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March 13, 5:00 PM ET
Chat with Garry Paskwietz

Garry Paskwietz
  (4:59 PM)

Welcome. Let's get started.

Warren (LA)

Garry,With the recent roster losses it there a scholly available for Abe Markowitz or has that ship sailed?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:01 PM)

The ship hasn't completely sailed but there isn't anything to update. Abe has still yet to get the situation resolved regarding a potential sixth year of eligibility.

steve (camarillo)

How has the tackling looked? Has there been an emphansis to improve tackling? After his poor play last season - How has Dawson looked so far this spring? With Witek hurt - maybe Kessler/ Browne will get more of an opprtunity - can you update the QB competition?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:04 PM)

The team has only been in full pads for two days so it's hard to really know how much of an increased emphasis there is going to be. I will say this, the defense looks much more active and, as a result, it appears as if they are playing faster and harder. The players sure like this defense because it allows them to attack more rather than read and react. Dawson was the MVP of the scrimmage last Saturday. No less an authority than Chris Claiborne said he thinks this defense will fit Dawson because it will free him up more to flow to the ball. Kessler has a chance to get a little bit of a leg up if Wittek is out for a few days but the difference between the two is marginal right now, both are playing well.

arturo (chicago)

Is george farmer ready to be a big impact this year

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:05 PM)

So far so good in spring but we've been here before with George. The key for him will be the ability to stay healthy and stay consistent. He really does look comfortable this spring but I wouldn't expect him to be the game breaker in a Marqise Lee or Nelson Agholor role, he's a different kind of receiver than that.

Greg (LA)

Bailey, Shaw, Bowman, Wright, Cravens and McQuay - how do we get time for 5 guys to play safety, especially when it looks like we have almost no corners?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:07 PM)

If all six are healthy it's a terrific group. The coaches took a look at McQuay for the first week of spring before putting him back at safety yesterday. They also know Josh Shaw can go to corner if needed. Your concerns are absolutely valid but I think the coaches want to play out the competitions at corner first to see if anybody really rises up, if not they will take a look at other options.

MJ (Davis, CA)

Hi Gary, what is your opinion on the new recruiting regulations? How do you think this will play out?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:09 PM)

I'm not in favor of letting the contact get looser, I don't think that benefits either the schools or the players. There is already enough strain on coaches to make sure they don't fall behind while kids feel the brunt of phone calls throughout the process from coaches and media.

William (Montana)

Hi Garry. I love Trojan football and have been a fan for 50 years. It appears that USC is attempting to return to power football for which it was once known. Do you think this will happen?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:12 PM)

That's an impressive track record William. You've seen some good power football from the Trojans in your time and I know there are a lot of Trojans like yourself who would dearly love to see it return. All that can be done at this point is to take Kiffin's word for it because he's been clear that it's a goal for this season. I think the best sign I've seen so far of it happening was the hire of Mike Summers along the o-line, he's the kind of fiery and aggressive coach who will look to bring that out of his line. There are also some good strong backs on the SC roster who like to run the football that way too.

Jimmy (Santa Monica)

Hi Garry, when Clancy Pendergast was Cal DC, we beat Cal so badly since 2010. Do you think there are something to do with his defense against Pro Style offense and/or quality issue on Cal D itself? If it is first one, how are we going to deal with Stanford and Oregon State this coming season? (Both teams run pro style offense)

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:14 PM)

Yes, SC had success but Cal's defense was ranked #1 in the conference during his first two years there. That means he stopped a lot of people with talent that was less than what he will have at SC. I think that's the key, he will have athletes at his disposal that will allow him to really do what he wants to do, which is to attack out of multiple sets. The players seem genuinely excited so far about what he's brought to the table

Daniel (Cypress)

So I know Calhoun got an offer, when will Dwight Williams get an offer?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:16 PM)

I don't know. Dwight sure looked good at the Nike Camp. He's got good quality tape from his time at Serra, he's been the Nike Camp linebacker MVP two years in a row and he competes at pretty much every event on the camp/combine circuit. The SC coaches obviously have a reason for not offering yet but there sure is an awful lot to like about him.

MJ (Davis, CA)

Last year our Full Backs did not have a stellar season - pass catching/wheel routes were pretty much non-existant. Do you think Ty Issac with his size may get a look at the FB position on passing downs?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:17 PM)

I suppose it's an option but I still think there is a lot of football left for Vainuku and Pinner. Both of these guys were tailbacks more than fullbacks in high school so they knew how to catch the football. I have to imagine they are going to see improvement in that area in the coming years.

Max (PDX)

GarryWho will be the starting Safeties when season starts?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:20 PM)

That's a real hard question because two potential candidates aren't even on the field right now (Bailey and Bowman). I'm going to hedge and say that Bailey does end up at safety and, if he does, he will almost certainly be a starter. My next guess would be Shaw or maybe Wright but I also am not ruling out Su'a Cravens simply forcing the issue. Kiffin mentioned last night about how Cravens prepares so well and he compared him to Woods and Robey while saying that both of those players started from day one. Lane Kiffin doesn't make a statement like that accidentally, it's a sign of saying (at least through four days of spring ) that Su'a is that kind of guy.

Jason (San Diego)

Hi Garry. I was wondering, in your opinion, do you think with the renewed dedication back to the running game, we will see the '03-'06 USC teams that would average 6-8 yards on the ground? I was watching some old games where Reggie and Lendale could walk through holes at the line of scrimmage. Has it been stressed in this year practice? Thank You

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:22 PM)

The Trojans had a pretty decent average per rush last season but just didn't have nearly enough rushing attempts. One thing to remember about those lines that dominated so much in those years is that they featured NFL prospects across the board. It remains to be seen if this line will develop at that level. The pieces are there (including some power runners) and now they just have to go out and do it.

Amir (Sherman Oaks)

Garry, please give us your ideal breakdown of where/how the 20 scholarships should be handed out by position for 2014. Thanks!

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:24 PM)

OL - 4, DL - 4, LB - 2, TE - 2, QB - 1, RB - 1, WR - 2, DB - 4

Luis (Rialto)

I've said this about our secondary since LK took over, our secondary is weak! Having new DC coach P as a DB coach do you this this being a strong part of the team or do you think they will be mediocre like the last 3 years?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:25 PM)

I don't think they were mediocre in 2011 under Sammy Knight, I actually thought they played fairly well, especially after Wiley got moved into the line-up. Pendergast has a history of coaching a position group as well as being DC so it's not new to him. We will see how it goes. I think the safety group looks very good so far.

MJ (Davis, CA)

What is your opinion of our O line? Do you think we have the right guys in there? I am concerned about LT play and wish to see a more aggressive and focused player take charge of that position. With that said, in your opinion, is Walker our best option there?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:28 PM)

I don't think Walker has staked that claim in the ground yet at the left tackle spot. It's the one spot on the line that just doesn't seem firmed up yet. What we don't know is how the coaches would react if they just don't feel comfortable. To be honest though, it's a long way from that, in my opinion. Kiffin clearly wants it to work with Walker and it's understandable to see how he is tempted by Walker's physical gifts but the reality is also that a big missed block cost the Trojans a quarterback at the tail end of last year. That's not something anybody wants to see happen again.

Rundy (Glendale)

I love all the SC quarterbacks, but sometimes fate steps in. With Wittek's poor performance in El Paso and Browne being so green, it appears the stars are aligned for Kesler to be the starter and I think many fans want to see what he can do. Do you agree?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:29 PM)

I think there is merit to what you're saying. In the weeks following the Notre Dame game you would be hard-pressed to find a Trojan fan who wasn't on the Wittek wagon. Now the momentum seems to have swung in public opinion to give Kessler a real shot. It's a compelling competition because both Wittek and Kessler are heading into their prime years as a college quarterback and there isn't a clear difference between the two yet.

J (Los Angeles)

USC vs. Utah in the Pac-12 Tourney tonight. How do you rate our chances? Can we still pull out the win without Dewayne Dedmon? How far can we go in the tournament, realistically?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:31 PM)

Sure I think the Trojans can win tonight. This team is playing pretty loose basketball under Cantu and they've shown they can beat anybody in the conference. These suspensions are a wild-card though and you never know how they can impact things.

Warren (LA)

Garry,Any talk or indication yet on who will call the plays?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:32 PM)

The only talk is Kiffin and Helton saying nothing will be decided until the fall. The most common speculation is that it will be a collaborative effort between those two with Helton in the booth making suggestions and Kiffin having final say.

MM (Irvine)

Hi Garry. Any guess as to whether or not new Coliseum renovations would include fixing the stadium thermometer that is perpetually stuck on 70 degrees? I gotta plan my weather-related wardrobe for the upcoming season!

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:33 PM)

Yes!!!!! There was a recent story in the Daily Trojan about some engineering students who are fixing the clock. A bit sad though, a great Coliseum tradition going by the wayside.

MJ (Davis, CA)

Do you see Cravens winning one of the starting positions in the defensive back field, or is it early to judge?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:34 PM)

Too early to judge but not ruling it out at all based on what we've seen so far. He's such a fluid athlete with a solid athletic frame. John Robinson was at the SC scrimmage on Saturday and he told on person "that guy is going to be some kind of football player."

Chris (Newport Beach, CA)

Garry, give me a surprise starter on each side of ball come Hawaii in late August.

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:37 PM)

Don't rule out Anthony Sarao beating out Lamar Dawson for an inside linebacker spot. On offense, I don't think there will be a surprise but one guy who is ready is Jordan Simmons. I just don't know if there will be an opening for him to get into the line-up, I don't see it right now.

J (Los Angeles)

Give a hunch here. Will Kiffin still call the plays this year, or pass on the duty to someone like Clay Helton?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:38 PM)

I think it will be Kiffin with input from Helton. They will call it a collaborative effort.

marti (fontana)

Hi Garry, i think sc needs to start recruiting more athletic qbs that can extend plays! Thats why i hope kessler wins the job because i think that would give the OL a little more confifence knowing that they have someone that can extend plays and with playmakers on offense i know the offense can stay on the field longer and give the defense more time on the sidelines! Was wondering what your opinion is?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:40 PM)

I think it's great if you can find a quarterback for the pro style offense who can move around a little, provided he can still run the offense effectively. Rodney Peete was a great example. But then there are guys like Carson and Leinart who didn't run much but were highly effective. If Kessler can operate the offense the best and provide some running, that's great, but I also think the other two can be effective in this offense too.

jerry childress (jordan downs)

Whats the likely hood ofusc signing the 2 from serra,the 2 from salesian,the la mirada tight end and ju ju?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:42 PM)

I wouldn't rule any of those out at this point but, as you know, not all of them have been offered yet. I do think Adoree' comes to SC, I think Luatua is 50-50 between SC and Bama while I think JuJu comes down to SC vs UCLA.

Isaiah W. ((not in class))

I'm telling you Gary, I can play corner!

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:42 PM)

"not in class" was the problem

MJ (Davis, CA)

Name some of the 2014 local recruits that you're confident will end up wearing Cardinal & Gold. Thanks

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:44 PM)

I think Adoree' Jackson ends up at SC and I do think the Trojans eventually offer his teammate Dwight Williams, who will also come. I can see Damien Mama on the o-line while bringing his teammate Naijel Hale in the secondary.

Chris (Newport Beach, CA)

How likely is it that Dawson sees his playing time vastly reduced this year? He looked lost out there last year, was it more Monte's defensive scheme or a true lack of talent?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:45 PM)

I think it was Monte's scheme, I think Dawson is going to work better in this system. He was the MVP of the scrimmage last weekend and led the team in tackles. Right now he's battling with Sarao for one of the ILB spots.

Greg (LA)

In regards to the running back situation, isn't it a bit crowded? I know the staff liked what they saw from Madden but wouldn't it make more sense to move him back to LB especially since the team doesn't have a full scholarship count?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:46 PM)

If everyone is healthy it is a little crowded but SC has a recent history of seeing RB depth go south in a hurry so I don't expect Madden to be moved anytime soon. There was too much promise shown last spring and they want to see how this plays out at RB. The Trojans will go two-deep in the fall at the ILB spots so they should be fine there.

Ryan (Los Angeles)

Any chance craven moves to ILB with his recent weight gain? And will Kiffin actually give Kessler a chance to win the job?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:48 PM)

Yes and yes. Kiffin said Su'a is up to 220 pounds already. With that kind of number, you can't rule out an eventual move to linebacker if he continues to grow much more. Kessler is playing too well right now to deny him a shot.

J (Los Angeles)

What have you seen thus far from the 2013 team that can give trojan fans the feeling that this season will be more successful?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:49 PM)

The defense. The change in scheme seems to have brought a desired change in style, or at least from what I've seen through four days. It just seems to fit the athletes that USC has, they appear much more aggressive and disruptive.

Smudge (Irvine)

When do the non-early enrollees start to practice? Which of them do you expect will have the biggest impact?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:50 PM)

They can show up and start practicing once they graduate from high school (which varies from school to school but is usually sometime in June). Of those arriving then I would expect Michael Hutchings to have the biggest early impact as a reserve linebacker and on special teams.

jerry childress (jordan downs)

i keep hearing nelson is ahead of george,but from the video,victor blackwell looked absolutely amazing...is it possible he gets significant touches..

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:52 PM)

Sure it is, Blackwell looks solid so far. It's a real nice competition going on over there. Nelson is clearly in the lead, he looks great, but Farmer and Blackwell have both been solid.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

What impact, if any, will making Horton the OC have on the offense, and team in general?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:53 PM)

I assume you mean Helton? It's hard to say since he's never called plays for the Trojans before. Until you see how a coach does it, you never really know. Helton and Kennedy Polamalu scripted the offense and called plays during the early bowl practices for the Sun Bowl and the players liked the rhythm of how he called plays.

Don (Berkeley, CA)

Will Sonny Dykes earn his first signature PAC-12 win on November 9th when the Trojans come calling?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:54 PM)

History will say no since the Trojans have been pretty dominant against Cal lately but you never know with a first year coach (see last year with Rich Rod and AZ vs USC).

Greg (LA)

seems like we're set in most places. Fair to say that our success will be based mostly on (i) quality of QB play, and (ii) quality of CB play?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:55 PM)

Those are two really important ones but I will add both sides of the line (the performance of the LT on offense and depth on the defense)

Kennedy (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Which new coach has impressed you the most so far?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:57 PM)

Pendergast. Summers and Ekeler both seem very solid too. Don't have a good sense on Robinson yet.

J (Los Angeles)

What have you seen differently from Lane Kiffin that can give us the impression he has learned from his mistakes in 2012?

Garry Paskwietz
  (5:59 PM)

There are small signs here and there. He held meetings with each player individually in February, it would be the player, the position coach and the S&C coach. There was feedback and dialogue about where the player was and how he could move forward. That kind of meeting and interaction hadn't happened before.

Pietro (San Francisco)

Viva Cody Kessler! At the scrimmage he was able to wrack up yards on the run despite his porous offensive line. USC needs a quarter back like this -- someone who can make things happen on the fly. What are the chances of his getting the starting job?

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:02 PM)

He has put himself in position to have a good chance based on his strong start to camp. It's a real close competition so far between him and Max.

Garry Paskwietz
  (6:02 PM)

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