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)
Good afternoon everyone, let's get started.
Travis TX [via mobile]
Hey Garry what's your gut feeling on our chance with Christian kirk? Also Ajene Harris, do you feel he will have a impact this year ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
I think the Trojans are going to have a shot with Kirk. I realize the Texas A&M Aggies have long been a top school for him too but this USC offense would seem to fit Kirk well. my guess is that Ajene redshirts this year, especially if Steven Mitchell does come back in that slot role. it will be ideal for Ajene to adjust in the strength and conditioning room, and to a new position.
Garry,IYO, who starts at TB Madden or Allen? I think Madden is a tremendous running back but I can't stop thinking about Allen running over that poor Hawaii DB last year.
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
Haha, great memory on that Hawaii play. That was a beauty. i do think Buck gets the starting nod and that's no disrespect to Tre. It's just that Buck is the reigning MVP and it would be right for him to start. I think the interesting thing is that with both Tre and Justin Davis healthy as well, that will be such a strong trio of backs to throw out there.
Alex (Wisconsin) [via mobile]
Do you think an early signing period would help or hurt big name programs like USC, Alabama, etc.?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
I have mixed feelings on it. I completely understand the need for it and how it makes sense on paper but in a practical sense there are a lot of potential issues. A coaching change for instance, if a player commits early to a school and then the coach leaves, is the player still bound to the school? i know the NCAA rules say a player commits to a school so it doesn't matter. But what if that coach is a pro-style coach and the player is a prostyle QB but the new coach runs a spread. it's not practical to tell that kid he is bound to that early commitment. But I also know there are certain recruits who are ready to get the process out of the way early, they have done their homework and there are no issues with the early choice. An early signing period would do so much to help those kids remove the hassles that come with the process.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who does USC Open the 2014 College Football Season with?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
Fresno State. That is also the answer to "Who did the Trojans end the 2013 season with?"
Tarik LaCour (Salt Lake City, Utah)
With Sark's offense going up-tempo, do you see the Trojans recruiting more RG3/Braxton Miller type QB's? Also, where will Ty Isaac land?
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
There is certainly a lot of speculation about this topic and so far there is merit. The first guy he brings in at SC is Jalen Greene, someone who fits that mold and when he was being recruited, Sark told him "I don't have a guy like you on the roster right now". Next is Ricky Town, who isn't exactly what you would consider a strong runner but the key thing to remember is that Ricky moves well in the pocket and is very good with quick decisions. I think that's one thing we're going to see with future QB's is an emphasis on the ones who make quick and accurate decisions. The 2016 will be interesting to watch, the local QB with an offer is Malik Henry, known as a dual threat guy, but K.J. Costello is getting interest as well and he is more of a pro-style. Should be interesting to follow.
With the recent influx of quality corner prospects.....what are the chances that coach heyward decides to move Shelton to safety? I think his skill set is better suited to play safety. Also think that plattenburg has tremendous upside at either safety or corner. I saw him in person his junior year at corona centennial before he moved to Texas. FIGHT ON!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
I think Devian has the size to make a move like that, and right now the Trojans could use an extra body or two at safety. I do think Plattenburg is someone who can get consideration as well. He doesn't have the biggest size but he can play, as you have seen.
TrojanJJ Hopedale [via mobile]
What are the chances of a home and home with Alabama?
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
It doesn't sound like anything beyond media speculation so far. The only legit game that we've heard is a one-time possibility in 2016 to open the season at Jerry Jones Stadium. Either option would be great, a one-time game or a home-and-home, anything to see these two elite programs going at it.
David Wellman (Irvine, CA)
Gary, it seemed like under Lane Kiffin, it was common for some players (Buck Allen being a notable example) to get on his bad side and not get much if any playing time, despite their abilities... First of all, did it ever come out why he refused to give Buck the rock, despite the flashes he showed everyone in practice? And moving to the new regime, any indications that Sark will give his assistants freer reign to coach and make decisions for their respective groups, or is he more of a micromanager?
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
Buck is an interesting example. Yes, he definitely was impressive last fall camp on the practice field but so was Madden and Davis. To that point Buck hadn't really shown much in his career and the proverbial "light bulb" was just starting to go on. You could have made a case for him getting more time but you can't argue with what Madden and David did either. That may have been a little bit of Kiffin doghouse but not a lot, there were certainly other cases that were more notable (such as not playing Allen Bradford on Senior Night against Notre Dame). As far as Sark and his assistants, that is one of the things they praise him for the most, the fact that he lets them not only do their job but he solicits their input in the overall plan and regularly includes that input.
Robert (Great Falls, MT)
are there any recruits that you feel would be committing to SC within next couple weeks to months? Oh and great work Garry love reading your stuff.
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
Thank you. Tyler Petite is going to announce his decision at the end of the month and it will be either USC or Duke. That's a big one as he is the top TE on the wish list. And you can always look for potential verbals at the Rising Stars Camp or The Opening.
Matt (Santa Monica)
Did you see any surprise standouts at the voluntary workouts on Monday?
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
Viane looked more natural at center than I expected him to look, considering he has never played there. I know it's only one summer workout in shorts and a t-shirt so you don't make too much of it but it was encouraging. i also liked what I saw from Toa Lobendahn. Darreus Rogers seems to have made a nice step up.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry. If this team is entirely healthy, do you see this 'SC team winning 10 games this season? Will it make the 4-team playoffs? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
I definitely think a healthy Trojan team is capable of winning 10 games and health would likely play into any chance of making the playoff. This is a talented team and the schedule sets up well for some momentum, especially if they can knock off Stanford early on.
RichK (Porter Ranch, CA)
Will there be a recruiting effort to push for RBs or wait until next year for a better crop of them?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
Sark has said he wants to bring in 2 in this class. Malik Lovette would appear to be one solid local target but the Trojans also made need to look out of state. As you say, it's just not an elite year for running backs based on what we've seen so far. It will be interesting to see if anyone emerges at the Rising Stars Camp.
RC (Los Angeles)
Looking back, could Grimble and D. Bailey benefitted more with one more season under Coach Sarkisian? Would their stock improve with one more season at USC? And where did the two players end up? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I do think Grimble would have benefited to come back and put up good numbers in a system that produced the Mackey Award winner last year. He signed with the NY Giants. As for Dion, it probably would have benefited USC more than Dion for him to come back. Such a great player but he likely would not have upped his stock that much because he still would have been perceived as a tweener who needs to prove himself on special teams. He will get a chance to do that with the Seattle Seahawks.
nokise tanielu (Samoa) [via mobile]
Talofa Garry.......your prediction how many games trojans win if healthy?
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
Talofa Nokise. I'm putting the number at 10 right now. I don't see any reason this team can't reach that mark, unless injuries really hamper the depth.
Matt (Santa Monica)
Hi Garry, do you think the Trojans have any shot at getting Khalil McKenzie now that he has shortened his list to AZ and Tenn?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
With recruiting you just never know. Many of the players who committed at The Opening last year didn't up signing with that school so it goes to show that anything can happen. I definitely get the sense that USC isn't 100% out of it with Khalil.
Brian Los Angeles [via mobile]
Should sark bring back the wildcat that worked very well at short yardage situations with kiffin? What's your take on farmer finally rising from the ashes to overtake Rogers and be a explosive 2nd option? Because Rodgers doesn't have George's speed but foes have stronger hands
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
I think you will like how creative Sark is going to be in the backfield, I think it will be one of his strengths. Right now I see Rogers holding on to that #2 receiver role, he is maturing physically and becoming more consistent. But Farmer looks good, and is staying healthy. There will be a role for him.
Kody (redondo beach) [via mobile]
Does running the up tempo give us a little bit of a bump in terms of defense against teams az st, Oregon, ucla? They've killed us in recent years
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
Yes. Practicing against the up-tempo every day is only going to help the defense in the long run to get physically and mentally prepared to face those offenses in games. Sark has continually made that point in practice, he thinks it is really important.
Eric (LA) [via mobile]
Seems like there's some danger in offering a bunch of 3 star guys when we could potentially fill the class with 4s and 5s. Can the coaches back out of those offers if a kid accepts the offer? Are those offers used to push the 4 and 5 stars to commit sooner?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
Sure that is a danger but it's part of the balancing act in putting together a class because it can be a danger to target and wait for so many 5 stars as well (as the Trojans found out 2 years ago). Right now the Trojans have a balance in the 8 man class, 4 4-stars and 4 3-stars. My guess is Hemsley moves up at some point, and possibly Jefferson too. And plenty of elite talent remaining with guys like Green, Lucier-South and Marshall. The best coaches know how to massage the process, to balance waiting for the big guys while making sure the class is full at the end, and that's not always easy.
What can we expect from Leon McQuay this year Garry? Hopefully a bigger role from the former 5* ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
i think Leon will be the starter opposite Su'a and he looks like he is ready to make that step. Leon is very active on the field with rangy size. He is also a practice field terror when it comes to blocking kicks, it's only a matter of time before it happens in a game.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Why do you think TAMU is the leader for Kirk? Does he have a good relationship with fellow Arizona native Kyle Allen?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Yes, the relationship with Allen is part of it, and because he has consistently mentioned them early in the process. But the Aggies also have a long line at receiver so that could prove to be an issue.
Kevin (Palm Desert, CA)
Chances on Keisean Lucier-South? Dude looks super quick off the edge. Other pass rushers who are real possibilities for '15 class?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
Yeah, Keisean is a good one. I would say the Trojans are battling UCLA in a big way here and it could be a classic local competition to land him. Keep an eye on Porter Gustin from Utah, terrific talent and has an SC offer.
George Los Angeles [via mobile]
When will we be able to see the incoming freshmen practice? Thank you for your time
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
They are starting to arrive right now and are taking part in summer workouts. We posted a video earlier in the week with JuJu, Viane, Ajene, Malik Dorton and Chris Brown. More should be coming as they graduate and get on campus.
Louis (Las Vegas) [via mobile]
With Kahlil Mackenzie off the board. Who other than Green becomes a D-Tackle priority?
Garry Paskwietz (5:47 PM)
Joseph Wicker from LB Poly has a solid offer list already and could get a lot more SC interest.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which is DT is at the top of SC's wish list to join Daniel upfront?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Rasheem Green. Big time talent and SC is in a strong position with him.
Matt (Santa Monica)
Do the Trojans get a scholarship back with the Ty Isaac transfer?
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
No. They do not get a scholarship back to offer to a new player but it does open up one spot on the current roster to offer one to a walk-on, the Trojans can do that as long as they stay below 75 this year.
Has Justin Davis recovered from his injury? How's he look? I like him as an RB and believe he can be just as good as J. Allen.
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
It was good to see Justin doing a little bit of running around the other day, I'm not ready to say he is completely healthy yet but it was positive to see. i agree with his potential, the kid was dazzling at times last year before he got hurt, some special stuff.
Rob (Santa Clara)
Hi Garry, Are you a hockey fan? What's your feeling about the Kings' chances for Cup (the most difficult of all the sports trophies to win)?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
I think this final sets up really well for the Kings. How can you argue with the run they are in the playoffs? it's been wild. GKG.
RC (Los Angeles)
What's the status on M. Wittek? Will he be able to transfer? Is he stuck in limbo if he does not graduate as planned? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
He is definitely stuck in limbo, at least temporarily. He needs to graduate before he can transfer but that did not happen at the end of the spring semester. i'm assuming he can graduate next fall (or possibly over the summer) and then transfer to another school but right now it appears as if that won't happen in time for the 2014 season.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
In your opinion, will the Trojans face Oregon this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Very much a possible conference game match-up, both teams have legit shots to get there.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will the USC-UCLA game in Pasadena determine the division champion? And how long before the game is moved to a neutral site? The 49ers new stadium perhaps.
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Yes, I do believe the USC-UCLA game will determine the South champ. The conference title game will be played in Levi's Stadium this year.
Who will you be voting into the USC Hall of Fame, if you get a vote?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
I do have a vote, and I did vote, but that vote must be kept quiet for now. Some amazing names on the list, that's for sure.
The G.O.A.T. Newport Bch [via mobile]
Defensively I'm very excited about Wilcox scheme. I believe Washington had more sacks and forced more turnovers than our Trojans last season, indicating a very aggressive style. In order for us to take the next step on that side of they ball depth will be key. Just wondering how the second stringers have looked through the off season??? ..... Bigelow, Townsend, Hutch, etc.....do you see any leaders emerging in the depth?
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
I think the depth along the front 7 is as important as anything because it's as good as the Trojans have had there in a while. Look at this reserve line - Delvon Simmons, Kenny Bigelow and Greg Townsend along the interior with either Scott Starr or JR Tavai as the back-up rush end. At LB, either Powell or Ruffin will be a back-up, you have Hutchings behind Pullard, and Dawson will probably be behind Sarao. That is not bad. And the secondary depth should be a LOT better this year with guys like Hawkins, Adoree' and Bowman.
Louis (Las Vegas) [via mobile]
Does 2017 recruit Nathan Tilford fit more in college as a RB or WR?
Garry Paskwietz (6:02 PM)
So hard to tell right now. I'll just say he fits as a physical freak, and I mean that in a good way. One of the more impressive sophomores you will see in terms of his frame.
Garry Paskwietz (6:03 PM)
That's all the time we have for today. Have a great week and we will see you all next week.