Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC blogger Garry Paskwietz stops by to chat some USC football.
Paskwietz is the Publisher of WeAreSC and has been covering the Trojans since 1997. Paskwietz is also a co-host of the USC Football radio pre-game show
Send your questions now and join Paskwietz every Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET!
Garry Paskwietz (5:00 PM)
Hello everyone. Let's get started.
Any indications at all with who has the edge for no.2 QB?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
There don't really seem to be any indications right now. These guys are really similar to each other in how they're playing. It's just Wittek and Kessler as Scroggins has been out all spring and the two of them are getting plenty of work as Kiffin is limiting Barkley's reps. There are three scrimmages remaining so there is a lot to learn in this competition.
HLH (Menlo Park)
How has Anthony Sarao looked so far this spring?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
He's taken a nice step up this spring. Very aggressive. Right now he's backing-up Hayes Pullard at the weakside linebacker spot and I would expect him to be a key member of special teams as well.
Kevin (Long Beach)
Top of the day to you Gary. Given all the great safeties available this year; Su'a Cravens, Priest Willis, Max Redfield, and Tahaan Goodman, how many do you think SC takes? And, if quarterback Max Browne chooses Oklahoma over SC, who do you think will be SCa??s second quarterback choice?
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
Yes, this is a real special safety group this year. I think SC takes two. Maybe they take 3 if it turns out that Josh Shaw will end up playing corner (which is entirely possible). Looking forward to seeing those safeties in action this Sunday at the Nike Camp (Max Redfield and David Price will also be there).
Saul (Long Beach)
We haven't really heard much about J.R. Tavai. How has he looked so far? How has he done? Will he be enough to solidify the middle of that defense?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
J.R. has been solid. Nothing flashy but he's been real steady and has been the first unit nose guard since the first day of spring. I don't think we know yet how solid he will be once game action starts but that will be a huge key for the defense, need to be strong up the middle.
Taz2 (newport beach)
what happened to Obvious-Not So Obvious?..how do U view the Dodger solution having an effect on USC and environs
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
The O/NSO column still appears every Friday on the Trojan Family message board. I don't think the Dodgers situation has much of an impact on USC, other than to maybe add one more nice piece to downtown if the franchise can be revitalized. Then again, USC already has a lot of great plans in place such as the Coliseum, the McKay Center and the new University Village.
Hi gary, when do u think will start gettin some commitments? Who would u said are the guys that have sc at the top of their list?
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
I think the coaches usually target the June camps as a key time for commitments but there is always the hope that some come in during spring as well. I think it's possible we may hear something once kids are able to see school during visits to spring ball. It wouldn't surprise me to see an early decision from a guy like Max Browne or Su'a Cravens, both have the Trojans on their short list.
Garry what ever happened to OT - Matt Meyer he was highly regarded 4* tackle came in the Matt Barkley class.
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
Meyer suffered from serious foot injuries and was forced to give up football and take a medical redshirt but he stayed on for school at USC.
Tee shepard having this health concerns puts USC out right ? Since we have had trouble with getting players cleared Jones and Armstead,
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
Not necessarily. We just don't know what the medical issues are so it's hard to comment on what the realities are. With that being said, the USC recent history would indicate that it's something that will definitely be looked at.
Kevin Gerson (Los Angeles)
How would you compare the lateral foot speed of Walker and Graf? What are the strengths of each?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
Graf has the experience of playing left tackle in high school, he knows the system better and his technique is better. With Walker, you're primarily talking about physical potential. I don't think Walker is a better left tackle option right now than Graf but the coaches are taking a look to see if they like him as a better option down the line.
Miguel (Los Angeles)
With the two big positons changes , Madden to RB does that mean Jabari Ruffin will play this season to provide depth? Townsend moving to DT means Leonard Williams will play at DE since there is depth but nothing great. Breslin has not impressed anyone , Burks and Wilson are freshman and Greene is a completely bust.
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
I think there's a very good chance the move of Madden means that Ruffin slides in to the reserve rotation at SLB. He would be competing with Marquis Simmons, who looks improved but has yet to show that he can stay healthy. Ruffin would also have a good shot to contribute on special teams. I don't know if the move of Townsend inside is a permanent one, that's still up in the air. Williams could easily end up inside, the coaches are giving themselves a lot of options.
Ed (New Mexico)
Hi Gary, With the recent reports about the legal issues involving members of the Coleseum Commission, do you still see the operational control going to USC this spring, or will it get tied up in the courts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
I haven't heard anything that makes me think there is a problem. All signs still point to USC gaining control in the near future.
Any insights on the new coaches?DBWRLBI presume often they are ner each other on the field when working on passing,
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
Sanders brings a lot of energy and seems to have really bonded with his group, particularly Nickell Robey. Martin has a similar teaching style as Gilmore, very hands on and talking to the players rather than yelling. Hazelton is well versed in the defense and that seems to have allowed him to make a good transition, he is often at Monte Kiffin's side during any team drill situations.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Hey, Garry, just sat down with my special sanctions recruiting calculator for the next 2 years and here's what I came up with... you may pass along to CLK if you deem necessary. We MUST take: 1 OT, 3 OG, 1 C, 1 RB, 1 DT, 3 LB, 1 CB, 4 S. That gives us 2 deep at every position come 2015 with a full cycle of green reinforcements coming in that year to fill the 3 deep. It also leaves 14 "elective" recruits to use during the next 2 years.
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
I don't think there's any question the Trojans will be taking a quarterback this year. I would also go with two running backs. I don't see more than three offensive linemen, but I do see at least one receiver. I think the Trojans load up on d-linemen (3 or 4) and four total DB's, I would break it down to 2 corners and 2 safeties.
Who is the best in state DT recruit ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
The Trojans don't have an offer out to a true defensive tackle in-state but the two end prospects with offers, Joe Mathis from Upland and Kylie Fitts from REV, both have the kind of size which could easily see them moving inside.
It looks like USC will have 5 solid WR and, if Madden keeps it up, 3 solid RB. Does this mean Rogers and Nelson will be RSed?
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
I don't see both of them redshirting, if I had to guess I think Nelson plays this year.
Bigger concern: Tre Madden putting the ball on the ground each practice (probably due to a new position evolving) or DJ Morgan's tendency to fumble? I know it's early, but the backup position might have some ball protection issues..?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
You don't get the sense it's anything to worry about right now. Morgan has been fine this spring and with Madden it's been pretty clear that it's his first week at a new spot. Kiffin talked about it after practice on Tuesday and there's no doubt he understands the reality of the transition period for Tre.
Is M. Simmons now the back up for Bailey now that Tre moved?
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
Yes, if healthy he is the primary back-up. Will Andrew has also moved over and is taking reserve spots at SLB.
Do you see Tre Madden taking the #2 TB spot behind McNeil?
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
I think he's going to get every chance. One of the reasons why I think it could happen is that Madden offers more of the kind of running style that Kiffin wants, the hammer. As much as Kiffin loves explosive plays from his offense, he wants to have the ability to pound the ball when needed and Madden could offer the best possibility for that so Kiffin will give him a real long look.
Alex (Long Beach)
What are USC chances with Tahaan Goodman and Max Redfield?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I think they are very strong with Redfield. USC was an early offer and sources at Mission Viejo say they would be surprised if he went anywhere else. Goodman is waiting for an offer but he doesn't have one, this is despite having a pretty impressive offer list from other schools. From what we're told, if SC offered they would be on his short list.
Bill (Carson, California)
How was Ty Isaac's visit? Did he like it? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
All indications are that the visit was positive for Ty, based on a few interviews he gave today.
Bill (Carson, California)
Why is Kevin Graf at right tackle? How was he at left tackle?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
The coaches originally said last week that they wanted to take a look at both tackle combinations this spring so they moved Walker to left tackle and Graf to right. It was supposed to be a one-week switch but the two players were still in those spots yesterday at practice. We talked to coach Cregg about it after practice and he said they are nowhere close to making any final decisions about who will play where.
Chris (Granada Hills)
After watching Jabari Ruffins film, he seems to fit bill of power back. Has the staff thought about giving him a look at rb in fall?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
As much as they know he is a good running back, they also think he has NFL potential as an outside linebacker. If Madden stays on offense, it not only opens up a spot at SLB for Ruffin but it also removes the need to find a power back. If that move doesn't work, I wouldn't rule out the coaches trying other options.
What game do you see as the trap game this Fall? I am thinking Utah.
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think the Washington game could be interesting. They will certainly want revenge on the Trojans, the game will be played in the Seahawks stadium so it will be a unique environment and it will be the Trojans fourth road trip in five games.
Do you think Woody will be back full speed in the Fall, or will he continue to be slowed by this ankle issue?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
I think it was a smart move to shut him down for the remainder of spring to just let the ankle rest. This injury has been nagging for a long time and it makes sense to give it as much time as possible to be healthy for the season.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which Big Ten school on Cravens list will pose the biggest challenge for his commitment?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
I would say Michigan, although I don't have a specific reason for saying that. It just seems like a school he has a connection with so far.
Chris (Granada Hills)
Do you see anymore deflections via transfer. Seems like Scroggins is being written off?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
Scroggins is actually close to returning to practice, he's been doing light throwing the last couple sessions. He's definitely had some issues lately though and he's fallen behind both Wittek and Kessler. I'm not sure if there will be any more defections, the Trojans are only one spot over the necessary 75 limit and things have a way of working out.
Rob Rae (Santa Clara, CA)
Hi Garry, I see you have been doing this this '97. First of all, congratulations. To most of us, it's a dream job. What have you learned about USC? What are your top 5 (or more if you like) memories?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
One big thing I learned is that the academics at USC is not something that will prevent the football team from succeeding. That was a common question in the late 90's during the Paul Hackett era, people wondering if the academic profile was such that the school would never be dominant in football again. Well, Pete Carroll came along and proved that wasn't the case. As far as any on the field memories of covering the Trojans, I don't see how you beat Notre Dame 2005.
Gary, Of the prospects in the southeast that SC is after, which ones do you think have the best chance of success. I am hoping Montravius Adams is on your list.
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I think he's as good a player as any to put at the top of the list. He seems to have some genuine interest in USC and he is a player at a position of great need for this class.
Alex (Long Beach)
How are the back up linebackers and defensive linemen?
Garry Paskwietz (5:47 PM)
The back-up linebacker group took a bit of a hit when Madden left but Sarao is pretty solid at SLB and Starr is doing good so far for a freshman in the middle. I think it's a pretty solid position of depth. On the line, Greg Townsend is showing that he can play inside or outside and he's a real talented reserve. After that, the one guy who probably stood out so far in spring was Cody Temple but he's out now with an ankle injury until fall.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
Gary, I think CLK has done a great job so far. The one part I think he needs to improve on is playing more players each game (rotation). As such, my question is whether the rotation of players is on the head coach, coordinator or position coach? I'd really like to see some more guys get a shot and to have the team be more fresh in the 4th qtr.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
The rotation responsibilities varies from team to team but with the Trojans it is Lane Kiffin who makes those decisions.
Warren (Los Angeles)
Gary does Lee surpass Woods this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
It's amazing that this question can even be asked. As good as Robert Woods is, it's a legitimate question to ask if Marqise is going to be better. That is such a tribute to Marqise.
jerry (hunt beach)
Having played for Monte Kiffin 30 years ago I know the kind of defensive genius he is. Is he still the most fun to be around? Or has that been supplanted by Coach Orgeron.
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
It's clear the players love being around Monte and have a real respect for him. When he talks on the practice field, he has their full attention.
Dean (Windsor, CO)
Jawanza Starling was greatly improved, especially in the 2nd of the season, last year. How has he looked this spring?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
Jawanza has been solid this spring. The coaches put Demetrius Wright with the first unit for a couple days more as a test to see where Wright was it but Starling was right back in a few days later. I agree that he really matured as a player in the last half of the season.
Gary...Who does Tre Madden remind you of most among SC backs of the past?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
It's hard not to think of Stafon. He wears the same number, they have a very similar frame and they run with the same square-shouldered style. Tre even said that some guys on the team are calling him Baby Stafon.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
Haven't heard much about Curtis McNeal...how has he looked so far in SP? How much of the workload, percentage-wise, do you expect McNeal to get this season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
Curtis has looked real good, he's "the guy" right now and he's living it up to it on the field. The coaches want a 20-25 carry a game type of back and they think Curtis can handle that load.
bob (Hacienda heights)
Is Buck Allen in the RB mix at all?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Buck has been out with a hamstring injury all spring. All those "power" back reps that are now going to Madden were originally targeted for Buck this spring.
Garry,Wouldn't you rather see Madden get a look at SS rather than RB?With his speed and great defensive play I feel Kiffin is again trying a test that will only hurt ANOTHER players development. To see Madden or Bailey make the switch to SS while the other remains at LB seems like a win for the team.
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
I don't have any problem with this move based on what we've seen over the last week. Tre looks real natural at running back. I also saw him enough as a wildcat quarterback in high school to know that what he's doing right now isn't a fluke, this guy can be a real weapon with the ball in his hands.
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
That's going to be all the time we have for today. Sorry if we didn't get to your questions. See you all next week.