Welcome. Let's get started.
Garry,Obviously this season was a huge problem but what bothers me is a lack of effort and discipline. If we are a 7-6 team and that is as good as we are then that is what we are. I see very little o-line development and it seems that when ever we get behind or have problems Kiffin's 1st reaction is to duck and play conservative. This should have been a good ole fashion whooping and instead we got our lunch handed to us...What are your thoughts and happy new year to you and your family..
I don't disagree with what you're saying. There was something missing in terms of a team playing to their potential, that was not a 7-6 football team in terms of the talent on the roster.
Why did Eddie Vanderdoes really decommit? Are we at risk of losing other commits at this time? How is the class holding-up?
Sebastian LaRue de-committed today. That's not much of a surprise in the recruiting world but it wasn't official until today. As far as Vanderdoes, it really does sound as if he was impressed enough with the presentations of other schools (UCLA, Washington and Notre Dame) that he wanted to take a step back and evaluate everything before making things final. It's one of the problems sometimes with an early commitment before a recruit has a chance to take official visits and really research his top choices. Vanderdoes has been pretty level headed through the process and he admits that the things that attracted him to USC in the first place are all still in place.
What's the deal with the dinner in El Paso mentioned on-air by the broadcast team during the game? If the Trojans snubbed the bowl people, then someone needs to be held accountable. If accounts are true, we're looking at the kind of boorish behavior that paints the program in a bad light, at home and across the country.
I honestly don't think the situation was as much of an affront as it was made out to be. Delays are a reality of bowl week, it happens all the time. I've been stuck waiting at Lawry's or Disneyland during Rose Bowl weeks because busses were delayed for various reasons. There are also bowl reps who are with teams the whole time so someone from the Sun Bowl certainly should have been in touch with the dinner people to let them know of the timing. USC got delayed because the flight was late coming out of LA and that put the entire schedule behind - the Trojans had arrived in El Paso the day of the dinner and had a practice scheduled that afternoon. In hindsight, with the reputation USC had of not wanting to be in the game, it might have made sense to cut practice short in order to make the dinner on time but I don't think it was as big of a deal as it was made out to be.
With regard to play calling i think i saw that CLK said there won't be big changes next year. In your opinion can SC be successful without big changes?
I think there need to be changes in the offense in terms of developing an identity and plan. The USC offense never seemed to be in a flow this year, it's not so much the individual play calls as the way the series of plays is called. That is entirely on Kiffin to set that tone and I don't think he did a very good job this year. A lot of people would like to see USC get back to a more physical identity within the offense as well, that has gone away under Kiffin and it goes against what USC football was built on.
Enough with this enept, ill prepared, joke of a head coach. Kessler should have been given an opportunity. Seems Kiffen has his favorites and is not able to evaluate and make changes. What is the value of recruiting great personnel if coach is unable to lead? There is no excuse for that embarassment. What is Haden thinking?
A lot of USC fans share your frustrations right now Steve and I'm not sure there are any easy answers. There are plenty of eyes on Haden to try and get a sense of what he is thinking but he has been pretty quiet on the subject in the last couple days.
Is there any truth to the rumors Coach O will be leaving? Recruit A'shawn Robinson leaked this on twitter.
I have not been able to confirm that. it could easily just be rival coaches telling a recruit that is order to get him to not consider USC. Trojan fans are certainly aware that Coach O is going to get interest from other programs but right now it appears as if he is solid with his new title of assistant head coach.
Happy New Year Garry,I seem to be one of the few that thinks Lane deserves a 4th year based on the mess he inherited (sanctions, lack of talent at o-line, d-line and linebacker) whats your take on this?Also do you see any improvement from our o-line for next year? It seems to me we only had 2 decent players on it this year Holmes and Martinez and one of them is leaving. Shouldn't this put our o-line coach on the hot seat and what do you think about his job performence as a coach?ThanksDaniel
I think the issues this year weren't all related to lack of depth or sanctions. This was simply not a good year as a head coach for Lane Kiffin and I think it's a real crossroads in his career of being a head coach. If Haden is going to keep him, which it certainly appears at this point, there is a lot of work that needs to be done if Kiffin wants to be at USC long term. The o-line is one place that will get a lot of attention, the Trojans have lost their way as a dominant force up front and that would be an important change to get things going next year.
Do you see any other commits flipping to another team? Thanks for what you do!
Jalen Ramsey came out today and said the new defensive coordinator will be an important hire in terms of his commitment. That's a key recruit right there to keep in the fold. There are also rumblings about Hatcher and Prevot. All of those are on defense so that's what makes the DC hire so critical.
Hi Gary!! Why is Pat Haden making everyone suffer another year of Lane Kiffin? Pat knows Kiffin is not up to the job. Is this all about the 2013 recruits? I'd rather have a coach that can teach and develop the skills of the kids.
Kiffin's ability to recruit is a big positive in Haden's mind. Pat has also said that he thinks Lane is a very good play caller and he likes how he graduates kids and has navigated through the sanctions. His public support of Kiffin has been solid, that's for sure.
Well, there is no two ways about it Garry: Max W. stinks and LK is an idiot. Given the way the game was unfolding with Max at the helm, what is LK's reasoning for not starting Kessler?
Kiffin was asked about that in the post-game press conference and he said the weather was a factor in not playing Cody. There are a lot of USC fans who think it would have made sense to at least give Kessler a shot in that situation.
How close are we to getting a DC? Any sense as to who the final 2 candidates are?
I think it will be within the next week. Kiffin said he wanted to wait until after the Sun Bowl and that is now done. Within the next few days, all the bowls will be over so any candidates who are on other staffs will be fair game. Kiffin also knows he needs to make the hire quick because recruits, especially defensive ones, want to know who it will be. The names we're hearing most often are Nick Aliotti, Mark Banker and Clancy Pendergast.
With the weather conditions and facing a defense that was overly concerned about our wide receivers, it seemed like the perfect situation to showcase our tightends. Underneath middle routes looked open all day. I could be wrong but I think our TE's only had one catch in the game. Is that right? If so, what is the reason for ignoring such a valuable asset?
Xavier Grimble had two catches for 19 yards. I thought the tight ends could have been used a lot more this year, you simply don't have a pair of guys this good very often. That's just one of the many issues that surfaced this year with an offense that didn't seem to maximize their talents.
Our NFL caliber WR's were visibly upset with Max and the brilliant play calling of our illustrious coach. Can we expect a true open QB competition this spring because the future looks real bleak with Max under center.
I don't think we know yet. I'm sure Kiffin was hoping that Max would play well in the Sun Bowl and basically lock down the job. That didn't happen but he never put in Kessler so there's no way to really know where Cody stands right now. Then there will also be the presence of Max Browne in the spring. I'm sure there will continue to be talk of a competition but it remains to be seen how it will play out.
Once again, our middle linebacker's were the target. Dawson, leading the team in standing over a ballcarrier 20 yards down field. And Pullard, while he has the heart of a lion, is just too small. Garry, what have you heard reagarding a much needed major upgrade to that position?
I think Michael Hutchings will eventually end up in the middle but his real contribution is a year or two away. For 2103, I think it's either Dawson or Pullard and I would go with Pullard. He reminds me a lot of a Mike Pollard and the Trojans were able to do some good things with Pollard being surrounded by the right guys. Hayes just brings such a good energy to the position and that's why I would go with him over Dawson.
I'd like to welcome you to the Hackett era part 2. And as bad as LK is I think Pat Haden is worse...Outside of water polo our sports teams are awful. What does Haden have to say for himself and his performance as an athletic director?
For everything that Haden would be able to point to about what has gone right in his tenure, I'm guessing he didn't anticipate things being at such a tense level with the football program right now. It was only six months ago that things were going so right in the Trojan football world but that time has passed, now the attention is squarely on Pat and A LOT of people want him to make a move. So far he has stayed in support of Kiffin. He hasn't made any statements since the Sun Bowl though, it will be interesting to hear his comments once he decides to make a statement.
Watching this last game was a big dissapointment. It looked as though the offense gave up at times and the receivers at times were acting like pre maddonas. What positive outlook do we have for next season?
There are positive signs for those who want to look for them. The top receiver in the country coming back, the starting tailback and fullback coming back, two excellent tight ends and four of five starters along the offensive line. On defense, a lot of talent returns in the front seven and the d-line in particular should continue to improve.
Why is it that USC is so stubborn and stuck in its ways when it comes to finding a QB who can run? Our QB's are nothing but statues when faced against top tier DE's. It stands to reason with a sub-par O-line we need 1) QB's who can run and 2) operate out of the shot gun and not the pro-style garbage (incidentally the pro-style offense is more than a bubble screen, please pass the message to CLK)
I think a lot of those ills are cured with a return to a more physical identity within the offense. If the Trojans can control the line of scrimmage, that will impact not only the running game but the ability of the quarterback to throw the football. Look at the difference between Barkley in 2011 when he had all the time in the world vs. 2012 when he was under a lot more pressure.
The pac-12 took it on the chin this bowl season. What are your thoughts as to the conference as a whole? In August, one could make the case that the Pac-12 was the 2nd best conference in the nation...Now, not so much.
I agree and I'm surprised by it. I really did think the conference was on the rise this year but the bowl results speak for themselves.
Honestly Garry, when you look at LK do you see a leader of young men? When YOU look at CLK do you get the sense that the team is willing to run through a brick wall for him? Because Nick Saban he is not (Hell, he ain't even Rick Neweasel) All I see is a guy who continues to bring shame and embarrassment to a once proud program.
i don't think this was a good year for Kiffin in terms of being a leader of men. There were disconnects between him and parts of the team this year and I think that contributed to things going sideways.
Happy New Year Garry! 99.999% Trojan Fans didn't have a Happy New Year Eve.I am just shocked Lane didn't ask Cody Kessler to take over in the 2nd half after the terrible performance from Max Wittek. Do you think the USC QB battle in 2013 will be between Cody Kessler and Max Browne only? Or, will we still see Max Wittek on it?By the way, will we see more pressure from Pat Haden on a) hiring an OC; and/or b) getting a new coach after the Sun Bowl?
I still think Wittek will be part of any quarterback competition, no doubt about that. The performance in the Sun Bowl isn't going to change that. But I do think it could open things up a little more so that Kessler and Browne would get more of a shot. If Wittek had done well, they might not have gotten as much of a shot. So far Haden is silent so we don't have a real sense of where his head is at.
Did you see the Oregon State bowl game? If so, did you see their second string QB Mannion? Chin strap buckled standing right next to the coach the entire game. Warmed up and ready to go. Did you see our second string QB? Ocassionally, you saw Kessler in the background. Helmet off, talking to other players, standing there stone cold. With the game that Max was having you would have thought Kiffin would have had Kessler on high alert. Is Kessler just not hungry to see the field? That Mannion kid went in for one play but was ready to go from the opening kick off to the final gun.
I wouldn't put that on Kessler. I'm guessing Cody would have been raring to go if his name had been called.
So now Jalen Ramsey is "considering other options". My take on that is good for him. Kiffin's calling card is recruiting so if he can't even do that, then what is the point of keeping this guy around? What is the plan for Christ sake? What is our identity on offense? Why can't we run a program like Alabama, Stanford, or dare i say it, like Norte Dame? How big does the ground swell from alumni have to be before Pat Haden does something?
You are right, Kiffin has used recruiting as a major part of his plan when he met with Haden in November and bringing in a solid class is going to be key for him. Your question about the identity on offense is, in my opinion, the biggest issue of the off-season. I have to imagine the defense will improve with a new defensive coordinator but if there are going to be no major changes on offense staff, then the change needs to come in identity and philosophy. The Trojans big problem this year under Kiffin was that they had no identity so there was nothing to fall back on when things got tough. These are some of the real issues Kiffin will need to confront this off-season.
Any word from the recruits about what they think about this season?
Most recruits are looking at it and saying "things will be different when I'm there. this is why they need me."
Hi Garry, is USC looking for other position coaches (LB, DB) besides defensive coordinator? It seems the LB and the DB coaches are not doing their jobs, imo.
We don't know that for sure. There have been rumblings that those two spots could be changes if the new DC wants to bring in his own guys but there is nothing confirmed. My guess is we won't really hear anything until a new DC is named.
hey gary, with the horrible showing at the sun bowl. do you think the D coordinator will be made a top priority. a few of our recruits have said on record that they needed to know who the D coordinator was before they are solid. also what are the chances sc lands lawson, thomas, or A'shawn robinson. thanks!!
I think the hiring of a new defensive coordinator is priority #1 right now and I doubt it will take long. I would call the chances good on any of those three - Robinson appears likely to stick with Texas but Lawson and Thomas still have visits and you never know what can happen if a recruit comes on a visit.
Why wa Kiffen hiding his face against GT? Was he embarressed to playing in the sun bowl?
Kiffin certainly has taken his share of criticism for his attire in that game
god what an awful season, please garry u got any good news?
The next couple weeks will likely bring some good news with recruiting. The visit weekend on the 17th in particular could be big. The hiring on a new defensive coordinator should also be something positive.
Happy new year Gary. I am wondering if have any news on Vanderdoes. He is a DT that I 've seen play first hand - I live in Northern Calif. - and think he is a major get for this class. I was under the impression that his commitment depended on Coach O staying at 'SC, but that seems to have changed a bit. Any insights? Furhtermore, how does his decision affects that of Hutchings who is close to EV and now may be considering a trip to ND as well?!!
I agree with your thoughts on Vanderdoes, I think he's a rare big athlete who plays with a great motor. He would seem to fit really well with Coach O's style. I think Eddie wanted to take a step back and make sure his early commit was the right one, his USC visit will be on the 17th and all the reasons he gave for committing to USC in the first place are still there. I still think he ends up a Trojan.
HNY, Garry! Did this team practice at all for the bowl game? Wittek looked like he never played a down of organized football. Why didn't the coaches coach him (either over the phone or sitting with him on the bench) between series? Did the staff really put Turek at guard and Walker at tackle? Why? Why on earth didn't Kessler get one series to try to spark something? Why is Heidari missing so many kicks? Why, why, why??? Thanks, GP.
Those are a lot of good "why?" questions. It was a puzzling performance, one that deserves a lot of questions. For a team looking to take a step forward and put 2012 behind them, all it did was remind everyone of how much things had gone bad this year. That's not a positive development for Kiffin in terms of moving this team forward.
with the UA all america game coming up. do you expect usc to get any commits during the game? leaon mcquay being one of the players sc is recruiting pretty hard after redfield decommited.
McQuay is the obvious candidate. It would not surprise me at all if he chooses SC but I wouldn't call that a done deal by any means. Leon has kept things pretty close to the vest during the recruiting process.
How solid is Hatcher's commitment?
He continues to maintain that he is committed but you always have to pay attention if a recruit is taking other visits, which Hatcher is. A lot will come down to his official visit to USC to really solidify things.
Tbat's all the time we have for today. We'll do this again next week.