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)
Does USC has their Own TV Network to Cover Only USC Games?
Garry Paskwietz (5:00 PM)
No. Games are shown on Pac-12 Network, ESPN/ABC or Fox.
Do you think Damian Mama is ready to start full-time at RG against Fresno? Is his conditioning and pass blocking where they need to be?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
No. I think he's talented enough to be in the rotation but I don't see him as a full-time starter right now capable of going 80 plays at high tempo. He's going to be really good though, he's been working a lot with the 1's the last few days.
Mike Los Angeles [via mobile]
Hey Garry, I understand why recruits can take there time to decide which college that fits them the best. But why is it, it appears most of SC ' S bigger recruits wait till the last second on NSD to announce whereas most top College Football programs have there recruits committed early?
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
I understand it may seem like other schools gets commits early but a look at the ESPN top 10 shows only 2 of 10 players committed so far. Things tend to even out pretty much when you go after elite players as they are the ones who often wait, and schools are willing to wait on them.
Mr. G [via mobile]
Why not move Anthony Soaro outside to replace Ruffin so me can let hitching be the playmaker he is?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
I wouldn't move Sarao right now because you don't know where Dawson is with his health and Sarao offers an experienced player at the spot. If I'm going to look at moving someone with that group i would take a look at Hutchings getting some reps behind Powell but we haven't seen that yet in practice.
Tarik LaCour (Salt Lake City, Utah)
George Farmer is a player I have always liked, do you see him starting at slot receiver? And which way would you put AJAX if you could only choose one side?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
Right now George is playing outside and is in a competition with Darreus Rogers for the starting spot. I really like what i've seen from Adoree' on offense but if I could only choose one side of the ball I would put him at corner, not many guys have the skills he does as a corner.
Love your chats and everything you put out for the fans. It looks like the South Division should come down to SC vs. the bRuins. From a team match up perspective, aside from our D now practicing against our own up tempo offense, what else should help us feel real good about taking that game and moving into the PAC 12 title game. FIGHT ON!
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
I do think that game is going to come down to a berth in the conference title game so it will be a great match-up. I'm anxious to watch how Justin Wilcox schemes against Brett Hundley because the past two years have not been good for the Trojans in terms of stopping him, Wilcox is known to use multiple schemes to keep offenses off balance and that would be a huge test.
Now that cole smith has been offered is there a timeline for his decision? Thanks Garry
Garry Paskwietz (5:10 PM)
I haven't heard a specific timeline but Cole said a decision could come "in the near future".
Mitch (Laguna Beach)
I'm curious Garry, if it is later in a game and the trojans are holding a small lead and needs to burn the clock to keep the ball from the other team, they will of course run the ball, but have you heard if the offense will also revert back to the down-tempo offense or will they continue burning off plays? Thanks.
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
Sark has discussed that and he said he would definitely pound the ball and go slow to help drag out the clock. He is someone who plays to the situation of the game, both in terms of play calling and tempo.
Jason (San Diego)
Good afternoon Garry. In your opinion, what is the main/key differences between Clancey Pendergast and Justin Wilcoxs' defensive schemes.
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
A little hard to answer that yet considering we haven't even seen Wilcox coach a scrimmage yet (that will happen tonight for the first time). But based on what we've seen so far a big difference is the fact that Pendergast stayed in the 5-2 a lot while Wilcox will run more of a traditional 4-3 that can easily shift into a 5-2 when needed against a particular opponent.
Izzy (Fountain Valley)
Hi Gary; concerns, concerns, concerns. The defensive injuries are piling up, how big a concern is the depth on this side of the ball? Also, how is Adoree's foot and how much time will he get as a corner because he is a natural.
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
Sure, the concern is there, and at a few key spots on offense too. There's just no getting around it when you have roughly 20 fewer available scholarship players than other teams. With Adoree', I don't get the sense there is a long-term worry but Sark said after practice yesterday that he doesn't want to take chances with guys like Adoree' by rushing them back now, he would rather wait the extra day or two to make sure they are healthy and ready to go for the start of the season.
Rob (Santa Clara, CA)
Hi Garry, Last year Albarado and the punt protect team were masterful at pinning opponents or not allowing returns. As a result, Albarado took a lot of heat for his mediocre average. This year, we are hearing Albarado is booming punts like Ray Guy. Was last year's scheme responsible for his relatively short kicks?
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
I don't know if "responsible" is the right word but the scheme definitely had an impact. Coach Baxter was big on directional punting and pinning opponents back, and Albarado did as asked. It will be interesting to see his results this year because he is punting great so far in camp.
robert taylor (great falls, mt)
If Sua goes to LB spot for Ruffin who fills the in the void at strong safety
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
Su'a wouldn't necessarily be moving positions, as Sark has explained it. He would be playing closer to the line in nickel situations, which would play to his strengths, but his main position would still be strong safety. The coaches are looking at different options with Ruffin being out and this is the most promising one so far.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
where will JuJu Smith line up against Fresno State?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
I think he will be a reserve wide receiver. The coaches have talked about taking a look at him on defense but they don't want to slow the progress he has shown on offense.
Garry, Do you believe the Power Five will be enacted in January? Why is Notre Dame included since they refuse to join a conference?
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
I do think the Power 5 will be enacted but I have no good answer on why ND is being included. It does seem to be an obvious time to have the Irish either decide to join a conference or not.
We need DL and TEs in this recruiting class! Is there any TEs SC has a shot at? Also could you imagine the LB group of Smith, Houston and Gustin..... wow.... I do realize Smith and Gustin will probably end up having their hands on the ground... but still... wow
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
it's a puzzling situation at tight end this year and I don't see any easy answers. My guess is we might go into the season before really knowing who emerges in the senior year. While I do see Gustin with his hand on the ground, I think Smith is a pure inside backer, and those are hard to find. My guess is Houston goes to SLB but if he grows out of the position he could end up as a rush end too. As you say, terrific group of potential players.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
Garry out of all the freshman who has caught your attention the most through fall camp? obviously Adoree is a freak on a whole other level but Ajenne Harris looks beast mode out there!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
Adoree' is the obvious answer because he really is that good. But Ajene just keeps on plugging along and making plays, he's so consistent. And don't forget JuJu, you don't get a sense of how big he is until you see him up close, a legit 6-2 with thick thighs and strong long arms. There are a lot of other really good players in this class too but this trio really stands out to me.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry. Thank you for the weekly dose of 'SC chats. With the remaining spots available for this next recruiting class, what positions are still of high importance to fill? TE's maybe? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
I still think you want to get at least one more big-time interior defensive lineman (Rasheem Green?), along with a corner (Bigger), an OLB (Houston) and a tight end (?). After that, another TB, 1-2 more offensive linemen, another linebacker, another corner and a safety.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
Garry season is getting close so excited fight on!! but horrible news about Kenny and Jabarri I know our depth on the Dline is really thin how well do you think Williams and Woods are going to play this year? obviously Leonard is an All American but O-lines will be coming from him and all the pressure will be on him to perform...will he rise to the ocassion?? thanks for your input
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I think Leonard is primed to be as good as anyone in the country this year. He's banged up right now with a shoulder but I'm going to assume that is minor and he is back in plenty of time for the opener. He knows he will be double-teamed a lot, he's ready for it, and he also knows that guys like Antwaun Woods will need to step up to make plays when LW is doubled.
Matthew (San Francisco, CA)
Garry, we've heard a lot about the incoming Freshman but how do some of the Redshirt Freshman look (Hutchings, Austin, Rodgers, Falah, etc). Any players standing out?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
Hutchings is really playing well, he would have been fine as the starter if Pullard had left but now he gets another year to learn from one of the all-time good ones. I like where Hawkins is at right now competing for a spot. Cravens (enough said) and McQuay should be the starting safeties. Falah has only been back for a few days now but he looks pretty good considering he hasn't played in 8 months, Nico has been at LT backing-up Wheeler. Justin davis has been sharp in his return. Rodgers is in the mix at RG but there is a lot going on there so nothing is set yet.
Robert P. (Diamond Bar, CA)
With the proven athleticism of Ajene Harris at WR, combined with his QB experience at the high school level, can you vision Coach Sark utilizing him in a trick play, such as a flea flicker or other type of throwing play.
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
I would almost be surprised if Sark doesn't pull something like that out at some point. He's very creative like that.
RC (Los Angeles)
At this moment, who starts on the O-line against Fresno State? Is A. Walker fully healthy? Is M. Tuerk playing center?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
Wheeler is set at LT and I would say Banner is set at RT. Tuerk has only played center so right now I would project him to start there. If Max is at center, I see Toa Lobendahn starting at LG because Aundrey Walker just hasn't been on the field enough to think he would be ready. At RG, it could be Rodgers, it could be Simmons, it could be Mama, it could even be Talamaivao.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
how has Josh Shaw looked at corner? im saying he has got to be one of the best in the country at that position i mean just look at the guy he is so physically gifted
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
Very comforting to have Josh back at corner. Such a physical presence and so experienced too. I like the fact that he was named one of the top 5 corners heading into the season by ESPN, he deserves it.
Drew (Los Angeles)
Do you think Kessler is underrated as a college QB and has he shown growth under Sark since Sark is a QB coach?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
i think he's slightly underrated but I also think a lot of people are giving him his due for what he did over the 2nd half of the season last year. I really like where he's at in this offense under Sark and we'll find out a lot more over the next week or so with a few scrimmages to see the offense in live drills. The system seems to fit him well.
Kevin (Palm Desert, CA)
SC looks very thin at OT. If Wheeler misses any time at LT, is Chris Brown far enough along to help? How has he looked in camp so far?
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
Yeah, there is not a lot of experience backing up the tackles. Brown got several days at the reserve to Wheeler but lately we've been seeing Nico Falah in that spot.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
A little change of pace for you Garry. What backcourt players do you think are likely to join the two big men already on board for 2015?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
Nice twist Derrin. I don't know where things stand with Stephen Thompson Jr but I was a big fan of his dad's in high school so would like to see Junior playing for the Trojans.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
What recruits will the Bruins and Trojans compete with the most for their signature?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
The names I will put at the top of the list are Rasheem Green, Marvell Tell, DeChaun Holiday and Iman Marshall.
Avante (Los Angeles)
If George Farmer stays healthy...I believe he will end up being the number 2 receiver behind Nelson by seasons end. Am I crazy for thinking this?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
Not at all. George has shown an awful lot this camp and if he stays healthy he is definitely capable of earning that role.
USC Owns Los Angeles (Huntington Beach, CA)
As a fan of obscure players who may not necessarily be a 5 star recruit, what can you tell us about OLB Don Hill, WR Aaron Minor and RB James Toland IV?
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
Hill has added some bulk over the off-season and has shown a flash or two in camp. I think he redshirts and is ready to start competing for playing time next spring. Minor has size and ability but he's stuck in a very deep receiver group so I don't know how much opportunity there will be for playing time. Similar situation for Toland, who is one of the better walk-on running backs I can remember seeing. Toland could be getting reps for a lot of schools.
Hi Garry, if you need to circle a trap game for USC on 2014 schedule, that game is gonna be...
Garry Paskwietz (5:47 PM)
Arizona in Tucson, I have too many memories of what happened there last time.
david h (pasadena)
why is it easier for an athlete on a football scholarship to play a second sport (e.g., track, basketball) than vice versa? how do the rules differ, and why?
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
Because the NCAA logic (rightly so) is that schools would use the other teams to get around football scholarship limitations if you were able to be on a scholarship for that team while playing football as well. If you are on a football scholarship, you can play another sport at any time. If you are on scholarship for another sport, you can't play football for two years.
Love the chats, Gary. Who are you most concerned with, Stanford early or ND to close the season, but following Ucla?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
Stanford is top of mind right now. Those last 2 games are what they are and there could be a lot at stake when they happen but early in the season that Stanford match-up looms large, and will be a very telling measuring stick for Sark and his program.
John (Redondo Beach)
Do you see Sark being more likely than the past regime to use 2nd and 3rd team guys if we get a big lead? The only way to build depth is to get the guys reps and it never seemed we rotated guys except for injury
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
Yes, Based on what we've seen in camp so far Sark is doing a lot to get the reserves some time in preparation for when they might be needed. I would think that mindset would apply to games as well when the team has a big lead.
Heath [via mobile]
Do you know what Allen Bradford is up to nowadays?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
In training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a linebacker.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
Garry, is Nico Falah ready to play LT if Wheeler under performs or gets injured or does the line reshuffle and someone jumps ahead of him? Haven't heard his name much at all....where does he stand? Also, seems like we might have a great, great OL class on our hands with the 2014 guys. To think Chris Brown is #4 in that group is silly because I think he is going to be a stud and a 2-3 year starter.
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
Nico has only been back for a few days after a lot of time off, my guess is that he would be able to step in and perform when that time comes but I'm not ready to say it 100% just yet. There is some understandable rust being shaken off after so much time away from the field but I like the fact that he's out there consistently these days, a big step in the right direction. And I agree on the thought of Brown, if he is the #4 guy in the class that is pretty darn good.
Hi Gary, Where do you see Rasheem Green going?..USC or UCLA
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
I still think Rasheem is a Trojan when all is said and done.
Swaggy P (Los Angeles)
Hello Garry! What's the latest on Leonard William's shoulder injury.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Hello Swaggy. The injury is to the opposite shoulder of the one that bothered him last year so that is positive. So far there doesn't seem to be any worries of this lingering too long, as long as he is back by sometime next week I think he would be fine.
Heath [via mobile]
Haven't heard much on mcquay's spring how is he doing???
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
i think Leon ends up starting at FS opposite Cravens. He was one of the most improved players in summer drills.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
How does Jalen Greene look? Do you think if Cody leaves this year and he keeps developing, there will be a VERY tight race between him and Browne?
Garry Paskwietz (5:58 PM)
Jalen has shown a lot of growth in his game. He's got a real strong arm and the consistency/accuracy has gotten better. It could be an interesting competition if it happens because Max Browne has raised his game too.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Speaking of Bradford, do you ever wonder what his career at USC would have been if he played LB full time? I always thought he was better on defense. Your thoughts?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
No doubt. I loved the physical presence he brought as a runner but I never felt he was a natural running back, I did think he was a natural thumper as a linebacker.
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, that's all the time we have for today. See you all next week.