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February 20, 5:00 PM ET
Chat with Garry Paskwietz

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:00 PM)

Welcome. Let's get started.

TGWayne (DA Hub CITY)

whats going on with the coaches

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:01 PM)

With the reported hiring of OL coach Mike Summers, there would be two spots left on the staff - one presumably at RB on offense and then either LB or DB on defense (Pendergast would take whatever spot doesn't get filled). Spring ball is scheduled to start soon so you have to imagine those spots will be filled before that point. Still no word on if Kiffin will be calling plays for the offense.

HLH (Menlo Park)

I'm still puzzled by the Polamalu departure. What is the real background behind this decision?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:03 PM)

There aren't a lot of answers being given so far. It's clear there were some differences between the two in terms of offensive style, we just don't know how much those differences manifested themselves here or if there was something more. Clearly it's a move that has surprised a lot of people because there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason to move KP off the staff.

steve (camarillo)

Do you have any thought on possible coaching hires? Why isn't there a complete coaching staff in place? Hopefully, LK doesn't think he has ths staff he needs to turn things around. Spring practice soon - would be nice to have coaches and polices in place. LK continues to resemble Paul Hacket.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:08 PM)

I agree that it's critical to have the coaches in place for spring and it would surprise me if it doesn't happen. As far as Kiffin having the staff he needs to turn things around, I think that is important in regards to the firing of Polamalu. If Kiffin and KP had differing philosophies, Kiffin may have wanted someone who was completely in line with his thinking. Kiffin has to know he needs to get this ship straightened out in a hurry and the assistants he chooses will have a big impact on that. I like what i've read on Summers for the o-line but I'll admit I didn't know much about him before last night when the news broke that he was headed to SC. I think the Pendergast hire could end up being pretty good, the football people I've talked to seem to all think he is a strong hire.

Shane (Utah)

What on earth is up with Pat Hill? Is he coming or staying in Atlanta? or going to Bama? Will Kiffin REALLY relinquish play calling duties? It seems like he wants complete control over the offense.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:12 PM)

There are differing reports on Hill, one says he turned SC down and another says he is still in play. I know there was legit interest from SC as of a few days ago but I'm not sure where it stands right now or if the hire of Summers will impact Hill one way or the other. I do think a big factor for Kiffin to give up play calling would be to have it go to a veteran coach, someone like a Jeff Tedford or Pat Hill, who Kiffin knows and is comfortable with. Tedford has already said he will take the next year off but Hill could still be an option.

Andy (Los Angeles, CA)

Saw Trenise Ferreira's fascinating breakdown of USC's recruiting semi-meltdown. Can you comment if you've seen it? If true maybe Kiffen isn't so bad after all. Two decommits that were really dropped by USC and a commitment that secretly committed to another school because he couldn't handle the pressure of having to step up so soon if he went to 'SC.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:13 PM)

I read it. With all due respect to Ms. Ferreira, I have a differing view on much of what she wrote.

TGWayne (DA Hub CITY)

which players to look out for this upcoming season..

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:15 PM)

On offense, I'll go with Tre Madden and Nelson Agholor. On defense, Kevon Seymour should be ready for a break-out role and I think Devon Kennard is really going to be a leader for this team. It will also be fascinating to watch the quarterback battle because that will impact so much. In terms of freshmen early impact, I'll go with Cravens and Bigelow.

Kalven (Bay Area)

Who is next years Eddie V, in terms of star power and need that we must get?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:16 PM)

The early name on my list would be Adoree Jackson from Serra. USC needs to add to the corner spot in this class and Jackson is an elite playmaker who has been an SC fan, he also attends a school that has sent multiple players to USC in recent years.

HLH (Menlo Park)

Is Buck Allen ever going to see any playing time?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:18 PM)

I don't think so, based on what we've seen so far. Silas Redd figures to be atop the running back pecking order, with D.J. Morgan and Tre Madden being next in line. Buck would seemingly be in line after those two but the incoming freshmen Davis and Isaac figure to get long looks as well. Buck may surprise, you never know, but so far it just hasn't been there for him.

steve (camarillo)

Where is the new,young, innovative coach? LK hires older, recycled OL coach from Kentucky (basketball power not fb). So LK has hired new DC and OL coach who have been key contributors in losing programs.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:20 PM)

I don't think the hires can be judged yet. Some may argue that Kiffin needs to be surrounded by veteran coaches who have been through the wars. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but the proof will be shown on the field. I know the hire of Pendergast wasn't a home run in terms of impact but when you talk to people who coach and scout the game, they think very highly of him and his ability to succeed with USC-level talent.

Greg (LA)

what coach would accept a USC position knowing that Kiffin is on a 1 year hot seat?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:22 PM)

It's hard to know how much that played into a few of the coaches who turned down the job but it was a telling sign that three Pac-12 coaches (Aliotti, Bloomgren and Cavanaugh) all turned down spots on the SC staff to remain at their respective schools.

Shane (Utah)

Where will Su'a fit into the defense? I know it's early, but does he show the kind of athleticism that will get him on the field his Freshman Year? Who could you compare him to?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:24 PM)

I think he will play at one of the safety spots and I do think he will play his freshman year. There was talk at some point of him possibly growing into a linebacker but I think that made more sense for a 4-3, his body type doesn't fit the OLB/DE role in the 3-4 or 5-2, as Pendergast likes to call it. I don't really have a good comparison for him because he's such a unique athlete but my guess is you will like what you see once he is on the field.

Warren (Los Angeles)

Can CLK get the ship righted? It seems a bit like the wheels are coming off the bus. All the coaching issues, control of team issues, image issues...I'm not so sure if CLK has what it takes. What do you think?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:26 PM)

The Trojan family is watching right now to see the answers to those questions and I don't think anyone, including Pat Haden, really knows how it will turn out. Haden is obviously putting his full support behind Kiffin but it's up to Lane now to get it done. it's not a matter of focusing a few years down the road either, this ship needs to get righted fairly quick or else the howls of protest are going to grow even louder.

HLH (Menlo Park)

How is Tre Madden's rehab coming along?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

I was told recently that it was coming along well but I'm looking forward to getting out to the throwing session tomorrow to get some feedback directly from Tre. I will post a report on the site after we talk with him.

Bart Simpson (Springfield)

What will Coach summer's role be aside from coaching the oline? Will he playcall or be running game coordinator?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

There hasn't been any announcement from USC so there isn't any confirmation on the roles yet.

Ryan (Los Angeles)

Who would you want to be the play caller:Lane, Martin, Helton, Summers or Hill?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:30 PM)

If those are the choices I would take Hill. I also think either Helton or Martin would do well.

Connor (Los Angeles)

Do you think Tre Madden should be moved to ILB considering our lack of depth at the position?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

No but I can understand the argument for making the move. I just think Tre showed some real unique skills in the brief time he was at running back last spring and he could be a real difference maker on offense. Of course, that is with the assumption that he would be used properly on offense. If he's not going to have a legit role then it would make sense to move him back to defense since there is a need there.

Kyle (Iowa)

Hey Garry, how do you think the Miami case influences USC?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:34 PM)

i think the Miami administration is acting in a way that many Trojans wish the USC administration would have acted at various points along the way. The latest news from Miami would certainly seem to give USC yet another opportunity to step forward and protest elements of the NCAA case, and this time the public support would overwhelmingly be on the side of the Trojans. So far there doesn't seem to be any indication that the university is looking to do that.

Bart Simpson (Springfield)

Any news on how the linebacker coaching search is going? Any candidates?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:35 PM)

It's not even clear that the search is limited to linebacker, there is also a chance a DB coach could be hired with Pendergast taking linebackers.

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

Garry, why is this staff so intent on offering out-of-state kids so early and leaving all the local talent hanging in the wind for so long?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:38 PM)

It's a strategy that USC staff's have long implemented. The feeling is that for out-of-state kids there almost needs to be an offer out there right away just to be in the ballgame. With local kids, those have grown up around USC, those kids are more inclined to be patient while evaluations are made. Of course, with the recruiting calendar being pushed up more and more, some kids feel slighted if an offer hasn't come in by the spring of their junior year.

JD (DC)

Garry- if there are only two coaching spots left, Cregg is staying to do TEs, and we have NO RB or LB coaches, doesnt this really close the chapter on a "new OC" ? It will have to be Kiffin or Helton, wont it ?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:39 PM)

Not necessarily since it's just not known how that last offensive spot could be filled. It could be a new QB/OC coach with Helton moving to RB's.

Carlos (Los Angeles,CA)

Garry, We heard the story about M Thomas wanting to come to USC but his mom said no. Have you every a situation where the recruit signed is LOI and then changed his mind and went to the actual school he wanted to go? Thanks

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:41 PM)

i can't think of one off the top of my head but I'm sure that has happened. It's a tough situation for some kids if their heart is set on playing in one place but the parents don't see it that way.

Kevin (Altadena)

Do you think there is tooo much info being discussed in SC's various media circles about our problems? It is difficult to find this much info on our competitors. It makes SC look bad to recruits.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:43 PM)

I think that has much to do with the culmination of issues that have surrounded Lane Kiffin, not only recently but throughout his career. I also think it did play into it this year in recruiting, the SC coaches said they faced more negative recruiting this year than any year they can remember.

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

Ok, so you have a differing opinion than Ms. Ferreira, so what is your view then?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:46 PM)

I don't think Eddie Vanderdoes was scared off by the competition on the d-line at USC, I don't think the depth chart had anything to do with his decision to head elsewhere. I would also put the departure of Marvin Sanders as a big reason why Jalen Ramsey is at FSU, not the fact that he didn't want to take on the responsibility of being a leader of the secondary. Those are two examples. Everyone has different sources in recruiting so there are bound to be varying versions of what happens in the process.

Bob (Westlake)

Compare Su'a to Shaq Thompson comming out of High School

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:48 PM)

It's a solid comparison. Both are natural athletes who can contribute in many ways. Shaq is a little bigger and more physical, Su'a is more of an attacking type of guy, very swift and athletic.

Bart Simpson (Springfield)

Is is the rumor true Coach O will leave the program before the season starts?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:49 PM)

Coach O has been emphatic lately about denying the rumor but I don't know that the speculation will end anytime soon.

Evan (SF)

Garry - if it was your call, who are you hiring as OC?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:53 PM)

i actually like the names that have been circulating. My first priority would be on someone who is going to emphasize power running football. i would have been very intrigued to see Polamalu get a shot but that won't be happening now. Tedford would have been interesting, especially because he is known for his quarterbacks but he also produced some pretty good running backs at Cal. Mike Bloomgren from Stanford obviously has been a part of some good running teams in recent years. The thought of Pat Hill is interesting too, not sure how much background he had with calling plays but it seems like his intensity would work well.

Brian (818)

Hey GP, I remembered asking you why USC didn't look at Tyler Foreman hard enough and you answered by saying that the DB position was deep this year which was true.. with that being said do you think in the near future CLK will look at talented players in USC backyard a little harder and not gamble on the out of state player like Ramsey?? Cause I think out of state players especially top out of state players are a gamble

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:55 PM)

You bring up a great question for debate. I think a lot of Trojans would like to approach things that way, to focus on local guys such as Foreman, Duarte, Harlow, etc rather than watch them head elsewhere while USC was pursuing out of state guys. But Kiffin and the coaches will point to the impact made by some of the out of state guys through the years and it's tough to argue.

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

There is a rumor that DeVante Wilson is off the team. Can you confirm?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:56 PM)

Yes, that news came out a few weeks ago. The last I heard he was headed to Cerritos College with the goal of playing for one year and then transferring to another four-year school. It's a shame, I thought DeVante was making some nice progress last fall before suffering his 2nd knee injury.

Otto (CA)

How does Wisconsin send so many guys to the NFL that are 3 star recruits? Why doesn't USC ever develop players?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:58 PM)

It's an inexact science. I think one of the best things Wisconsin had going for it in recent years was that they had a system in place and they recruited players who could be developed in that system. At USC in recent years, the lack of an identity or system is one of the biggest criticisms of Lane Kiffin's program.

Greg (LA)

The weirdest coaching loss in terms of timing had to be Sanders in the middle of the recruiting period. Any idea why he was let go then and not after national signing day?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:59 PM)

No, I haven't heard any details on the timing, other than he had been rumored to have been fired for a while before it actually happened.

Warren (LA)

Garry,Do you think it will be enought just to win games this year or will CLK have to change the way he does some things to fix his image as well?

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:01 PM)

Great question. I do think there needs to be a mix of both, and the ability to change some things could help if the number of wins don't add up. But I also don't think a certain number of wins will automatically secure his job. There's a lot on the line this year for Lane Kiffin and USC football.

Jon (Fairfield, CA)

Do you think that Cody Kessler will actually get the starting spot if he out-plays Wittek/Browne?

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:01 PM)

I'm going to believe that until proven otherwise. I think Kessler is more than capable of being the starting quarterback for the Trojans.

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:02 PM)

That's all the time we have for today. See you next week.