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.
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
How close was James Franklin close to getting hired? Did he even have a chance?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
Not close. He didn't make the final round of candidates.
one thing im excited about the new head coach is the possibility he brings a old classmate of mine keith heyward to the staff from Washington to coach dbs ! you see this as a likely or possible outcome ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
It's definitely been rumored as a possibility but nothing confirmed. I think it could be interesting if Wilcox is hired at UW as head coach and if he tries to keep Heyward. I've heard nothing but good things about him as a coach.
juan (rancho cordova)
Hey Gary, do you see any recruits start to lean toward SC with the hiring of coach sark? And do you see any washington commits follow sark to SC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
I would say it helped USC with Jaleel Wadood as much as any recruit. Wadood said he was looking at Washington because of Sark and that the hiring would help USC in his eyes. If there is one UW commit that would make sense to target it would appear to be CB Jonathan Lockett from Mater Dei. USC needs corners in this class and Lockett is a good one.
What do you think of Zach Banner's potential? Is he a bust?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
I don't think you can call him a bust. He redshirted and then got hurt this year while playing behind a 3-year starter. The real test will come next year, his third year in the program and a chance to start fresh with a new staff. The biggest key for Zach to see if he can reach his potential is his agility, his band. He's a big guy and that makes it harder for him to get leverage. When he gets it, it's impressive because his size just can engulf defenders at times. He just needs to be able to do it consistently.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What College Football Bowl Game will USC Play in this Season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:06 PM)
Most projections have USC playing Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21st.
GARY: With everything going on do you think the door is open for ED O to come back if a h\c job doesn't come about or has that ship sailed on, it sounds like his pride hurt more than anything that's why he left.
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
That's a tough question. There was nothing but praise yesterday in the room from Haden and Sarkisian for Orgeron so you would hope that door would be open. To be honest, I don't see that scenario happening though, I think it was too emotional of a break on Monday and it would surprise me to see Ed look to come back.
How would you rate Max Browne's athleticism? Is he a statue like Leinart? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
I've always thought Browne had a lot of similarities to Peyton Manning in terms of his build and his movement skills. Peyton is not swift by any means but he gets by enough to put up some huge numbers. That's the way I see Max, he is savvy enough in the pocket to do what he needs to do.
Hi Garry, do you know what happened on the interview between Pat Haden and JDR? I thought if Coach O was not offered the head coaching position, it would be JDR or Chris Petersen to grab the head coaching position. We knew Chris Petersen withdrawn from the coach search but we don't know what happened to JDR.
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
The interview went well with JDR but a big sticking point was the lack of college coaching experience. The guys that SC really focused on were all college head coaches so that was definitely a priority in the search. There just wasn't any way Jack was going to overcome that since he has always coached in the NFL.
Jay (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry, do you think the timing on hiring Steve Sark is right? We know Coach O will not get the job since he lost to UCLA and ND. However, don't you think Pat Haden can announce the decision after the bowl game? I bet the players and coaches may not have the best mood or moral to play in bowl game since Coach O is gone.
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
I thought it was important for the timing to do it fairly quickly after the regular season ended. I didn't know it would happen right away on Monday but I figured it would have happened by today at the latest. A big key was the ability to get a quick start on hiring available coaches, to get plans in place for the first recruiting weekend on the 13th and to start talking with the draft eligible juniors about their plans. As far as the morale for the bowl game, Sark will not coach but he will be there so this will be the first chance for players to perform in front of their new coach, and the last chance to play together as a team.
Jon Gunner (Washington DC )
How do you feel Sarkisian will do with this years Recurting class ? can he finish strong enough to compete next yr? I'm really exticed for the '15 class with him in charged and sanctions being lifted.
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
I think he's going to do really well. Sark is a very good recruiter and he already knows the majority of the recruits on the USC list because he's been recruiting them while at WAshington. He's not going to have to introduce himself to them, they already know him and like him.
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
Hey Garry I hope you had a great thanksgiving. I wasn't to excited about the hire but after the smoke settled I get it. He has all the tools to make it work at USC although his record was not impressive I think Sark will turn out to be a good one.
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
I've long thought that Sark would be a good fit to be the head coach at USC, going back to his time as an assistant. I agree that he has the tools and now he has al the resources and tradition that he could ever want to build a program. He was pretty realistic about that last night in his press conference too, he knows what the standards are at USC.
Bill (Thousand Oaks)
Do you think the manner in which we lost to UCLA cost Coach O his chance; i.e., no halftime adjustments to turn the game around?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
I would say only as much as it contributed to losing the game. If the Trojans had won, it would have been very interesting to see what Haden would have done. The more we learn about the search, it's pretty clear at the end that Haden and crew were focused on Sark as the guy they wanted.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Garry, any word on Ass't Coaches either new or now on staff. If no news, who on staff will be retained in your opinion. Thanks & FIGHT ON
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
No news yet, Sark was asked about it yesterday but he said he wasn't going to get into names yet. I think a huge variable is what happens with Wilcox at UW, I would imagine Sark is looking to bring him to USC but there is talk that he could get UW job. That could impact the whole defensive staff that Sark wants to bring in. On offense, I would think Tommie Robinson and Tee Martin could be strong options to be retained.
RC (Los Angeles)
i think the best scenario for USC was if Coach O stayed and taken the assistant head coaching job under Coach Sark. (Not necessarily the best for Coach O). Would Coach O fit in with Coach Sark's plans? And didn't they work together under Coach Pete Carroll?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
They did work together and from what I understand the relationship was fine. I just think Orgeron felt it was best to leave after the process was complete, and he will get a chance to pursue one of his major goals, which is to be a head coach.
Garry, looking at all the changes that SC has gone through in th past few months, I realize if I were and odds-maker, my family would starve! So I won't offer a prediction about whether Hundley stays or decides to enter the draft. As a die-hard Trojan fan, I'm hoping he declares. I do know that, while ucla has a very nucleus of talent, Hundley is the engine, most definitely! Are you hearing anything that would lead you to believe that he's leaning one way or the other?
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
I haven't heard anything one way or the other but the Bruins have some momentum right now and my guess is Hundley will look to be a part of it for another year.
Garry, Any feedback from current committed recruits on the CSS hire? How about recruits waiting to see who would be named head coach? Anything negative from those recruited by Coach O?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
The feedback has been pretty positive. Sark is a very good recruiter and he knows a lot of the SC recruits because he was already recruiting them for UW. The news of the Sark hiring came while the CIF finals luncheon was going on and guys like Adoree' Jackson, Jaleel Wadood, jonathan Lockett and Shay Fields were in attendance. All felt this was a positive hire for USC.
can we not all just take the media spin on the kiffin hire and insert sark and reprint? what makes sark (and his shiny 7 win seasons at UW) any better than kiffin?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
There are some similarities in their backgrounds, sure, but there are also plenty of differences between the two in terms of the way they operate as people and as football coaches.
Why no tears coming from Seattle? If Sark is soo great, wouldn't Washington be saying something? maybe they are releived they don't have to fire him and pay him off.
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
That is definitely one the knocks on Sark. There are a lot of people who wondered if his job would have been in danger had they lost a close game to WSU at the end of the year. Haden is definitely looking beyond the 34-29 record on this one and he admits that the only way his decision will be judged is on how it works out.
Scott (Los Angeles)
I have three coaching staff-related questions: 1.) Will Lupoi join the USC coaching staff? 2.) Is Tee Martin staying? 2.) Have you heard that Kenny Polamalu might come back to the staff?
Garry Paskwietz (5:33 PM)
No word on Lupoi or Tee. I don't think we will know anything until Washington makes a hire, if it is Wilcox then that could change some plans. It looks like KP will be joining Jim Mora's staff at UCLA.
I don't know what to make of Coach Sark as our new leader. I love his offense but correct me if i'm wrong but last I remembered DEFENSE wins championships. Coach Carroll was successful year in and year out because of his defense. Will Coach Sark be able to bring back that intimidating stingy defense that overwhelms opponents. I'm sick and tired of getting beat by all these pac12 teams with gimmick spread offense. Bring some clarity to make fans understand how that will happen.
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
Haden definitely put a priority on hiring an offensive coach and he got that in Sark. The big key will be who he hires as defensive coordinator and right now we just don't know who that would be.
Will Coach Sarkisian reimplement the bubble screen at SC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
He mentioned three things about his offense - speed, balance and power. It will be a no-huddle and it will incorporate elements of the spread, including bubble screens (he specifically mentioned that yesterday). He also had an 1,800 yard rusher this year (A Doak Walker Award finalist) and a Mackey Award finalist at TE, which is encouraging.
Dillon (La Canada)
Garry I just wanted to tell you that you're awesome. Also do you think Kessler keeps the QB job next year or does Sark give Browne a fair shake? I say go with Browne!
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
thank you for that Dillon. You have to remember that Sark recruited Kessler hard at UW and Cody almost went there. Kessler said Sark was the coach who recruited him the best but he just couldn't turn down the chance to be at USC. Browne is a big talent though and he will certainly be given a chance.
lynn tanielu (samoa)
Talofa G.P.....with the lost to Ucla how cofident are we with the recruits? Faafetai lava.
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
Talofa Lynn. I don't think recruiting is going to suffer, Sark is a very good recruiter and already has positive relationships with many of the USC recruits because he was recruiting them for Washington. Of course, so much will depend on his staff but he had a good recruiting staff at UW and I doubt that will change at USC.
Hi GaryI wanted to thank you for following up the Trojans for a very long time, guessing that you have been doing this wonderful service since 1997. Great appreciation to you and your team (Blair, Steve, Greg and others). We are very lucky to have you covering the Trojan Football team, Fight ON....
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Thank you Palani, we appreciate it.
Matt Browne (Los Angeles)
Do you think i got a chance to start next year Garry?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Only if you learn how to spell your name right.
Do you think USC will land Damien Mama, Adoree Jackson, and Juju Smith even after coach O left?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
i will say yes on Mama and Smith. With Adoree's, I think the loss of O was evened out by Sark, who Adoree' also has a good relationship with. Adoree' was clear that this hire was a positive for USC in his mind.
There has been a lot of speculation about how the current commits and recruits will be influenced by the selection of Sark as head coach. Can you think of any players who were previously not considering or only marginally considering SC who are now a good possibility for us?
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
The guy I would put at the top of the list is corner Jonathan Lockett from Mater Dei, who is a verbal commit to UW. I think he's a very good player and the Trojans need corners as a priority in this class.
RC (Los Angeles)
What is the mood of the team now that their new head coach has been introduced? Do you sense any of the underclassmen declaring for the NFL due to this head coaching change? Thank you and Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
The mood at first was very emotional after the departure of the beloved Orgeron. As time goes along, however, and the players get to know Sark, I think things will slowly get back to normal. Sark is a good guy who has always had good relationships with players in the past, no need to think that is going to change now. I do think he will have some work to do quickly with some of the underclassmen, the Orgeron stuff is still fresh in their minds and you hope they don't make rash decisions, Sark said yesterday it will be his job to get them as much info so that they can make educated decisions.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Who would you have hired if you were the athletic director at USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
I had Jack Del Rio at the top of the target list through the process. I always liked Sark and always thought he would be a good head coach at USC but I thought his record at Washington would be something that would give Haden pause because he just hadn't shown the dominant record yet. Haden looked past that, saw a guy who did good things to turn around that program and who had the vision that Haden was looking for with the Trojans. I think there's a good chance he's right.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you surprised Orgeron resigned and even decided not to go coach the kids in the bowl game given what they've been through? How big a blow is his departure from USC?
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
Yes, I was surprised. I thought O would have wanted to see it through with the players, something changed his mind though and it had a dramatic immediate reaction from the players (and from Orgeron). it's rarely good to see something like that within a program, especially with such a positive atmosphere that had been built over the past two months by Orgeron.
Drew (Los Angeles)
How do you see Kennedy Polamalu to ucla affecting our recruiting class, if any? Was he really that awesome of a coach?
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
Right now the Trojans have a verbal from Viana Talamaivao and are considered to be the leader for Damien Mama and JuJu Smith. All have connections to KP in the past and they share Polynesian backgrounds. it wouldn't surprise me at all to see KP take a run at that group, and many other USC recruits. Chris Brown is an OL at Loyola who has an SC offer, KP has been coaching at Loyola for this past year so you have to imagine he will look very hard now at the Bruins. I thought KP was a terrific coach and he has an unusual loyalty from his players that you don't see too often.
Gary, is there a preferred time frame as to when a majority of the staff is in place? Does it rest on who WA hires as head coach?Will SC still focus nationally on recruiting? Thanks
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
There are a couple factors in play. The Trojans are still planning for a bowl game so they will need coaches in place for that, which means new coaches couldn't come on board prior to the bowl game, unless those new coaches took the place of a current coach. Also, the UW hire is a factor, since Wilcox is mentioned as a candidate for that job and the USC DC job. I don't think the recruiting plan will change much at all, it's one that Sark is very familiar with.
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, that's all we have time for today. See you all next week.