Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC reporter 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)
Welcome to the chat everyone, let's get started
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
Hey Garry! True or False? This game is going to determine our fate in the south division and the future of USC football.
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
I don't know if it will determine the fate in the south division for this year but it will certainly play a big role. Both teams have designs on winning the south and whoever loses the game will be at a huge disadvantage the rest of the way. To say this game is important for that reason is a definite understatement.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, do you think our no official visits during season and uncertiaan coaching situation put us at a recruiting disadvantage no matter our 2013 season record ? FIGHT ON
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
Both of those factors are in play, that's for sure. The "no official visit" policy is notable because it directly impacted the loss of Pickett to UCLA and it could lead to a decommit from Calhoun. The uncertain coaching status is what it is with recruits but so far the majority of them are sticking with the "wait and see" mode.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Hii Garry, Wasn't Kiffin the OC/play caller for Pete Carroll? Why is the offense now so horrid? Was the previous success due to Leinart changing the play calls? Or was the "perfect storm" of talent SC had before the difference? But doesn't SC still have some decent talent? I am confused.
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
Kiffin was the play caller in the latter half of the Carroll era. Norm Chow called the plays up until the Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma. After that it was Kiffin, with Sarkisian also involved to some extent. It was true that during the first year after Chow left, Leinart went to Carroll and asked to go back to the kind of play calling that had been used before. There was plenty of talent for Kiffin at his disposal then and there is still plenty of talent now. Ask Washington State if they would trade their offensive two-deep for USC's.
Knights Who Say Ni (Austin)
Gary, what is your take on Pat Haden's tepid almost non-existent reaction to the glaringly inconsistent NCAA penalties? It sure appears to the untrained eye that the NCAA is only allowed or directed to penalize programs according to the obvious financial interests of the powers that be (SEC and its media partner), that college football has been hijacked through the BCS system by a cartel of sorts, rendering the NCAA as a tool to be used or discarded as needed. Any thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
I thought it would have been appropriate to make some kind of comment about how the reasoning for reducing the Penn State penalties could have/should have been applied to USC. That is what's surprising to me. If there is one thing Haden has done, it's been to put a genuine effort into restoring the compliance efforts at USC and it hit home that those efforts didn't work for USC yet for some reason they worked for Penn State.
Joe H. (Burbank)
Hi Gary. Any chance the offensive woes/limited playbook has been due to Kiffin sandbagging it until the ASU game this week? I'm holding out hope that has been the case.
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
I don't think so but it would be a pleasant surprise. I think most Trojan fans would be happy to see the game plan for Boston College used again this week.
GARY I UNDERSTAND ALL THE TALK ABOUT LANE KIFFENS JOB BUT IF THE TROJANS GET BLOWN OUT BECAUSE OF POOR TEAM PLAY DO YOU THINK WITH A BYE WEEK COMING THE FIRE LANE AND PUT IN EITHER EDDIE O OR CLANCY IN AS INTERIM...
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
I don't see that happening. I just don't think that's where Pat Haden is at right now. I think he means what he says about waiting until the end of the year to evaluate and make any decisions.
Hi Garry,Would you say our offensive problems are because of poor execution, or poor player development? It can't be lack of talent. Right?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
I don't think it's a lack of talent. It also puzzles me how an offense that can have such flow against Boston College can look so out of rhythm in the three other games this year. That would seem to be more a combination of play calling and lack of execution than a lack of talent.
J (Los Angeles)
How can we pull out the win on saturday? This is a tough crowd, the noise and heat will play a factor. It is Kessler's first true road start. I think the defense keeps us in it, but how do you see the offense working differently? This is way too important of a game to coach conservatively, we need to get Marqise Lee the ball, considering how Stanford smoked the ASU secondary. I still say we squeak by, 24-17. Thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
I agree that the key to the game is getting some big plays in the passing game. I think the run game will be decent against a good ASU front but the Sun Devils pass defense is ranked No. 2 in the conference. USC will absolutely have to hit a few big strikes to Lee and/or Agholor to help soften things up for the run and to help get some points on the board. I think the Trojans will need to score 21 or more to win this game.
I think this is it for Lane if wins even if its ugly I think a lot of the heat will be off him because it would be a big road win and set them up well in the south division. A lose and they are 0-2 in the pac 12 and the fire kiffin movement would be like a snowball rolling downhill. My question can USC win this game if they can only score 17-20 points thanks garry
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
Haha, my previous post said USC would need to score 21 or more to win so we are pretty much on the same page. A lot of what you say is true. If the Trojans can win, it would be a huge momentum boost heading into the bye week. A loss would mean a lot of talk and speculation about Kiffin's future, not to mention an 0-2 mark in the Pac-12. For all of those reasons and more this becomes a huge huge game for Kiffin and the Trojans.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Some of the area's top athletes like Ju Ju smith, Adore Jackson etc. are taking their time before announcing their plans. Do you know if any of them will commit to USC without any concerns about who will be coaching this team, or the Win/Loss record for the season -- ala Lobendahn (or Cravens last year)? Guess I'm looking for the names that are all SC no matter what!
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
So far the indications from the top players are that they are still in "wait and see" mode for the Trojans this year. The guys who are "all Trojan" are guys like Lobendahn, Poland and Austin, the key guys on the offensive line who are already verbals. There is still talent out there waiting to make up their minds but USC has some work to do in order to bring them in the fold.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, going into the ASU game, the offense is still a WIP but we keep hearing that "very close" term all the time! Please define "very close"
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
Lane Kiffin would define "very close" in the Utah State game to be the four dropped passes that halted potential scoring drives. Is there a certain amount of truth to that? Yes. Is there also more to it than that? Yes.
With the recent decision by the NCAA regarding Penn State, can we now officially say that the NCAA as a governing board is obsolete and irrelevant? How soon before the individual conferences run the show?
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
I think the NCAA is teetering on the brink as much as any point that I can remember. There is a lot of talk of restructuring the organization next year in the hopes of becoming more reflective of present day realities but you can also say the NCAA wants to do it because they see the writing on the wall in terms of a potential break-away by the big conferences. I think that threat is real and the NCAA knows it so that is part of why they are looking to change.
Jay (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry, can we expect any further action from Pat Haden based on the penalty reduction on Penn State?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
I do not anticipate that. I think USC would be well within their rights to say "based on the ruling on Penn State, we are taking a full class of 25 players next February and we will be playing with an 85 man roster in 2014. If you don't agree, we will see you in court to explain why you reduced the Penn State penalties and didn't reduce ours"
arturo chicago [via mobile]
What top recruits are still interested in the trojans
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Some of the top names include WR/DB Adoree' Jackson, DB JuJu Smith, OL Damien Mama and WR/DB Miciah Quick.
Why did Kiffin switch Walker, Tuerk, and Martin around, and then make the excuse that the o-line is not "jelled". The players on our line have tons of playing experience, just not in their current positions.
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
It's a good question. One answer is that the Trojans needed a new center after the graduation of Khaled Holmes, they had Cyrus Hobbi in place but the coaches wanted competition so they looked first to Tuerk, then to Martin. Once Martin moved to center, they needed a new left guard. Walker was moved because when he got hurt in fall they put Wheeler at left tackle and liked what they saw. They put Walker at RG in competition with Martinez and so far it looks as if they prefer Walker.
Derrick (Culver City)
When you are a sports team in Los Angeles, winning and winning with style go hand in hand (i.e. Show Time Lakers, PC's Trojan teams). Our offense (and offensive play caller) are out of touch and hard on the eyes to watch. This 1960's offense won't bring the fans back. Why is LK so stubborn in not giving up play calling duty?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
That is not always true. Winning doesn't have to be showtime, although that always helps. Look at Alabama, they have a pro-style attack based on a ground game and defense. My guess is that if SC was playing that same style and winning games there would be no shortage of excitement around the program.
Do you think the return of Silas Redd will have much of an impact. Is he that much of an upgrade over Madden and Davis? Is he a better pass blocker?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
I don't think there is much lacking in the run game right now. When Silas comes back he will certainly be a welcome addition but I don't think he unseats Madden as the starter, I think he slides in as part of a three-back rotation with Madden and Davis. Silas is a very good pass blocker so that helps.
afro boogie (tampa)
Why is Leon McQuay lll. Not getting any burn ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
Hello Mr. Boogie. Leon is getting a lot of play on special teams right now and he almost had a blocked punt last week, he blocks kicks regularly in practice so my guess is that it's only a matter of time before he gets one in a game. I think a big issue for him in terms of playing time at safety is that SC is pretty deep at that spot right now and Leon is caught behind some good players.
With the widespread adoption of the spread offense in the NFL, is USC losing its long-standing recruiting pitch that we prep players for a "Pro Style" offense.
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
No. If the offense was performing well there would be no such concerns. There will always be plenty of talent looking to perform in a pro-style offense at a school like USC, especially at the quarterback spot.
David (Los Angeles)
Garry, Like many other USC alumni/fans who saw the NCAA back pedal on Penn St. sanctions I began to ask "hey what about us?" I was disgusted to see the inconsistency of the NCAA but even more disgusted to see Hayden's cavalier attitude towards this situation. What are USC big wigs saying about this and his performance as AD
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
The upper administration at USC made the decision a while ago, after they lost their appeals, to get through the sanctions as best as they can and move forward. This is frustrating to a lot of USC fans but there hasn't been any indication of a change in course. Part of this is the big $6 billion fund-raising campaign for the school, the administration figures it is best to have the sanction cloud gone as soon as possible as they continue with their overall plan.
Afternoon Garry,The "Coli" is looking mighty empty these days. How long before the lack of attendance (money to the USC coffers) has an impact on Haden and Kiffin's job security? Can't imagine recruits are too interested in playing in front of 30-40k when the Coli holds +90k.
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
It's my opinion that a drop of Coliseum attendance would be a huge incentive to get Haden to act, and possibly the most effective path to any change. The lack of crowd impacts the money, the atmosphere, the impression on recruits, etc. It also is important when the university is about to invest $70 million as part of the Coliseum takeover.
Dee (New York)
LK has now won back to back games. Yet the offense is still awful and the cries for his dismissal still ring loud on campus and in the media. I don't think, short of running the table, LK can save his job. With that said shouldn't we move forward and try and save our recruiting class right now as oppose to trying to hold on to them when LK is eventually fired after the season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I can understand your thinking but I just don't think Haden is thinking the same way right now.
Gary I have asked you in the past about how I believe Pat Haden should be fired for how is has handle not only the football program but basketball and baseball. Now that the NCAA decision on Penn ST. has changed, doesn't this make people believe that Pat is to nice of a AD. I think he doesn't have the balls to make tuff decisions, like firing Kiffin and keeping the pressure on the NCAA. Also have you heard anything about Larry Scott doing anything to help USC with the NCAA. I believe Pat should be putting pressure on Larry right now about how Larry should be fighting for USC.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
There has been a growing drumbeat of people questioning Haden recently and the events yesterday made that drum beat even louder. Between his support of Kiffin and his actions with the NCAA, there are a lot of people who are feeling dismayed with his job performance. I haven't heard any talk of pressure being applied to Larry Scott or any words of support for USC from Scott either.
zdub Austin tx [via mobile]
Hi Gary , first time here thank u for having me . How come all think Arizona st the real deal , Stanford trucked them .sayin that they are dinged up in middle ,and back seven average at best . USC 34 - Arizona 17 wats ur thought . We need to support our team ,these guys deserve it ,quit hatin .... Bandwagon fans ... fight on !
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
This is a pattern with ASU. Every few years they have a team they think is going to be pretty good but it rarely turns out that way. Saturday night will be very telling for this year's edition. I'm not going to put too much stock in what happened last week against Stanford because I think the Cardinal are on a different level than the Sun Devils right now but I truly don't know how they are going to respond. The crowd support will be huge and there will be a lot on the line when the Trojans come to town.
Cp [via mobile]
What's up with DJ Morgan?
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
Still rehabbing from a spring injury but he's been getting some work in recently so hopefully that is a sign that he could be returning soon. It's not like the running back spot is lacking right now so they don't really NEED him but it would be nice to have his speed option available.
ben (los angeles)
Garry, doesn't USC have to play an almost perfect game to beat ASU this weekend?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
I don't know if I would say a perfect game but one that has some flow on offense would be nice. It seems like the one time we saw that this year was against Boston College and the result was a very satisfying win. The defense has been consistent and I would expect the same this weekend.
Hi Garry - With the recent penalty reprieve Penn State got do you think there's any chance the NCAA will reduce the final year's penalties for USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
I'm not optimistic. I find it interesting though that the NCAA said they were granting the reductions in part because of the progress Penn State has made toward "restoring the integrity" within the athletic department. USC has made genuine efforts toward beefing up their own compliance department and to see those efforts ignored is a real shame.
Is Kiffin's contract up at the end of this season or was there an extension at some point?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Contract is up at the end of this year.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Garry, have you seen the conference this deep before, are there going to be any easy games from this point forward?
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
It's as deep as I can remember, with as many good coaches as I can remember. I think this can be traced in part to the new media deal that came into play a few years ago where each conference school got $20 million for the media rights. That meant competitive salaries for good coaches, new facilities, etc. and the results have been seen on the field.
It is apples and oranges to compare Penn State's situation with USC's situation. Even Snoop Dogg (in his limo, picking up Silas Redd) understands that.
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
I would point to the two reasons the NCAA gave yesterday for reducing the Penn State sanctions; the progress Penn State has made toward restoring integrity in the athletic department and the need to not deny education opportunities to future student-athletes with scholarship reductions. Both of those apply directly to USC as well as Penn State.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Clancy Pendergast the most valuable coordinator hire in the CFB this year? When you look at the improvement of the SC defense and deterioration of the Cal unit.
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
If he isn't the most valuable, he's certainly on the short list. It's impressive to see the quick turnaround that has been made with a defense that left so much to be desired last year but it playing at an entirely different level this year. Shows the importance of coaching.
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming. That's all the time we have for today. See you all next week.