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 (5:01 PM)
Welcome everybody. Let's get started.
RC (Los Angeles)
When will Coach Kiffen name his starting QB? Where do you see him leaning at this point? And how do you see the offense playing out this season - more explosive and more balance than last year? I hope so. Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
Kiffin has given no indication of when he will name a starter but my guess is that it will happen in the middle of fall camp. Kiffin will want to evaluate as long as he can but he also needs to give the new starter enough time with the first unit before the opener. There is a lot of momentum for Kessler right now but don't rule out Wittek just yet. All the talk is that the offense will be more balanced with an emphasis on controlling the line of scrimmage with the run game. It will be interesting to see if things play out that way, especially with Lee and Agholor on the outside.
Hey Garry, what do you attribute to having unrealiable DB's? Anthony Brown and Torin Harris are bust/undeveloped players. While Seymore and Hawkins are not elite talents. How can we survive in the pac 12 without any shut down corners?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
I think a lot of things come into play. The corners played well two years ago when Sammy Knight was coaching and when Isiah Wiley was in the lineup. Even Anthony Brown looked good that year in his limited action. I do think Seymour has a chance to be a very good player, he just needs to stay healthy and develop. Pendergast has a history of working well with corners in his system but he won't have much time to get this group together since the opponents will be gunning for them all season long.
Matthew (San Francisco, CA)
Is this the best defense has looked since the CPC days?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
Yes. This has a chance to be a good group because the pieces fit the 5-2 system so perfectly. There is still a hole at corner that needs to be addressed but, other than that, the Trojans look real good heading into the season. The front line in particular looks to be a real strength.
I think the Trojans kill it this year! No pressure, and our schedule is weak for the most part. I really think we will be able to run the footbal and our d line will be amazing! What do you think about this and what do you think of our o-line?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
The potential is there for a solid run game, it's just a matter of sticking with it. I agree on the d-line, this is the best overall group on the line for the Trojans in a while. Kiffin has expressed his desire to dominate on both sides of the line, right now the defense would be considered ahead of the o-line but the potential is there for the o-line to come together. A big key there will be the development of Aundrey Walker.
Speaking of controlling the line with the run game and breaking in a new QB, how is Silas Redd's knee coming along?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
Silas hasn't been taking part in summer workouts so the first chance to see him will be in fall camp. The rumblings we hear are that he is coming along fine but we won't know for sure until the pads come on.
Who will be the toughest opponent for the Trojans?
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
Right now I would have to say Stanford. You have to give the Cardinal their due right now with four straight over the Trojans but this year's game could be a great opportunity for redemption for USC. Both teams could have very nice record coming into that game and you know the Coliseum will be rocking.
Shane (Ravello, Italia)
Ty Issac. Based on what you've seen, will he most likely Red Shirt or is he ready to be a bruiser at the next level? How does he compare to Tre Madden, if at all?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
Ty has been more athletic than expected but I still think he redshirts. That has more to do with the crowded backfield than with his ability as the reps will be limited in fall camp. The big comparison you could make between Isaac and Madden is that both are bigger backs in 225 range but I think Madden is more ready to contribute right away.
What is the general opinion you are hearing from fans/ media about Coach Kiffin and if people are satisfied that he is the coach? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
There is a definite sense of "wait and see" this year in regards to coach Kiffin. It's not a secret, Lane knows that he is on the proverbial "hot seat" and he has made a lot of changes in an effort to get things back on the right track. By the way, that wait-and-see opinion extends to recruits as well, if the Trojans have a good season behind Kiffin I think the recruiting prospects will pick up as well.
J (Los Angeles)
How can we expect CLK to take playcall chances this year when games are on the line? I'm thinking back to 2010 and 2012 Notre Dame games. I understand that MB was hurt both times, but that should be no excuse to try not to score aggressively.
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
Will Lane be calling the plays in those situations this year? There has been no announcement about play calling but there is a lot of speculation that those duties will fall to Clay Helton. Kiffin received a lot of criticism for trying to be the head coach and call plays, those are two tough assignments to handle at the same time. Helton handled play calling throughout spring and the response from the players was very positive.
What about special teams?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
Not much to report from this summer. Heidari has been out at workouts and he does his kicking on the side, he looks fine. Kris Albarado will handle punting and Peter McBride will be the long snapper. No word yet on who will handle returns but Lee and Agholor would figure to be in there somewhere.
Oooga (LA )
Is there any indication that tight end's Telfer and Grimble will be featured more heavily in the offense with the departure of Woods?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
Based on what we saw in spring, yes. Don't forget true soph Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, he has shown a lot as well. The thought is that the tight ends won't need to stay in and help block as much this year as last year which would free them up to be a bigger part of the passing game. This is a terrific TE group for the Trojans and they can be real mismatches for opposing defenses.
Garry, We always hear how great the defense is and how good the offense is going to be, but how do they compare to say the top 5 teams in the SEC or Ohio State, etc. It seems like Kiffin always feeds out optimism rather than reality, and expectations are not made. It seems he should undervalue and exceed his expectations!
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
The last two years have been complete opposite in that regards. Two years ago there were not a lot of expectations and the Trojans became one of the darlings of college football by the end of the year when they blew away the expectations. Last year the weight of expectations was a big factor, in my opinion, of what happened to weigh down this team and the coach. As the Trojans head into 2013, you don't hear a lot of talk of expectations, it's more about turning things around and reversing what happened in 2012. I think that's a good thing, the focus is on playing good football rather than worrying about what bowl game is in reach. As to where they stand in relation to top SEC teams or Ohio State, I think the front line starters could match up real well with those teams.
RC (Los Angeles)
Is it true that Adoree J. wants to play offense and not just his DB position at Serra? And if that's the case, where does USC stand in recruiting him? Is USC still tops on his list? Does Coach K see him as defense only - ala recruiting of D'Anthony Thomas? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
Yes, it's true. Adoree' has made it clear that he wants offense to be in his plans at the college level. The USC staff is aware of this and he would be given every opportunity to do it, much like Marqise Lee when he came in. The Trojans are no longer in the drivers seat though on this one, there are SEC schools such as Tenn and Florida that could come into play as well as Big 10 schools like Michigan, or even ND. UCLA will be in the mix as well. Also remember that Adoree' wants to long jump in college, he has serious goals of being an Olympian in that event.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Is Christian Thomas done at USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
Yes, Christian was given a medical redshirt last winter due to hip problems.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
This question has been asked before. But is this the year George Uko steps up and becomes a star for the Trojans?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
I think there is a very good chance of that happening. Uko looked strong in spring and he should team with Leonard Williams to become a terrific pair of interior defensive ends.
Any word on Jr. Pomme rejoining the team ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
Haven't heard anything in the last few weeks. The latest we had heard was that Junior was doing a good job of complying with steps that could see him eventually rejoin the team. My guess is that we will get some kind of update from Kiffin either at media day or after one of the early fall camp practices.
J (Los Angeles)
What will it take for CLK to finally give some praise to Cody Kessler?? I think after that spring game, and the entire spring game in general, he deserves some. It seems that CLK always neglects Kesslers efforts in favor of Witteks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Kiffin actually gave Cody some good words through spring and he consistently talked about how few mistakes Cody was making in practices or scrimmages. He referred to him as a "gamer", which indicates a guy who may not always be flashy but who does well in game situations. What remains to be seen is how things are handled in fall because there are those who agree with what you're saying in terms of Kiffin seeming to prefer wittek. A decision will need to be made on a starter at some point and it could be the biggest decision of Kiffin's career to date.
Any chance Rodgers gets a backup shot this season. Kid reminds me of Deuce Lutui. I realize that Jordan Simmons is clearly ahead of him, will they both settle in at the guard position?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
I wouldn't rule it out at all. Rodgers has flashed a lot of ability in the summer workouts even though they are limited drills. He is strong, has good fundamentals and holds his own against the older players. I do think both Khaliel and Jordan Simmons settle in as reserves at the two guard spots and that would mean the future looks bright there for the Trojans.
So much talk about recruits who might attend SC. Or new kids who might get playing time ... does it matter? With proven studs like Barkley, Woods, Lee and others, SC went 7-6. It's all about failing to make use of available talent!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
You have certainly hit on one key part of the equation. Look at the fact that Kiffin changed almost half of his staff this year, I think that clearly points to what you are saying. Player development is critical to helping get the ship turned around and no amount of talk will accomplish it, the results will only be seen on the field.
Shane (Ravello, Italia)
Your thoughts on Aundrey Walker? With his size, you think we've got another Tyron Smith on the O-line, but do you think his mindset has shifted to be aggressive?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
Great question and I don't think we know the answer yet. If Walker does mature and reach his potential it would be great news for the offensive line and the team in general. With his size and physical gifts, Kiffin is continuing to bet that it will come together for Aundrey but the missed block against UCLA and resulting injury to Barkley shows what can happen when a guy isn't really ready to take on such an important role as LT for the USC Trojans. This is Aundrey's third year in the system and his second as a starter so it's time to take that next step, especially if he has designs on moving to the next level (which he certainly does).
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, we will see you next week