wouldn't change a thing. What do you think he would say about that goal line series against ND? Would he still run a QB sneak and the RB between the tackles instead of a bootleg or a toss sweep? Thanks for all you do.
I'm fairly certain he would stick with defending his calls. Like you say, he continues to defend 4th and 2, including the decision to have the Heisman Trophy winner on the sideline. I haven't talked to anyone else who wouldn't have at least had the Heisman winner as a decoy on the outside to draw attention away from the middle if a run was planned.
Hi Garry, I am concerned that M Kiffin's departure affected some of our defensive recruits to reconsider their commitment. I've read that Hawkins, Ramsey, and Vanderdoes are planning on taking trips to new schools (Oregon, ND). Since we can't hire a new coach until Kiffin leaves, how do you think this will plays out in their decision making process? What others do you see having a second thoughts?
I don't think that will have an impact at all. Monte wasn't heavily involved with recruiting so the players hadn't really had much contact with him. They also watched the team on the field this year so the change to a new scheme will not be looked at as a negative by them.
Two questions? What recruits are visiting this week? And why is there no talk about bringing in a OC to call play? I think this was a major problem last year that needs to be address
Davis, Cravens, Fitts, A'Shawn Robinson, Prevot, McQuay, Browne and Hawkins. As for the OC spot, we mentioned this earlier. Kiffin made a statement last week talking about how Kennedy Polamalu is his offensive coordinator. What remains to be seen is if Kiffin will turn over playcalling and, if he does, if it would indeed end up going to Polamalu. A lot of people are somewhat dismissing the possibility of Polamalu calling plays but it could happen and he would bring a traditional USC-style power run game to the offense.
Hi Garry. As you noted in your article, the silver lining to ANY bowl berth would be the added practice. Carrol used to really allow the younger guys let loose during this time. Any potential storyline for player development to watch as we go into next year?
One of the big one involves two guys who won't even suit up in the next couple weeks; the return of Devon Kennard and Tre Madden. Both of them could have a real impact. As for the younger guys, I want to see if any of the offensive linemen, particularly Banner or Simmons, are going to be ready to compete for time. Also, is someone like Kevon Seymour ready to lock down one of the corner spots. How about Jabari Ruffin, can he possibly step in at SLB if Bailey gets his wish to move back to safety?
Aloha Garry,Do you think part of the Trojan's defensive problems was not using Woods, Lee, Agholor and Farmer as D-back's. All of them were recruited as both way players, and doesn't Defense win games. Also with Bailey wanting to go back to safety, can any safety on the Trojans roster become a hybrid Linebacker.Mahalo for all your insightDanny
Aloha. I think the thought of not using those guys as two-way players is way down on the list of issues for what happened with the defense. I would have definitely used Marqise at corner when things were slim at that spot but I can also understand why they didn't. I think the key hybrid guy to watch is Cravens. Most people have him pegged as a safety but there has been plenty of talk among the coaches of him ending up at OLB. I wouldn't rule out either spot for him. Mahalo.
Do you know if M Redfield is intent on playing WR (or offense)? How does this and the latest decommitment of Massington impact his visit to USC in the next few days? Do you see our coaches selling him on this point or do they see him as a defender only?
The USC coaches are well aware of Max's abilities as a wide receiver but the talk to this point has been on defense. The Trojans have made up a lot of ground with Redfield over the last week and a half, now it is time to really make a push this weekend. Redfield will be surrounded by a lot of guys he has gotten to know in the recruiting process and it could be a real impactful visit to get him to eventually sign with the Trojans.
Any chance that we go after Demora Stringfellow? Chances we can get him? I really, really like him and think he is a perfect compliment to Mitchell.
I haven't really heard to much lately on Stringfellow but he was definitely a guy the USC coaches were continuing to go after hard even after he committed. Right now I think the bigger priority in terms of spots, if the Trojans are down to 1 or 2, would be defensive line. There are some good ones still in play.
Haden surely realizes "winning the right way" and protecting the good name of the University are not mutually exclusive. He CAN do both. So, given the recent McNair v. ncaa revelations, what will Haden do to ensure justice for the program and the school?
That is certainly a hot topic in Trojan land these days. I don't think anyone knows for sure what Haden will do but there is definitely a lot of scuttlebutt that USC would act on this one, if there is enough evidence coming out that the NCAA acted "maliciously" and with "ill will" toward McNair. Those are words that a Superior Court judge used about the NCAA's actions so I don't think this one is over by a long shot. You're also starting to see more and more of the national media pick up on the story and that's not a good thing for the NCAA.
Garry, Get out your crystal ball and predict who the new DC will be.
Really can't because it would just be a guess. I'll say Clancy Pendergast only to give a name but I honestly am picking that out of a group of guys that could make sense. We just don't have any clues yet of which way Kiffin is leaning, beyond someone who has success with the spread, Pac-12 style.
How is George Farmer progressing? Is he ready to contribute if R Woods goes to NFL for the next season -barring injuries?
George has a really opportunity here in the next couple weeks to leave the coaches with a good impression heading into the off-season. We haven't seen George really turn it on yet to know for sure that he would be ready for a bigger role but the talent is in there somewhere.
Do you know of any silent commits to SC? Are they offensive or defensive player(s)? Any dark horse(s) recruits you are hearing about committing or SC having a very good shot at getting?
No silent commits right now. The available spots are dwindling and there are still plenty of good players on the target list. The biggest (literally) darkhorse I would give is A'Shawn Robinson, the Texas commit. He's an elite defensive tackle who will visit USC this weekend and he would qualify as a huge get if Orgeron and the coaches could flip him.
Gary,How would you rate our O line development and improvement over the year. It seems that we did a decent job at run blocking but struggled in the passing game to give Barkley time.... What changes or do you think we will be ok going into next year...
I thought the line had some good moments but I expected the group to be at a higher level overall this year. I think the problems with settling things at left tackle were an issue, that should be fine moving forward if Max Tuerk is locked in but it took a while for that to happen. The right side will be fine with Graf and Martinez returning. Obviously getting the center spot worked out is going to be critical, I could see that as a battle between Cyrus Hobbi and Abe Markowitz, if he gets a 6th year.
Garry, We saw Matt Barkley throwing int's in spring ball and everyone said it would be fixed when the season rolled around. It didn't get fixed. With that said, do you think Matt turns out to be another Mark Sanchez? Another QB with talent that just can't quite make the right decisions and get it done.
I don't completely share your view on Sanchez. Yes, he is struggling big-time right now but a lot of that has to do with surroundings. He showed in his first two years what he is capable of in the right situation and, at the moment, the Jets aren't anywhere close to a good situation. I'm going to be very interested to see how Barkley fares at the next level. As you say, the interception issues has popped up at a few different times in his career and that could be a big problem. Even with those issues, he's still projected to be a first round pick, either the 1st or 2nd QB taken, and that's before the round of combine testing and training that is coming up.
Has anybody mentioned that on the one yardline ( or closer ) we should spread the field, put Lee in at the single back spot and let him sail over the top. My only concern is that with his long jumping ability that he would sail right out the back of the end zone. All kidding aside, why isn't our coaching staff finding more creative ways to use our talent? Your thoughts.
Ha, nice visual of Lee. As far as the creative play calling, I think the VAST majority of USC fans would agree that there could be more creative ways to use the talent at hand. It was one of the biggest surprises I had with Kiffin's play calling this year. At the end of 2011 it seemed like he was on top of his game with keeping defenses off-balance but that trait was gone in 2012 and replaced by a predictability that was frustrating to many fans. Not sure of the reasons for that.
Which units (or group of players) do you see as our stregth going into next season? Based on the performance of our LB corp, do you see a need for our coaches recruiting some more players for that postion?
If Robert Woods comes back you would have to say receivers as a strength. I'll also say defensive line should be much improved, especially if one or two of the newcomers can make an impact (along with the return of Kennard). I think you can make a case for adding another linebacker in this class but, then again, Cravens may end up there so that would solve that need.
With the most recent WR decommit I get a feeling that most USC fans like myself didn't really care to much that he Decommited.. With 2 stops open now does Lane K n Staff go after 2 guys on the Defense of side of the ball?
Yes, my guess is that the defensive side of the ball would get the attention right now, either at safety or defensive line.
Garry, there are several rumblings that Hawkins and Ramsey have not been communicated with and that Marvin Sanders, who is each kids position coach and lead recruiter, has essentially disappeared. This has caused both to question SC and their commitments. Can you please shed ANY light you can on this situation?
Hawkins has since talked to Sanders after that recent report came out. I don't know for sure if Sanders and Ramsey have talked yet. I think it's very important for the SC coaches to stay on top of the committed players and not take them for granted in any way because other schools are circling like sharks and would love to steal them away.
do you think Lane will give up play calling duties to the next offensive coordinator? and who do you think it will be?
I truly think it's 50/50 that he will turn over play calling. If he does, I think it goes to Kennedy Polamalu.
Hi Garry, thanks for the great work. We have been hearing the news of DC for the next season (including Coach O doesn't want to be part of it). What about the OC position?Besides, please share your thought about this statement:"USC should have a mobile quarterback after we have seen how Stanford (Pro-Style offense) played against its opponents this season. Thanks.
Kiffin is giving a lot of thought to giving up play calling in order to concentrate fully on the oversight duties of a head coach. There are a lot of reasons why this would make sense and I think it would be a good move to turn it over to Polamalu. USC is always going to attract a top flight-quarterback so I don't think it's a matter of targeting one specific trait, just go get the best guy that you think fits what you want to do.
Regarding the draft, what is the status of Robert Woods? It is clear that whomever performed the surgery wrecked his ankle. Is there any talk of a second surgery to correct the problem and that he would return for another year?
I haven't heard any talk about a second surgery but there is plenty of speculation that he could end up returning. Woods is still valued by the NFL but his numbers and profile weren't as high this year and it's unclear where his stock would be. If he came back next year and really showed the Robert Woods that USC fans know he could be, it would probably help him in the draft.
Garry, Whats going on with Jalen Ramsey? USC 24/7 reports he has questions that need to be answered. Any news and do you think we hold on to him. Thanks
A lot of the commits have questions about what happened with Eldridge Massington. He's a guy they had gotten to know in the recruiting process and there was already a bond as future SC teammates. Ramsey hadn't talked with Marvin Sanders, his potential position coach, in a while so there is a natural apprehension sometimes when that happens.
Garry, what has been your impression on Hazelton and Sanders as far coaching? Do you think they are a good fit or does CLK need to replace them as well?
I'm not going to completely judge them this year because the results show the overall defensive plan was bad. Hard to know how much was them in their first year. I can say that I don't think either of them was a step up from the coaches they replaced; Joe Barry and Sammy Knight. I thought both position groups took a step backwards from where they were the previous year.
IS there a practice schedule established for the bowl game yet?sorry if already asked & answered
We've only received it for this week and then for the week of the actual game. Trojans practiced today at the Coliseum and then will go on Friday on campus.
With all commits with official visits this weekend. Why no DC yet? Kid would surely like to know who will be leading the D. Plus is there going to be OC to get Kiffen's face from behind the plastic cheat sheet?
I think it would have been ideal to have the DC in place but it will go a long way to have Orgeron there as the face of the defensive staff and the assistant head coach. As mentioned earlier in the chat, I do think there's a chance there will be an offensive coordinator.
What are SC's chances with Tahaan Goodman and Priest Willis?
I think they are better with Tahaan than with Priest but don't rule out either guy. And I'll take a carne asada burrito please. Love Chano's.
That's all the time we have today. See you again next week.