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 (4:59 PM)
Welcome to the chat everyone, let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What USC Trojans College Football Players will be Out For the Season due to Major Injuries?
Garry Paskwietz (5:00 PM)
Kenny Bigelow and Jabari Ruffin both suffered knee injuries and will be out for the year.
Americanbobby, McAllen, tx [via mobile]
Is the josh shaw story a distraction? It is a shame this is taking away from the positive momentum the team was building heading into the season. Also, any update on his timetable to return?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
To a certain extent it is a distraction but i really don't think it bothers the players and coaches as much as some might think. As Sark said today "I've got 104 other players to get prepared for a game and i'm going to do that". it's something that will continue to get brought up until their is a resolution but in the meantime I don't think it will be much of an impact. USC hasn't given a timetable on Josh's return.
RC (Los Angeles)
Do you see this year as redemption year for USC after surviving the sanctions and probations? And is too much to expect that this team, as young as it is, can make it to the 4-team playoffs? And thank you for the weekly chats.
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
You can say redemption, you can say "something to prove", I think statements like those apply to both the players and Sarkisian. No doubt the players want to prove that 10 wins last year wasn't a fluke and they think they found the formula in terms of being accountable to each other. Sark wants to prove that he is the right man for this job and no better way to do that than to have a good first year. I think there would have to be a lot of good fortune regarding injuries to start talking the 4-team playoff but for now I definitely think this team is capable of winning the Pac-12. You're welcome for the chats.
RC (Los Angeles)
How has the team been impacted with the J. Shaw injury and possible developments? Do you see clarification coming out just before this Saturday's game? Can this become a big distraction coming in to Game 1 this Saturday? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
The actual injury and the distraction around it are two different things. The injury and loss of Shaw hurts, he's a senior starter who is one of the best in the country at his position, you never want to lose a guy like that. As mentioned earlier in the chat, I think the issue is a distraction but not a huge one. I honestly wouldn't know if there will be a resolution before the game, I think it would be good for SC if one came as soon as possible just so that the issue can be put in the rear-view mirror.
With the shortage or tight ends, is there any talk of having Vainuku or Pinner play the position part-time?
Garry Paskwietz (5:08 PM)
Yes, Sark has mentioned several times that Soma has some of the same skills that would be used in a tight end-hback kind of role so don't be at all surprised if you see him there. Soma is very capable with the ball in his hands.
Dean (Glendale) [via mobile]
Now that we have a playoff in Division 1 football, will the winner be recognized as an NCAA team champion?
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
Yes, which is one of the benefits of this playoff system.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
How is Pat Haden doing with his health and will this affect being on the Playoff Commitee?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
I did not see Pat today but I talked with someone on campus who had just come out of a meeting with him so apparently he is doing well enough to be in the office. I haven't heard any indication that his status with the playoff committee is in question due to this most recent episode.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA)
Do you think Adoree will play alot of corner now that Shaw is out??
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
Sure. I think Chris Hawkins gets first shot at the starting spot but Adoree' is right there and will see plenty of action.
Larry (Newport Beach)
Garry, please share your view of the cohesiveness/attitude of the team as compared to teams of say the last few years and further to that point how has the situation with Josh Shaw upset that synergy/attitude/cohesiveness
Garry Paskwietz (5:14 PM)
This team reminds me a lot of the 2002 team, one that had played well at the end of the previous year and had a lot of talent, but one thing that had to come together was the offensive line, and it did. This team plays with a similar attitude of having something to prove, they want to build off what happened last year and to show that it was real. This incident with Shaw is a hiccup and replacing him on the field won't be easy but I really like where the team is at mentally in terms of being able to get through it.
Anthony (okemah, ok) [via mobile]
Over or under USC wins 10 games, also why is know body noticing buck Allen nationally I mean this guy did an fantastic job, can you see him in discussing for hiesman this year.
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
That is my pick Anthony, 10 wins. I think this team is capable of getting there and Buck Allen is a big reason why. Sark is going to run the ball and Buck is well positioned to be a 1,500 yard guy or more, and that's with sharing the backfield. If he was the main ball carrier I think the Heisman could be more in play but I do think Sark spreads it around a little, good for the team but not for Buck's Heisman chances.
Brian highland park L.A [via mobile]
Are the bright lights gonna be too much for ajene? Very surprised about farmer beating out Rogers thoughts? Do you mquay will eventually beat out bowman
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
I don't think so on Ajene. i was really impressed with how he came in this summer and made the transition to a new position, and a new level of football, without a hitch. He was so consistent this summer and he carried that all the way through fall camp. Great to see this happen for George, I still think Darreus will be fine but he didn't do as much in camp as was expected, part of that is a bad achilles. I think McQuay and Bowman are very equal and either guy could be the starter.
Izzy (Fountain Valley)
Hi Garry,Cody Kessler put up what I consider fantastic numbers last year when you consider the constraints on the offense before the coaching change. Should we expect better numbers this year with his experience and a more dynamic offense? Really looking forward for to the season starting in 3 days, FIGHT ON!!!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
I agree. Cody's numbers over the last part of the season were pretty darn good and it would surprise me if we didn't see that good play continue. He seems very comfortable in Sark's offense right now.
Spillage (San Jose)
If USC went independent and got a tv contract with a big time network, do you think that would be more of a benefit to the program or a negative since they wouldn't be in the Pac 12.
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
I can definitely see the advantages that would come from having your own network, on top of the financial rewards there would be tremendous opportunities for unique programming designed around the team (does anybody remember Trojan Rewind?). But I also think there are huge benefits to being with the conference, and I would really need to study any realistic numbers to being independent before I would really consider leaving the conference.
MJ (Davis, CA)
If the offensive line plays up to its perceived potential, how many wins do you predict for the upcoming season? Do you believe USC has a good chance of making the playoffs -- if injuries are minimal?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
I mentioned earlier that I think 10 wins is my mark heading into the season. The offensive line is obviously key but I think the defense is really going to determine any real shot at making the conference title game, or more. The talent is there, injuries are such a key point and the defense has already suffered a few with Bigelow, Ruffin and Shaw.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What type of punishment would be levied against Shaw by Sarkisian if his story is proven to be false?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
I wouldn't even begin to guess that one Tony. There is just so much we don't know right now and the punishment, if there is one, could really vary based on what the facts are.
Luke (So Cal) [via mobile]
Do you think there is a chance we see Shaw this season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
Sure. It could end up that the story results in little more than an embarrassing incident, which would mean that Shaw could return when his ankles are healed.
Tarik LaCour (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Could part of the reason Quinton Powell is not starting be because of his size? Also, What should we expect from George Farmer? Finally, do you see Biggie Marshall as a Trojan?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
I don't think anything is relative to size, I just think the coaches looked at a lot of different combinations after Ruffin went down and like some other looks with guys like Cravens or Felix. I'm also guessing Powell will play a lot and it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up back as a starter.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Hi Gary, Leonard Williams is USC's best defensive lineman, but will be leaving for the greener pastures -- NFL -- soon. As of now, who do you rank as his successor once he's off to NFL and why?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
Agree on Williams. I would say his successor would either be Delvon Simmons or Greg Townsend, based on what we saw in camp. If Townsend can stay healthy, he is a guy who could really come on in the next two years.
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
Hey Garry if USC wins at Stanford next Saturday (assuming they beat FS this weekend) do you think they crack the top 10?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
It always depends on what happens to the teams in front of you but yes, I do think that if a #15 USC team goes on the road to beat Stanford, and is 2-0, that they would creep into the top 10.
Lorenzo (Rancho Cucamonga, Ca) [via mobile]
Do you think Hawkins is ready to feel in for Shaw?
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
I think Chris has made a lot of growth in his game and is certainly ready to start. Is he ready to fill in for Shaw? No. Josh Shaw is one of the best senior corners in the nation and I don't think Chris is ready to duplicate that just yet.
RC (Los Angeles)
What is the health status of the O-line? Is everyone available to play this Saturday? what is your impression on the two true freshman players possibly starting this Saturday - D. Mama and Toa L? Thanks for the insights.
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
Jordan Simmons isn't ready to go, Khaliel Rodgers went through brief drills today and Sark said he might be available for the game. Other than that, the two deep should be good to go. I like the potential of the two true freshmen and I think they will be fine for this game, the one thing will be Mama and the ability to go the whole game, don't be surprised to see some substitutions at his spot.
Trojan Dave (Stockton, CA)
Which freshmen will have the biggest breakout season this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
The obvious choice is Adoree' Jackson because he has been as good as advertised but don't rule out JuJu Smith. Not only will both guys be part of their respective position rotations but they will also be part of the kickoff return game too.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Cole Smith the last OL the Trojans take in 2014?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
Doubtful. I think there is one more and my guess would be Darrin Paulo.
Robert P. (Diamond Bar, CA)
With Tre Madden out for maybe a month, I feel nervous about our depth at RB. Aside from Buck and Davis, who do you see as our 3rd guy in the rotation from your observations of practice? Do you see us utilizing our powerful fullbacks more so after Madden's injury?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Soma Vainuku is the 3rd guy right now based on what we've seen in practice. Soma is a load with the ball in his hands, he's not just a big fullback trying to mimic a ball-carrier, this guy knows what he's doing.
George (OC) [via mobile]
With Shaw out, which of the freshmen CBs will not redshirt?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
I think Jonathan Lockett is the one impacted the most. Adoree' was going to play no matter what so that comes down to Lockett or Lamont Simmons, it has been Lockett with the 2's in practice.
Big Drey in Oakland [via mobile]
What happened to Quinton Powell, he was starting now he seems to have dropped a few notches. Love the excellent insight you provide, thanks for your answer
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
Thanks for the comment. It would have been nice to see Quinton seize the opportunity when Ruffin went down to just claim the spot but that didn't happen. The coaches took a look at some other combinations with Su'a Cravens coming down from safety or one of the rush ends flipping over. I think we still see Powell in the line-up a lot.
Realistically, do you think we go into Stanford and beat them? For some reason I really like sark as our coach and I honestly believe that once we get more depth we are going to be aComplete powerhouse! Thoughts??
Garry Paskwietz (5:46 PM)
Yes. I think one of things that will surprise people is the creativity of the offense early in the season. By the end of the year, however, it will be the defense that really has people's attention.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
You mentioned Delvon Simmons earlier. Are you confident the journeymen defensive tackle will put it together for Justin Wilcox? That would be huge considering he was a 5-star guy.
Garry Paskwietz (5:49 PM)
I was really impressed with how Delvon played at nose during the time when Antwaun Woods was out. Delvon brings a veteran presence with size, you don't find that too often but the Trojans found it this year with Delvon and with Claude Pelon. The combination of those two guys really helped ease the loss of George Uko.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
How much does the loss of Shaw, regardless of the reason, damage the Trojans chances of leaving Palo Alto with a victory?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
It can be important because you're talking about the top corner on the team. Shaw is a guy who you can put on the opponent's best receiver and last year he helped hold Ty Montgomery to 4 catches for 23 yards.
Mario,CA [via mobile]
Do u think Adoree gets the start now that josh shaw is out indefinitely
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
No, I think it goes to Hawkins but I think Adoree' plays a lot.
Scott Alvarado (Orange CA )
Do you think Adoree is going to get some time in matching up against Ty Montgomery week 2? Ty is a freak of nature but man o man Adoree reminds me of deion sanders..I think Ty might get stuck on Jackson island what do you think?
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
That would sure be an enticing match-up to watch. I don't know how Sark and Wilcox would choose to defend that one but it sure makes a lot of sense to have Adoree' do it.
Robert P. (Diamond Bar, CA)
Based on the face value of what we know concerning Josh Shaw, do you feel Tim Tessalone and sports public information staff should have done a better job at vetting Shaw's story before going public with his heroic story? I think it could have been handled better, especially from an institution like USC.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
I really want to know what the true story is before making any real judgments. Yes, right now the USC athletic department is taking some PR hits and they are putting out the statements that they had multiple people vet the story and talked several times with Josh about it, and that his story never changed.
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming, that's all the time we have for today. See you all next week.