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 (4:59 PM)
Welcome everyone, let's get started.
Garry. Is Su'a cleared to practice?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
Su'a has been taking part in the throwing and conditioning sessions but I don't know that he's been cleared for actual practice. My guess is he will be fine by the time fall camp rolls around in early August.
Kasey (Fresno, Ca)
What are your thoughts on the Oregon Sanctions? Are they fair or not harsh enough in your opinion?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
After the USC penalties, it's hard to look at the Oregon penalties and say they were fair in comparison. There was a major link connected between a USC coach and an outside influence yet there was no connection made in the Oregon sanctions between the head coach and the outside influence, even though there was direct proof the two had plenty of contact. I'm not sure what Oregon deserved, I'm just saying the USC penalties look more and more out of whack with each subsequent NCAA case.
Pietro (San Francisco)
How's J.R. Tavai doing? Do you think he will see much playing time this year? Thanks for these chats Garry.
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
I think J.R. is going to be one of the key pieces for the d-line as a critical interior reserve. He's in his third year and he's a real talented player who has seen time inside and outside. When he showed up healthy for the last two weeks of spring you could really see the impact he made, this helps Orgeron with the constant rotation he likes to use with his defensive linemen as Tavai is lined up behind Leonard Williams.
Your prediction on which school Calhoun and Woodard commit to at The Opening?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
For a long time i thought Calhoun would be headed to USC but right now I think Cal is a real candidate too. I do think Wadood ends up a Trojan.
Garry, what's your take on the wishy washy nature of our recruits? Were verbally committed to Sc but still looking and now have a top 5? I'd love to see Lane and the team just flat yank the offers to these kids and send a clear message. I know some schools do limit visits when a kid commits, should we?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
It's the nature of the beast these days in recruiting and i don't like it either. It would be a tough decision for any coach to deny visits to kids that are committed, it was actually a hallmark of the Pete Carroll era that the Trojans allowed it, with the caveat that they always wanted the final visit. Of course, it's easier to take that stance when you are competing for national titles every year. I think the best thing the Trojans can do to hold the current commits and bring in more is to get it done on the field this year. That's the best recruiting pitch of all.
ORE - one scholarship; USC - 30. Really? Is it just because the sweater vests in Kansas hate how cool we were?
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
It's hard to wrap your arms around the numbers when you look at them side by side and it would be hard for anybody at the NCAA to justify the comparison in any way.
Kalven (Bay Area)
So instead of gaining more recruits, our own commits are looking less interested, so I be worried?
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
There's no doubt that a lot of recruits are taking a "wait-and-see" attitude right now when it comes to Lane Kiffin and the Trojans, and that includes players who are already committed. If the Trojans come out in the fall and take care of business on the field, things should take care of themselves on the recruiting side.
Pietro (San Francisco)
Here in the Bay Area, the Stanford fans are gloating. They've won four in a row and five of the last six (four in a row is the longest Stanford winning streak in the rivalry). Is Stanford a better team this year than last year? This year USC has to face Kevin Hogan, a better quarterback than Josh Nunes, who they faced last year.
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
They have a right to gloat, that's what happens when you win. There's no hiding from it after four years in a row and the Trojans know it. The problem is, I don't think Stanford is really going to fall much if at all this year. They lost some talented players but the young guys they have coming up include some pretty elite recruits from a few years ago. This is definitely one that will be a critical match-up on the SC schedule.
Andy2099 (Temple City)
WIth Wadood and Calhoun close to making decisions do you think they are trojan leans? Will USC take 3 corner backs and 3 linebackers in this class?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
I do consider Wadood a Trojan lean but I'm calling Calhoun 50-50 at the moment between SC and Cal. I do think 3 corners and linebackers in this class is certainly possible, and warranted.
BulldogWally (La Canada)
Gary, What are the comparisons between the USC infractions and Oregon if any? Again, not to beat a dead horse but it seems SC's penalties are so beyond reason while Oregon got less than a slap on the wrist
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
One obvious connection is that both involved an outside influence, one that was trying to lure a player away from the school and one that was trying to steer players to the school. There was also a connection to a coach at the school, there was a thin connection between Lloyd Lake and Todd McNair that the NCAA believed and a clear connection between Willie Lyles and Chip Kelly that the NCAA chose to say was a non factor. That part is very puzzling to me.
Rohit Swami (LA)
Why is there a lack of big names committing to SC this year compared to last year? Do they think this is Kiffin's last year? I also see lot of top talent looking out of state like Jackson, Quick, Mixon, etc... What's up with that?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
This is part of what can happen coming off a disappointing season like 2012. The recruits want to wait and see what happens the next year and they want to know about the status of the coach since Lane Kiffin is mentioned as having one of the hottest seats in college football in 2013. The best cure for that is winning as the good news is the Trojans are still in play for the guys you mention, and several more.
fred (coquille, or)
Garry, can you list the three top lifters in the weight room?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
Kevin Graf was the co-lifter of the year last season (along with Nickell Robey) so you would have to put him up there. I'll check with S&C coach Aaron Ausmus to see who else has been standing out this off-season.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Hi Garry, Other than Lee and Agholor, I believe we have 3 remaining uninjured WRs on the depth chart. Can you talk about the 3 other guys, how they play, who they remind you of?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
You are correct in that there are three other scholarship receivers - Victor Blackwell, De'Von Flournoy and Darreus Rogers. Blackwell seems to be the most likely to get the #3 spot, he's got real good speed and explosiveness but needs to get more consistent. Flournoy is an experienced guy who has never really been able to get a chance, with so many limited bodies this may be his best opportunity. Rogers is a talented freshman with powerful physical skills, I think he has a chance to be a real good one in a quick amount of time.
Robert P. (Diamond Bar)
Who are the front runner defensive backs so far? How are the freshmen defensive backs doing so far?
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
The biggest interesting thing about the secondary in summer workouts is that Josh Shaw has remained at SS to form a real good safety duo with Dion Bailey at FS. Su'a Cravens continues to get a lot of work behind Shaw while Demetrius Wright and Leon McQuay are behind Bailey. Gerald Bowman has seen time this spring at both safety spots. I continue to like Chris Hawkins as a freshman corner but right now the starters are Kevon Seymour and Anthony Brown.
What is the status on Delvon Simmons? Has he enrolled at USC yet?
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
Delvon has not enrolled yet, he is scheduled to arrive in the fall.
James (Los Angeles)
Did Mama, JuJu Smith and Josh Rosen make it out to the Rising Stars camp?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
Mama made it but did not work out. JuJu did not make it. Rosen made it, as did fellow QB class of 2015 verbal Davis Sills.
Is there any concern that Kessler's weaker arm will limit the abilities of Lee and Agholar? Wittek can sling it down the field and hit the deep out patterns.
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
Kessler has a plenty strong arm to throw deep. When I talked with QB coach Clay Helton at the end of spring for a story on the three QB's, he was very clear in making that point. Wittek may have a pure bigger arm but that doesn't mean Cody is overly limited in what he can do.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hello Garry. What should USC's priority/priorities be in terms of positions to fill with this next recruiting class? And do you see USC on-track to fill these needs? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think both sides of the line and corner would be the priorities, and then quarterback. So far there are two commits on the o-line and three on the d-line so the Trojans are off to a good start in those two critical areas.
who will be the next big recruiting committment for USC? What is your ideal class for 2014?
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
I think Jaleel Wadood pulls the trigger for the Trojans at The Opening. As for an ideal class beyond the current verbals, I think that would include big name local guys like Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith and Damien Mama, along with other in-state recruits such as Joe Mixon, Adarius Pickett and Michiah Quick.
The Trojans under LK have fallen in the development of the talent they have recruited. There has been a big slide in # of Trojans drafted in the early rounds by the NFL. Do you feel this a key reason LK has lost top recruits at the close the last two recruiting classes?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
Last year was a down year in terms of the projections of SC guys who ended up sliding but recent years have seen guys like Tyron Smith, Matt Kalil and Nick Perry in the first round so it's not like SC has completely dropped out of the picture. The key will be in proving that last year was a fluke. The Trojans will likely have Marqise Lee as a high first round pick next year and Leonard Williams the year after that. Will any other players join them? That will be the key.
Why does it seem like we are losing momentum on the recruiting trail. It seemed like alot of these kids were high on SC earlier. It is not like we are losing games at the moment. Are the camps at SC not helping recruit these kids at all or are they just for scouting only? Seems to me they should have been scouted already.
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
The USC momentum has slowed right now as compared to years past, in large part due to the lingering impact of the 2012 season and the uncertain status of head coach Lane Kiffin. The good news is that it wouldn't take much to get things going, a key commit here or there could start the ball rolling and then if the team gets off to a good start it will be a real positive for the recruiting efforts. The camps are definitely a point where offers have been made and accepted in the past. the coaches usually have a pretty good idea of who they want to consider and an offer could come based on the performance at the camp.
Was Dwight Williams invited to Rising stars and does his lack of recruitment by SC hamper our chances with Adoree?
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
Dwight was at the Rising Stars Camp today at the request of the coaches but did not work out this morning. This has been a tough one in this recruiting cycle as Dwight has clearly been looking for the SC offer and recently eliminated the Trojans from consideration after one didn't come during the spring period. I still think the Trojans could get back in it with Dwight if an offer was extended. I think Adoree' makes his own decision separate of a teammate having a certain offer.
Chris (Fountain Valley)
Do you think JuJu Smith not showing up to the opening is a bad sign for SC. Smith is predicted to sign with UCLA according to 247sports
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
I don't think it's an impact for USC one way or the other. Smith hasn't been a big attendee on the camp circuit this spring and I wouldn't read anything into that. UCLA is a definite possibility for him but so is SC at this point, as well as Cal and several others. I don't get the sense that JuJu has really narrowed things down yet to the point where you can accurately say where he's going.
The next heisman trophy winner for SC will be...........
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
I'm not going to rule out Marqise Lee for this year. There is a strong field but Lee has a chance to put up the kind of numbers to make it happen.
When can we expect major improvements to the Coliseum to begin?
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
That's a great question and i don't know the answer right now. I put in a message to Heritage Hall yesterday after the Coliseum announcement to try and find out timelines for when things will get started but haven't heard back yet. I doubt much can get accomplished in time for 2013 but I'll bet there are plenty of noticeable changes by the time 2014 rolls around.
Do you think Erik Brown receives an offer and commits on the spot a la Steven Mitchell last year? Thanks for answering my last question
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
He had one of those discussions with the SC coaches recently, he was asked if he was ready to commit if offered, and he said he was flattered but he wasn't ready to commit. It sounds like he wants to go through the process at this point even though SC is clearly a school is likes. Real good player.
How does SC matchup with the Sun Devils? Personally, this game is pivotal to their season. Of course, all of the games are important!
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
I think that's going to be the first "big" game of the year for the Trojans. ASU is pretty talented, I think SC has more top line talent, but the Devils won't be intimidated at all when the Trojans roll into town. They have good skill players and a great player on the d-line in Sutton.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, that's all we have time for today. There will not be a chat next week due to The Opening event but we will return the following week. thanks.