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 everyone, let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What USC Trojans College Football Players do you think will Play in the NFL in 2014?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
Marqise Lee, Silas Redd, Kevin Graf, Devon Kennard, Morgan Breslin and maybe Demetrius Wright and/or John Martinez.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, do you think USC can stop or even slow down Stanford power running game ? Oregon threw an eight man in the box and could not stop them from getting 3 to 4 yds per carry. Fight On
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
I think it's one of the big keys of the game, obviously. A big key is the health of Leonard Williams with his shoulder, it is definitely bothering him and you're talking about a potential All-American in the middle of the line. The Trojans are already down a star player in Brreslin up front so that will definitely be a factor. i do think SC is as prepared to face this run game as anyone, the Trojans have a strong interiors with Williams, Woods and Uko plus Kennard and Tavai on the outside have been playing well. Should be a great competition to watch.
Hi Garry, how do you feel about our O-Line against Standford D? Do you feel our O-Line can protect Kessler after what Stanford D did to Marcus Mariota?
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
We just talked about the SC d-line but I think you can make an argument that the o-line is just as important. That's what makes this game so interesting. Everyone knows what happened last year with the loss to Stanford and the way the Cardinal attacked the SC offensive line, particularly at center. There's no reason to think Stanford will change that attack plan at all so the Trojans will need to be more efficient than they were earlier in the season. The good news is that the line has played well the last two weeks, the tight ends are all back at practice this week and Soma has been a terror in blocking recently.
J (Los Angeles)
I am speechless at Buck Allen's performance. Does he continue with yet another breakout game vs. Stanford?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
It would be huge for the Trojans if he can do that. Right now, I don't put anything past Buck. What he has done in these last few games has been so impressive, you could see flashes on the practice field in camp so it's good to see him translate it at such a high level.
RC (Los Angeles)
Thank you for the weekly USC insights Garry. Coach O and this team has really performed well these past several weeks. At this point, what would you say are his weaknesses that may take his name away from being the head coach for next year? What is missing from his resume/body of work? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
The biggest thing is a lack of wins as a head coach. That's really the only thing you can point to right now because everything else is going in an extremely positive direction. You couldn't ask for more in terms of taking the team from where they were when Kiffin got fired to where they are now.
With its grind it out offense, Stanford isn't capable of coming from behind, as witnessed by the Stanford vs. Utah game. Do you think Oregeron will roll the dice and try for some big plays early to get Stanford to play from behind? Or will he go conservative and try to establish a running game?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
I don't think the Trojans will waste any time trying to establish the run but i also think they will take an early shot or two as well. The Oregon State game is a great example with the touchdown to Marqise on the opening play. Marqise is healthier than he's been in a long time and you know he's eager to make a big splash in this game. Agholor is also playing well too, that's an area where SC has a clear advantage.
J (Los Angeles)
The path for USC to go to the Rose Bowl is certainly tough. ASU needs to lose twice, we need to win out, which includes beating UCLA, and Oregon/Stanford twice. But, to get the conference championship, the latter is not yet the concern. How do we get ASU to lose two games? How possible is that? Who is ASU more apt to slip up against? Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona?
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
If you're a Trojan fan, the good news is that ASU could lose any of those three games. The Sun Devils have a recent history of stumbling late and those three teams can all put up points. I agree that the path is tough for the Trojans to think ASU has to lose two but it's not out of the question.
RC (Los Angeles)
USC has matched up pretty good against Stanford during these last few meetings. Is this the year 'SC gets over the hump and breaks the losing streak? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
I wish i knew the clear answer to that question. There is a real positive feeling around the SC program right now about the ability to get it done. The Trojans match up as good or better with Stanford as anybody the Cardinal play, it's one of the reasons the games have been so close lately.
RC (Los Angeles)
The running game has been great for 'SC all year. But in order to beat Stanford, should Coach O open up the playbook a bit more and throw a few more downfield? It seems like Stanford could gear up for the running game. The passing game could surprise them. Your thoughts? Thank you and Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Trojans try to open things up a little more in the passing game. Stanford ranks 9th in the conference in pass defense by giving up 250 yards per game. Granted, most opponents are throwing a lot against them because they are behind and they couldn't run but it's an area where SC can go after them with Lee and Agholor. Marqise is as healthy as he has been in a while and he has to have a breakout game sooner or later, right?
With all of the recent o-line and d-line shuffling, I am encouraged that we might be able to handle the girth of Stanford, but do we have enough bodies to rotate and stay fresh through 4 quarters?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
I like the ability on offense to have John Martinez as a flexible guy who could sub in at a few spots, there is also Nate Guertler who has been used as a blocking tight end and could also play at tackle if needed. I also like the fact that all three scholarship tight ends could be available, that would be a huge boost to the blocking assignments. On defense, my first thought is the health of Williams, then I look to the depth. unfortunately, there is not a lot up front.
Is Cyrus Hobbi healthy? Why isn't he playing?
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
Cyrus is healthy lately and has been a reserve center. He played last week against Cal.
RC (Los Angeles)
With the recent success of USC against Oregon State and Cal, do you see an upswing in recruiting momentum even with the coaching status still uncertain? Or are the recruits still waiting for that big name hire before considering USC? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
i don't get the sense that recruits have any designs on a big-name hire other than Ed Orgeron. it's pretty clear at this point that Orgeron would be the hire who would generate the most overwhelming response. That's not to say recruits wouldn't eventually get fired up on another choice that was made but right now they've made it clear they want Orgeron.
Do you think Cody Kessler can be an elite quarterback at the college level. Is so why? Thanks Garry
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
I definitely think Cody can be a elite winning quarterback at the college level. is he ever going to be the flashiest or the top pro prospect? Maybe not. But over the last two games he is 31 of 38 for 417 yards and 3 TD's with 1 pick. Those are real steady numbers and you get the sense they are not a fluke, it's just progression as he gets more comfortable in the job.
Status of Tre Madden? really need that 3rd runner.
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
Tre dressed for practice yesterday but he was very limited. I don't think there will really be any status update up until game time, the hamstring is clearly bothering him but the coaches would still love to get some carries out of him.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does Ed Orgeron keep the job if USC upsets the Cardinal?
Garry Paskwietz (5:33 PM)
If SC beats Stanford, it would surprise me if Orgeron doesn't get the job.
Vic (Los Angeles)
Garry- are we in good shape if pullard, bailey, and shaw go to the nfl?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I wouldn't say good shape, those are 3 of the most productive defenders so you never know how you will replace them. Hutchings would be the likely replacement for Pullard and i do think Michael would step in and do well. With Cravens and McQuay, the Trojans are well stocked at safety but it's just so hard to duplicate Bailey's ball skills. Could Bowman be that guy? We haven't seen it yet. Shaw would be the hardest to replace, in my opinion. Chris Hawkins would likely be the first look.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Heard a rumor about D Mama showing interest in DRuins! Is this a legit story or wishful thinking?!
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
Yeah, Damien has shown a level of interest in UCLA for a while but I still think SC is in the lead spot. He had a good visit to Bama recently but he is waiting to see what happens with the Trojan coaching spot before doing anything.
BenDair (out there)
Rank the rivalries for USC: UCLA/Stanford/Oregon/ND?
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
ND. UCLA. Stanford. Oregon.
1diehardSCFan (Bellingham, WA)
Just for fun, name your starting running back for the opener next season...
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, thanks again for this segment. If the (NFL) draft eligible players decide to leave early, how do the numbers look, and will the coaches be able to replace the departed group -- with incoming players --until the team reaches 75 scholarships or not?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
The coaches would not be able to replace any early departures so any loss this year would be particularly tough.
Hi Garry, Trojans looking good, seems like team is playing with lots of confidence! I think we are playing Stanford at the perfect time, Stanford is a great team but I think the trojans will take care of them. It is hard for any team no matter how good u are, to get up emotially back to back weeks its human nature! Oregons front 7 is not as physical as the Trojans front 7, and I just think we have better athletes to that match well against stanford especially at the skills position! Great job of coaching by coach CEO, he is using coach carrols philosophy, lots of mental toughness and they focus more on themselves than their oppenants which to me that's exactly what brings success! If they beat Stanford that's goin to build even more confidence, game day will be here and it will be a huge crow that's a lot momentum goin the Trojans way! Fight on! Thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
Soma (University Park)
GP - is there any chance I get a chance to carry the ball on Saturday ? we haven't had a FB carry all yr and I'm ready ...
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
Would love to see it. #31 has looked great lately.
are you as impressed as I have been with the job Clay Helton has done post kiff?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
These last two games have really been a step up for Helton. i think the offense has shown real good balance and there seems to be a nice flow with the play calls. He deserves a lot of credit.
johnny trojan (socal)
Before the season started, people thought Cody had some ability to scramble and pick up yds with his feet (which Hogan does well for the card) ... I've heard he shows more mobility in practice than we see in games ... have you seen it? and if so ... why aren't we seeing it in game? The QB moving the sticks with his legs can be huge and I'd love to see Cody surprise us(c) vs the farm ...
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
He has shown the running ability a little, particularly on the long run late against Notre Dame that got called back due to penalty. That was a terrific play by Cody. It wouldn't surprise me to see Helton start to use him more on the move with the option to run if needed.
Rick N (Madison)
Can you think of any other time when a mid-season firing of a HC has led to such an immediate improvement in results?
Garry Paskwietz (5:47 PM)
No, I really can't. Of course, it's rare to see a coach fired in September and to allow for the interim guy to really put his stamp on things but Orgeron had the chance to do that and he did it well. What a turnaround.
west coast football junkie (Irvine)
To me the key to beating the Farmboys (and most other teams) is the ability to get the other team off the field early in drives and the ability to sustain drives and/or score on O. Stanford's O-line can only wear you down if they are sustaining those drives for multiple series. We've got to hope to stop Furd drives early to be successful and stay fresh along the front 7. Your thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
Agree about needing to sustain drives and score. That will be key for the Trojans. Allen and Isaac are very capable backs but it would be nice if either Madden or Redd were available.
RC (Los Angeles)
As much as I enjoyed watching USC's running game blossom these past few games, the passing game will be the key whether it's the long passes to M. Lee and N. Agholor or short screen passes to B. Allen & T. Isaac and hopefully even S. Redd. Your thoughts? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
I think you will have to see some success throwing because it's just not likely that you will run the ball all day on Stanford. The good news for the Trojans is that the passing game weapons appear to be healthy.
Coach Riz (Fort Worth)
What have you heard about the predicted attendance at the game? The coaches and players seem to have really called on all SC fans to show up and be the Home Field Advantage.
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
Yesterday I was told the 80-85,000 range but, as you say, there has been a real big push to get people out there and there is a lot of buzz about the game. Would be great to see that get bumped up to a sellout.
GP - the thing I like about the O post Kiff is that there are so many more 'go to' guys ... Marqise is just one of many guys that the D has to worry about ... with the TEs back this week maybe they can get involved as well ... your thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
Think about it, the offense has been making this recent surge for the most part without Marqise, save for the opening touchdown against Oregon State. That just proves your point about how the balls are being spread around and guys are responding. Buck is the perfect example of that but so are guys like Darreus Rogers and De'Von Flournoy, or even Soma getting a few passes lately. We mentioned Helton earlier in the chat and i think he should get a lot of notice for this.
DC (Denver, CO)
The O-line will be challnged this season but last season was tough with Holmes out for that game, the leader of the o line and team captain. I would think Stanford would attack Wheeler on the edge, he has looked lost at times.
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
The timing of the return of the tight ends is more of a benefit to help with blocking assignments than as pass catching options. Look for the tight ends to stay in and help a lot.
Someone just asked about Buck .. and he's been a breakout star ... a real homerun hitter, but I'm worried that he's not been asked to carry more than 10-11 times in a game ... I'm really hoping Tre or Silas can be back to complement him. Ty had a nice game vs Cal after the 1st series, but I'm not sure he's ready for the Furd ... yet.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
I hear you. Would be more comfortable for SC to go into a game like this with more than two running backs who are short on experience, no matter how well they have done in that limited action. Redd would be a great equalizer in this game if available.
GP - Our blocking seems to have really improved over the last several games ... way fewer missed assignments, holds whiffs etc. - have you sensed the same thing - and if so - to what do you attribute it?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Orgeron mentioned that yesterday and he gave credit to new schemes being implemented to fit these backs.
any recruits attending this wekend
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
Here's a link to the list: http://www.wearesc.com/forums/forum/trojan-recruiting/14777-expected-visitors-usc-stanford
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
That's all the time we have for today, thanks for coming everybody.