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March 6, 5:00 PM ET
Chat with Garry Paskwietz

Garry Paskwietz
  (4:59 PM)

Welcome. Let's get started.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the Running Backs for USC in 2013?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:01 PM)

Silas Redd will be the starter and there are several options behind him. D.J. Morgan is the speed back, Tre Madden returns as a power back and Buck Allen can bring a little of both. There are two freshmen in Justin Davis and Ty Isaac who will be added to the mix as well. At fullback, Soma Vainuku returns as the starter with Jahleel Pinner as the reserve.

RobRae (Pelican Bay (Maximum Security))

Hi Garry, For those of us who haven't seen Cody Kessler play can you describe his game a bit? Does he remind you of any past SC QB's? Thanks.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:02 PM)

He reminds me a lot of Matt Cassel. Cody is a very good all-around athlete, as was Cassel. Cody is more of a playmaker than a pure drop-back quarterback because he can make things happen when a play breaks down. That was one specific thing that Lane Kiffin mentioned after practice yesterday.

Jimmy (Los Angeles)

Hi Garry. What do you think about the interview between Tim Floyd and Pat Haden? It is good if Tim Floyd can come back, but I also respect the loyalty from Bob Cantu. Besides, you can tell Bob Cantu can coach the basketball team too (Cantu can coach even better than Lane Kiffin in football). I would say if Cantu can win the Pac-12 title and bring the team to the tournament. Pat Haden should give Cantu the head coaching job. What do you think?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:04 PM)

I understand both sides of your argument. First of all, I think Tim Floyd would be a real good move if SC could bring him back. But I also have a great deal of respect for what Cantu has done in his time as head coach, as well as an appreciation for how he has been part of four coaching regimes at SC. If Cantu can keep up this good play and somehow do some damage in the Pac-12 tourney, I think he would give Haden something to really think about.

Daniel (Cypress)

I think its a given Luatua is a huge priority at position where we need two signees. Let play devils advocate (god I hope this doesn't happen) Luatua commits to Bama or some other school, what two other TE would we go after and which tight ends are interested in us.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:06 PM)

Dalton Schultz from Utah is a terrific tight end and he could be an option. Locally there are good ones in Bryce Dixon at St Bonaventure and Darrell Cloy at St Paul.

Kalven (USC)

I think ND and UCLA are must win games in term of recruiting, agree?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:07 PM)

I think they are important for recruiting but more important because they are the two main rivals and the Trojans lost to both last year.

Aaron (Santa Monica)

Hi Garry, if Pat Haden can contact Tim Floyd for the basketball coach position. (trust me, I was jaw-dropping when I read the news). How likely Pat Haden may aim "higher" on some "inactive" NBA coach? (ex. Phil Jackson)

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:09 PM)

I don't get any indication of that. There are some pretty unique circumstances with USC and Floyd, including a lot of people within the USC community who don't think he did anything wrong with the NCAA case. There haven't been too many coaches in the history of USC basketball who have been able to make it work but Floyd showed the ability to be one of them so I think it's a real good move by Haden to at least take a look at possibly making it happen.

Jason (San Diego)

Hey Garry! I keep seeing different listings for Cravens' height. Some say 6'3 (I didn't think he was that tall?), some say 6'1 205. After seeing him in person, how tall would you say he was and how much do you think he weighs? Thank you.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:10 PM)

I would definitely lean toward 6-1 or a little more. I would have no problem saying 205 as well, it really stood out yesterday when you see him on the field, he's not a huge guy, he's just got a thick and solid build for his frame.

MJ (Davis, CA)

Hi Gary, with the recent departure of Heyward, and Wilson, does this mean that for next year we have more than 20 scholarships to hand out? If yes, then do you know exactly how many? Thanks.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:11 PM)

No, it would still be limited to 20. It is the 15 scholarships per year and then 5 extra that weren't given out as part of the class of 2013.

Daniel (Cypress)

Are we going to offer Lockett? We need CBs, at least two. Any CBs we should keep an eye on? (Beside Adoree, I think every Trojan fan has an eye on him)

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:13 PM)

He will certainly get a lot of consideration, I think he's a good one. The Trojans recently offered Miciah Quick from Fresno and that offer is as an athlete, either receiver or corner.

J (Los Angeles)

Hypothetically, yesterday was the tryout for the QB Group. In your opinion, who, based off of yesterday's performance, would win the starting QB job if it had to have been decided today?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:14 PM)

Cody Kessler had the best day yesterday. Kiffin said after practice that Cody was on his way to being named MVP of the day until a late interception by Jabari Ruffin. It was a great play by Ruffin, not a bad throw by Kessler.

steve (camarillo)

Sure disappointing losing 4 players - could of had Fitts and Masselin - Why is Kiffin so unwilling to give up the play calling? If was able to evaluate fairly - its obvious he failed last season. What is your feeling about not tackling in practice? Last season the team tackled poorly and ran out gas in the second half due to poor conditioning. The excuse we always hear is - the sanctions. We need to practice tackling to improve a weakness and let the chips fall where they may.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:16 PM)

Kiffin is unwilling to give up play calling because it is one of the main things that has brought him to this point in his coaching career. His reputation was made on play calling and you get the feeling he genuinely thinks it would be the best thing for the team if he calls them. As far as tackling, Kiffin has been pretty clear about the thought that the Trojans will tackle more in practice this year.

Warren (LA)

Garry, With the annoncement of the players that are not on the roster anymore, where does that put the scholarship count?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:17 PM)

I haven't had a chance to do the scholarship math since the roster adjustments were announced yesterday. I'll get to it this afternoon and post on the message boards.

MJ (Davis, CA)

How is Scott Starr's (neck) injury healing? Do you know if he is coming back this year or not?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:17 PM)

It was announced that he will not take part in spring ball. All signs are that he will be able to return in the fall.

jerry childress (jordan down bricks)

Who do u think will have the most impact on their particular position group and why?also do you think usc can land the ware kid and cobb kid from salesion,aswell as adoree and juju all in the same class,wouldn't tht put sc back in firm control of the southland as far as recruiting goes?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:20 PM)

I think Max Tuerk at center could be a huge impact. It would help solidify the offensive line at a key position with arguably the most talented player on the line. It would also allow the Trojans to have returning starters at all the positions, since Marcus Martin would be at left guard and John Martinez at right guard, along with Graf and Walker at the tackle spots. As far as recruiting, I do think it's possible for the Trojans to land those players you mention, all of them have legit interest in USC at this time.

Daniel (Cypress)

We have Smallwood, any other DT/DE have interest in USC? How serious Gerald Willis' interest in SC? Thanks for your time!

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:22 PM)

Qualen Cunningham from Arizona has an SC offer as a defensive end, all of the other DL offers are from out of state and primarily the southeast. It's hard to tell with Willis right now because it's so early in the process but there is definite interest.

Phil (Denver)

Too many questions..Real excited for the year.. Offensive Line and Secondary are really huge question marks this year and I wanted to get your thoughts...Fight On Gary..

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:25 PM)

We talked in one of the earlier questions about how the addition of Tuerk at center could have a real solidifying effect on the offensive line. The presence of Jordan Simmons could also shake things up down there and only make things better. I also hear great things so far about Summers and his impact on the players. As for the secondary, the good news is that there is a lot of talent back there, it's just a matter of guys finding roles. This is the spot where I think Pendergast will have the most impact since he will be overseeing the unit. I liked what I saw from Josh Shaw yesterday.

J (Los Angeles)

What was clancy like at practice? how did the D adjust to the 5-2?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:26 PM)

He was very observant, he said he did a lot of listening. He definitely took it as a day to sit back and see how the players were handling his defense and getting adjusted to it. I liked the energy the defense had yesterday so I took that as a very good sign, the players all talk very positive about the changes in the scheme and how it lets them play. We'll see how that goes through the spring. It also had to be a positive to see Ruffin make the play of the day with an interception after dropping back from the stand-up end spot.

chris (Calgary, AB)

So based on first impressions the new coaching staff has to be getting USC fans like myself excited. It appears the return to USC/Power Football is underway. Whats your first impression of the new Staff and Early Enrollees?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

Summers was the new coach who jumped out to me the most. Very upbeat and vocal, he gave a chest bump to one offensive lineman after a good play. I thought the early enrollees were very impressive. You expected it from Browne, Cravens and Bigelow but I thought the guy who looked as good as any of the EE's was Justin Davis. He looked real smooth in his running style.

steve (camarillo)

Why no DB coach? Aren't we able to hre a good candidate? Seems Clancy will have enouh on his plate overseeing the entire defense . How can he coach DB's too?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:30 PM)

It is interesting with staff imbalance, there are 6 assistants involved with offense and 3 with the defense but that's a decision the head coach made. Obviously he feels comfortable with Pendergast being able to handle the load and the reality is that Pendergast is a veteran coach who has done this before so he should be able to handle it fine. One thing they will do is look to fill the GA spot with a good DB coach to assist.

Greg (LA)

Which player has shown the most improvement since last season yesterday at practice?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

I would put Jordan Simmons at the top of the list. Others would include Cody Kessler, Chad Wheeler, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and Anthony Sarao.

Warren (LA)

Garry, What kind of feedback are you hearing from the players about the new coaches? Have not heard much said about the runningbacks and linebackers coaches.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:32 PM)

Those two coaches have barely been at USC a week so I think that's why there hasn't been much said. So far the feedback seems real positive for Pendergast and Summers, we'll see how it goes with Robinson and Ekeler.

kenny bigelow (usc)

panda express, wahoo's fish taco, cpk, or carl's jr? what should i eat today?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:33 PM)

Wahoo's is always good Kenny. Need to keep you bulked up for nose tackle.

MJ (Davis, CA)

In your opinion, which unit is going to be the strength of the football team this year?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:34 PM)

I think the running backs and tight ends on offense appear to be in good shape. The starting front seven on defense should be real strong but it's a matter of finding depth.

Chris (LA)

What's impression Gerald Bowman? He received a lot of hype during last year recruiting cycle, however, nothing do the season.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:35 PM)

Bowman will miss spring ball due to injury. This could have been a critical spring for him with competition at the safety spots from guys like Shaw, Wright and Cravens.

J (Los Angeles)

what is 2013's biggest trap game?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:36 PM)

I would say the Arizona game. It's a home game, sandwiched between road games in Tempe and South Bend.

Barry (Seattle)

How are Ryan Henderson, Seymour, and Shelton looking? Please, no more Anthony Brown and Torin Harris

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:37 PM)

Seymour and Brown were the starters yesterday. I didn't see Henderson or Shelton do much but it's obviously still early. I liked what I saw from Chris Hawkins in his limited action.

Warren (LA)

Garry, Can you comment on how the ee's have looked. Thanks

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:40 PM)

It was a good opening day. Browne handled himself well and got praise from Kiffin for his command of the huddle, which is always important. I was very impressed with Justin Davis, he was probably the most pleasant surprise of the group. Darreus Rogers didn't do much but he looks the part, that's for sure. Bigelow at nose tackle sure looks like a good move, he could have a huge impact there. Cravens and Hawkins were solid in the secondary, McQuay looked like he was new to corner, which he is.

Jon (CA)

which DB prospects do USC have a shot at in this class?? & how many will they take ??

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:41 PM)

Some of the top names would be Adoree Jackson, JuJu Smith and Miciah Quick. I think SC takes 4 DB's in this class.

MJ (Davis, CA)

what are the positions that Kiffin and staff must recruit the hardest? Name three - or more if you wish - must get players for the 2014 class.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:43 PM)

Both sides of the line will be priorities and SC already has 3 verbals on the d-line and 1 verbal on the d-line. Adoree Jackson, Tyler Luatua, Miciah Quick and JuJu Smith are four must get players. You could also add Keller Chryst since SC needs to add a QB in this class.

Curtis (Fountain Valley)

I have not read anything about Walker being challenge for the LT spot. I hope this is not the case because he does not play hard on every play. The Barr sack on Barkley is a perfect example.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:45 PM)

Chad Wheeler got his fair share of reps yesterday with the first unit. I don't know that he's in a place to be challenging Walker but I don't think the coaches would hesitate to look at options if things aren't working, there is enough depth and versatility on the line to look at moves if needed.

J (Los Angeles)

to CBB: how do you rate the chances that USC bball wins the conference tournament?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:46 PM)

Probably not good odds but I don't think you can rule it out, the Trojans have beaten both UCLA and Arizona under Cantu and they are playing good basketball these days.

steve (camarillo)

If LK play calling is the reason he is where he is as head coach - we need someone else either as HC or calling plays. He was a failure at both last year - his self evaluation is a joke if he feels different. Why not change? Don't think we would be worse than 7-6 record.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:47 PM)

There are a lot of people who share your thought but this is Kiffin's decision. He knows what is riding on this season and how important it is to his future as a coach so he will go with the decisions that he feels give the team the best chance of success.

chris (Calgary, AB)

Sounds like a number of players are playing at different positions early in camp. Is it an open competition/evaluation of which players fit which positions the best? And which player playing in a new position surprised you most, Turek at center?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:49 PM)

You are correct, there were some indications of position switches and competitions that could be a good sign. The move of Tuerk was definitely a surprise but I think it could work really well. It was also interesting to see Bigelow at nose tackle. I was surprised at how much rotation there was at ILB between Sarao and Dawson, at LT between Walker and Wheeler and at right guard between Martinez and Simmons.

Smudge (Irvine)

How did WRs look yesterday -- any standouts? Is this the year Farmer finally breaks through?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:50 PM)

I thought both Farmer and Blackwell did some good things. Blackwell took one pass to the house after a short hitch pattern. The signs are all there for Farmer, it's just a matter of consistently staying on the field and getting it done.

MJ (Davis, CA)

With C Thomas retiring due to injuries, and Pomee's mess, do you see anybody switiching to TE and if yes, who?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:51 PM)

I don't see any natural candidates. If the Trojans can stay healthy at TE they will be fine with three good ones, they just need to stay healthy.

Wiley (LA)

I fixed my grades! can I come back to play CB?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:52 PM)

one year too late

chris (Calgary, AB)

I know its too early but what did you take away after watching the first spring practice? What jumped out at you the most or surprised you the most?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:53 PM)

The thing that jumped out to me the most was the defense. It was encouraging to see how it looked, primarily because it is so important for USC to see improvement on that side of the ball. The biggest surprise was the move of Tuerk.

Chris (LA )

Although, I will be disappointed in Kiffin calling plays next season, regardless of who call plays, I want the TE's more involved than last year. I more variety as oppose to Lee all the time.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:54 PM)

It would sure make sense. The Trojans have two of the best tight ends around, a couple NFL prospects who have been in the system a long time and have proven themselves. If you aren't going to use guys like these, what are you waiting for?

MJ (Davis, CA)

Do you see Tuerk as a center or is this just another experiment? With Tuerk's possible move to center then where does K Rodgers fit in? Thanks.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:56 PM)

I don't think this is a random test, I get the sense there is a lot of genuine hope that this will work. I can see Rodgers getting a look at both guard and center but ideally he would spend 2013 as a redshirt no matter what.

chris (Calgary, AB)

Hey Garry, how did the EE's handle the first practice of the spring? The speed and size of the guys has to be a huge adjustment from playing against High School kids or even the informal practices they've been through.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:57 PM)

The speed is the thing that they all mentioned as the biggest adjustment. They said there is just no way to prepare for it, even after playing with these guys in winter workouts. For the most part they looked real good.

MJ (Davis, CA)

What do you know about Clay Helton as a play caller? I seem to remeber bits and pieces about his days at Memphis, but nothing concrete to lead me think that if he does end up calling the offensive plays, then it will be run-heavy.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:58 PM)

He had a pretty balanced offense. Even if he calls play next season, you know that it will come with a lot of guidance from Kiffin in terms of the style he wants. There's no way Kiffin would stay out of the process completely.

Lee (Los Angeles, CA)

Rank these guys as far as strongest arm: Barkley, Leinart, Booty.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:59 PM)

Barkley, Booty, Leinart.

Chris (LA )

I am so happy spring ball is here, so the SC family can put the 2012 season behind us. The talent is there, make it happen Coach Kiffin!!!

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:00 PM)

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