Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the chat. Let's get started.
Who do you think will be the Best Running Back for USC in 2014?
I think right now you have to say Buck Allen until proven otherwise. Tre Madden and Justin Davis were both on their way to great things before getting hurt and Buck took advantage of their opening to have a team MVP season. And i wouldn't bet against Ty Isaac on anything. By the end of the year he was running as well as anyone.
Gary I realize it's early and sprng training hasn't begun yet but does the coaching staff have an idea who plays where and what is expected of each athlete.
They have ideas but they have been very clear in saying that they need to see the players on the field for themselves before making any real determinations. Right now Wilcox is saying he wants to see how the pieces fit before he settles the defense, it will feature multiple schemes but you have guys like Su'a Cravens, Josh shaw and J.R. Tavai who could play multiple spots so there are lots of options.
Presumably the 10 second rule is not going to see the light of day. Assuming that is true, which opponent(s) will we see the most benefit against from moving to the no huddle offense this year?
It's hard to say. In theory you would say Stanford since they are known as more of a physical bunch but the Cardinal usually do well against Oregon and other up tempo teams. I also think that there are enough up tempo teams that every team knows how they want to defense them, it's just a matter of having the athletes to do it.
Su'a Cravens is now up to 225 pounds, the same size as Shaq Thompson and Myles Jack. In a 3-4 could he be a linebacker, and what would he bring to that position that we don't currently have?
I do think that option is there and it would surprise me if the coaches don't look at it in spring. They obviously felt there was a benefit to having a guy like Shaq in that role so you would think Su'a could fit a similar skill set. Both are unique athletes with size and the ability to improvise. You think back to a guy like Troy Polamalu and the freedom he was allowed to play with. I think Su'a could be a real force in that kind of role.
Tell me something about out current recruiting class that might not be known to the public. A player like Chris Brown seems like under the radar but he looks like a classic Franchise Left Tackle.
I think most people realize that this offensive line class is one of the best in recent memory and there are really two reasons for that. One is the big 3 at the top of the class in Mama, Viane and Toa. The 2nd is the fact that Brown and Austin are some pretty good players to be considered the #4 and
Thanks Garry for these chats - in your opinion what position group/s are the areas to improve on Offense and Defense?
I don't think there's any question the o-line will need to be an area of emphasis. Not only are you losing two starters in Graf and Martin but Tuerk will likely be moving to RT so you will be filling 3 spots with new bodies. Finding a new leader for the line at center is critical. On the defensive side, getting a replacement for Uko is key but I feel pretty good about that with the options available. Next is getting things set in the secondary and I can't wait to see how that plays out since Adoree' Jackson gives the coaches options with how they want to use Josh Shaw.
How big of an impact on Offense do you expect Adoree to have this upcoming year? Since Joe McKnight left I feel the offense has been lacking that mismatch (decoy) who can be lined up in the backfield and out wide.
Sark recently announced that Adoree' would begin his career on defense. I think that makes sense but it also wouldn't surprise me if Adoree' gets a package of plays on offense as well. A few players who could end up filling that type of role on offense could be Steven Mitchell, Rahshead Johnson or Ajene Harris.
Garry, How do you think the hire of Tim Drevno will affect the Trojans Offensive Line? Will it be obvious dividends by the fall?
The number one way it will impact the line is to bring a physical style of play. That is what Drevno is known for and it's what Sark promised him to attract him to USC. The obvious hope is that the line will be ready by fall but there are a lot of moving pieces to the line this year, including the need to find a center, so it could take some time. i really like the hire of Drevno, I thought it was a positive statement for Sark in terms of the type of identity he wanted for his offense.
Hi Garry,Can you explain why SC's recruiting class next year is limited to 25 players. Shouldn't it be whatever is required to make the 85 scholarship limit?
It's one of the final remaining joys of the NCAA sanctions. Yes, it would be nice if USC could get back to the full 85 man roster in the first year but the NCAA isn't going to do anything to make that happen. If taking a full 25 still doesn't get the Trojans to 85, so be it as far as they are concerned. The good news is that with 19 bodies this year, and 25 next year, that will be 44 bodies in two years and Sark clearly thinks that is enough of a foundation to move forward.
You seem convinced that Max Browne can't win the starting job. I remember several years ago that Andrew Luck beat out Tavita Pritchard, who had beaten #1 USC the year before and had a great season. Why can't Max Browne do that, since he has far more talent and ability than Kessler, who is basically a game manager?
Please don't take what I've said as being convinced that Max can't win the job. I certainly think he has the talent and ability to do it, he's the real deal. I'm just saying that I think Cody goes into the competition with a pretty good standing as an incumbent quarterback who put together a solid year and has positioned himself well as a leader of the team. And, I think something that is often overlooked, Kessler was heavily recruited by Sark at Washington. That tells me Sark thinks he can work with Cody, which is very important. It's going to be fun to watch these two go at it and I think Cody might be tougher to move out than some people are giving him credit for.
Garry, It seems we will be missing a number of players from participating full speed at Spring practice. Does the inability of a player to participate in Spring practice generally hinder his chances of a starting role when the season starts?
I'm sure there have been times when a player has missed spring and another player takes advantage of the opportunity to play well and earn a spot but generally the coaches will be very understanding if a player misses spring due to injury and he will be given every opportunity to prove himself if available in fall camp.
Who is USC's top out of state target in 2015 right now?
George Campbell from Florida is an early name that is garnering interest but I think Christian Kirk from nearby Arizona is a playmaker who would fit very well in Sark's offense. Kirk recently paid an unofficial visit to USC and said the Trojans have always been "up there" for him. Other schools with offers to Kirk include Alabama, Ohio State, UCLA and Oregon.
Do you think Snoop Lion Jr ends up at USC?
I think there's a solid chance that Cordell Broadus ends up at USC. There is so much attention paid to his father and I hope it doesn't get lost that this guy is a really good football player.
Hi Gary... thank you for continuing to provide fans with this forum to ask questions ...Recently, Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson announced that he is transferring to Utah, after graduating.... Max Wittek is also transferring after graduating...Is this a trend of things to come?...are players getting a bit impatient?...bad advice?....injuries can happen, so having a quality back up QB is invaluable....
I think this is par for the course with college football, especially the quarterback position. It has to be a tough decision for any player who is a back-up and could stay that way for the rest of his career at a school. You chose that school for a reason and injuries do happen but, if you have your eye on the next level, at some point you also want to get on the field to show what you can do. There aren't too many Matt Cassel stories out there of guys who move on without ever starting a game. I've talked to several former SC players who say the decision to leave or not leave can be a lot tougher than people realize.
What is the story on Cyrus Hobbi?
There is nothing official from the school on Cyrus but there are a lot of rumors right now of academic issues. I'm sure things will get cleared up at the start of spring ball.
Is Biggie Marshall a hard 'SC lean or will LSU and the Pac12 make inroads with his recruitment?
I think the Trojans will end up being a serious contender for Biggie but he will go through the recruiting process and take a hard look at all the schools on his list so you can't really call him a true lean yet. But it is safe to say that he comes from a school that has put a lot of DB's at SC and his family knows the value of an SC education.
How much production do you expect to get from DL Kenny Bigelow and Delvon Simmons? And will junior Greg Townsend and Antwaun Woods step up for the Trojans this year and become factors upfront?
One of the biggest questions of the spring, in my opinion. Don't forget to add Claude Pelon to that group. That's a lot of talent in there but, except for one year of starting experience by Simmons at TT and a few games last year for Woods, it is largely unproven. Is Bigelow ready to go? Can Simmons and Pelon provide some veteran savvy? Is Townsend finally healthy? What about Cody Temple, can he add some depth too?
Will Leon McQuay see more playing time this year for the Trojans?
Without a doubt. I think there is a very good chance that Leon ends up in the starting line-up but we won't know for sure how the rotation will start to play out until spring ball gets started. At the very least he will be part of the rotation and a key guy on special teams.
Hey Garry, Its nice to talk some USC football! I know that Morgan Breslin didn't get the combine invite so what happens to him now? I read a scouting report that had more bad than good. Anyways enjoy the rest of your week and FIGHT ON!!
It's a real shocker that he didn't get invited. He brings a unique skill set to the table as a pass rusher that the NFL really covets. And Ed Orgeron, who has coached DL in the NFL, thinks he has a bright future at the next level. It just doesn't add up how he doesn't even get an invite to the combine. The next step for him will be the USC Pro Day on March 12th to come out and show that he is healthy and to put up some good numbers.
Who do you think will be the most dominant player in the front seven on D?
I'm going to go with Leonard Williams until proven otherwise. He's one of the most dominant players we've seen come along in years.
With 25 scholarships available, do you think USC will be able to land more premium recruits like they did in Pete Carroll era?
Sure. Sark showed his ability to land the elite recruits with what he did on signing day. That was really a statement day for the Trojans and their new head coach and it's very reasonable to think that will continue in the coming year with more available rides. Of course, the best way for it continue in the long run is to win on the field.
Any news on possible destinations for Max Wittek? Who are the leaders for him at this point?
I've heard Hawaii, Louisville and Texas mentioned for him as possible destinations but no real sense of a leader.
It seemed over the years that Telfer was more of a blocker and Grimble was a better receiver. Do you expect Cope-Fitzpatrick to be leaned on more as a receiver than Telfer? Thanks.
No, I actually think Telfer is going to get his chance to spread his wings a little as a receiver. Randall has plenty of pass catching skills of his own and this should be a terrific opportunity in his senior year in this offense.
Between Browne and Kessler, who has the strongest arm and who is the most accurate? Also, how much do you estimate Browne weighs now with a year of lifting under his belt?
I don't think either one of them has what you would call a cannon but I would probably give the slight edge to Kessler in arm strength. i would give the edge to Browne on accuracy though, especially on deep throws.
Who will Replace the USC Players who will be Selected in the 2014 NFL Draft with?
Darreus Rogers will likely replace Lee. Telfer will replace Grimble. Not sure who will replace Marcus Martin but Khaliel Rodgers and Toa Lobendahn will get looks in spring. There are a lot of players in mix to replace George Uko including Delvon Simmons, Kenny Bigelow, Claude Pelon, Antwaun Woods and Greg Townsend. Dion Bailey slot role could get filled by Su'a Cravens in more of a rover role, or possibly Josh Shaw or Leon McQuay. Lots of options there too.
Thanks everyone, that's all we have time for today. We will see you all next week.