Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC blogger 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 (5:01 PM)
Welcome. Let's get started.
Bob (Westlake Village)
Is Dawkins at Oaks a possible candidate for a offer ?
Garry Paskwietz (5:04 PM)
Sure. He's a big guy who comes from a big time program. so far the recruiting attention has been a little less than expected but that could easily pick up as things go along. So far SC only has one offer out, to Keller Chryst, but there doesn't appear to be any signs of Keller leaning in any particular direction yet. If he heads elsewhere, I wouldn't rule out someone like Dawkins.
With Chad Wheeler having such a great spring, why not place him @LT? This woyld provide competition for Aundray Walker as he is just inconsistent and unnstural at LT position? Kevin Graf is a proven veteran. Why play favorites?
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
I thought Wheeler was making some nice progress but there wasn't a sense he was challenging for a starting spot yet. I would have put him right back at left tackle in the fall when he returned to hopefully give some competition to Walker but Kiffin decided to go in a different direction with putting Wheeler at right tackle. That decision has raised a lot of questions as Graf appeared pretty set at right tackle while Wheeler wasn't even at the position when he got hurt.
Kalven (Bay Area)
Give us some out-of-state prospect (names, positions) SC recruiters are pursing?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
The state of Arizona has a lot of prospects this year, and SC already has a commitment from one of the best in OL Casey Tucker. There is also an offer out to TE Mark Andrews, WR Jalen Brown and interest in QB Kyle Allen. Another TE who is getting a lot of interest is Ian Bunting from Illinois, he got a visit from the SC coaches already this week and plans a trip to the SC campus soon.
Who is the strenth and conditioning coach? Over the last 3 yrs.- strength and conditioning have been a major problem. The team has tackled poorly and been gased at the end of games. The team has been physically dominated by teams. Sanctions are the excuse. Now the joke - Spring Touch Football Game - How will the tackling and conditioning improve if the problem isn't addressed? The program needs to change/adapt - what they've tried over the last 3 yrs. has failed - get in condition, tuff-in-up and tackle. Please no more sanction excuse. Who is the strenth and conditioning coach?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
Aaron Ausmus is the USC strength and conditioning coach. He was a track athlete at Tennessee under Chris Carlisle's tenure as S&C coach and Carlisle brought him to USC. Ausmus was also with Orgeron at Ole Miss and then with Kiffin at Tennessee. Kiffin brought him to USC when he was hired as well.
Why does lane throw his players under the bus? Comments about Kessler having least superior arm last year and now questions his height?
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
Kiffin does have a blunt style when talking about his players at times. In regards to Kessler's arm, I did an interview with Clay Helton last week to talk about the quarterbacks and he spoke very highly of Kessler's downfield passing this spring. He thought Cody did a great job in that area.
mesquite tx. [via mobile]
Why arent USC recruiting some top level d-lineman harder such as Lorenzo Carter, Dashawn Hand, & Andrew Brown.
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
There are offers out to all three guys so that's as much as they can do at this point. Now the important time comes with the spring evaluation period, especially for the out of state guys. This is a chance to have a phone call and make an on-campus visit to make the kind of impression that can get some momentum with the recruit. D-line is a huge priority for this year so I'm sure Ed Orgeron is going to be hitting it hard over the next month.
Looking at the Trojan's schedule I have a hard time seeing more then 9 wins. Seems like ND, UCLA, and Stanford are almost for sure losses and with an inexperienced QB and lack of depth you have to think they lose one game to a less talented team also. Should I be more optimistic?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
It sounds like 9 is the mark that most Trojan fans are projecting right now, maybe 10. As you say, you can put up a 9-10 win season and still have losses to the three biggest opponents on the schedule. Those two rivalry games will be especially key this year for Kiffin in terms of his future prospects.
How can you evaluate anything from the spring game? The game is tackle football. Maybe the reason LK teams have had such a problem tackling and with conditioning - is lack of practicing what you need to improve. I know - the sanctions - cause poor tackling and conditioning.
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
The non-tackling made it really hard to judge anything, and that was a shame for the fans. There really was some good hitting this spring and it brought about some good results that the fans would have liked to see. Unfortunately, the injury bug rose up and didn't allow it. A few things that I thought stood out from the spring were the hard running of Justin Davis, I think he is going to be a real surprise this fall, and the performance of the front 7 of the defense. I think the interior of the d-line is going to be a strength and that was one of the hallmarks of the great SC teams under Carroll. Leonard Williams played at a very high level and George Uko wasn't far behind.
Kalven (Bay Area)
Michal Quick vs Speedy Noil? Who has the cooler name and which prospect has more upside?
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Both great names. I think Quick is the real deal with the ability to contribute on either side of the ball. If you're going to talk cool receiver names from this class, you must include Equanimeous St. Brown from Servite HS.
D.J Morgan is being wssted. Even if healthy, Kiffin seems to give him short end pf stick. The kid is one of the best athletes on team. Do you see him asking to moce to Cb?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
No because I think he offers a unique skill within the running back group, breakaway speed. As deep as this group is, and Kiffin recently said it would be the best group since he's been here at the position, there isn't anybody else who can offer was D.J. can. He was running as the solid No. 2 back before he got hurt so he was getting his touches.
Coach Kiffin has a quandary. Start the undersized but efficient college QB or start the proto-typical QB that has shown flashed but has not done anything out of the ordinary to claim his spot of being number 1. My gut tells me Coack K will leave Kessler out to dry and hand over the reigns to Wittek. My gut tells me that Coach K considers Wittek having a better NFL future than Kessler.
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
There are a lot of SC fans who share your opinion. I'll say this, it's a real close deal right now but if there was a game next week and I had to choose a starter, I would go with Kessler. He really looked good this spring. But Wittek had his moments too after he came back from his knee injury, he completed 12-14 passes in his first scrimmage back and offered everything you would want from him that day. It will be real interesting to see how it plays out.
patrick mesquite tx. [via mobile]
How can USC get better play from the secondary
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
If there is a clear answer to that I'm sure the coaches would listen. I would call that the No. 1 concern heading into next fall. The immediate answer is to get better play from the corners because I think the safety spot is going to be fine. In fact, there are so many bodies at safety that Kiffin has said he will likely move Shaw back to corner, even though Shaw was clearly the best safety in spring. Even though the safety spot would be hurt by moving him, I completely understand the move because you need to do what you can to fix things at corner. I think Seymour is option number one, if he can stay healthy he offers the best man coverage skills out there. Anthony Brown is the other starter but he hasn't locked the spot down yet. Torin Harris is still in the mix but I say watch out for some of the younger guys such as Chris Hawkins, Ryan Henderson or Devian Shelton. Devian had a real nice finish to spring, he's got good size like Seymour.
Garry,What's the status on Abe Markowitz? It seems we have room for him.
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
As far as I know Abe has not officially been granted a sixth year yet. There was some talk a few weeks ago about things possibly working out for him at the University of Hawaii but nothing was confirmed. It's a real strange process involving NCAA eligibility rules so we just don't know where things stand.
If attendance falls this year snd we finish in middle of pack, Do you see Pat Haden firing Kiffin. All problems start with leadership. Lane just serms lkke a stubborn guy.
Garry Paskwietz (5:39 PM)
I don't think there's any question that Kiffin is on the proverbial hot seat. He's got Haden's "150%" backing for this season but there will be a lot of attention paid to how things go this year in terms of determining his future.
jeff torres (whittier)
whats it gonna take to get back to pete carrol,john makay,john robinson football...where college football goes through sc !!!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
I think the immediate answer to that is a return to a physical style of play that more closely resembles those teams. Kiffin has used the words in the off-season to say he wants to get back to that toughness mentality of dominating on both sides of the line, now it's just a matter of translating those words into the play of his team. If that happens, I think it would be a huge step for the program. And also, go back to black cleats, which is rumored to be happening.
Hey Garry. What are the chances that USC can run the table this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I'm not going to sit here right now and say the chances are good. Is it possible? Sure. If a lot of things fell into place there is certainly a level of talent that could get it done. But right now there are question marks in certain areas as the Trojans break from spring ball and the answers simply won't be known until the fall.
Kevin (Thousand Oaks, CA)
While it was hard to judge based on the Spring Game, Justin Davis did not seem overly impressive. Why all the hype? From what I saw, Silas Redd will have no trouble keeping the #1 spot in the rotation. One more thing, Cody Kessler seems to make really good decisions. With the talent level between the three QB's being relatively equal, I would think the guy that takes care of the football and consitantly moves the chains would be the starter. Your thoughts.
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Justin Davis showed up big-time plenty of times in the spring so it was unfortunate that he was limited to 5 carries in a non-tackling scrimmage for the fans who had heard so much about him. I can understand why you feel that way but, as someone who saw Davis in action all spring, I can assure you the hype was warranted. He looked really good, although I don't think he is at the level of taking Silas Redd's spot. I also think you are correct about Kessler's decision making, that stood out to me this spring. He didn't throw any interceptions in five spring scrimmages.
Garry. Kevin Graft and Chad Wheeler Co. starters? Kevin is the best OL USC Starter on the roster in my opinion. Why is LK not sold on Kevin?
Garry Paskwietz (5:52 PM)
In his Monday media call, Kiffin said Graf had an up and down spring. Not sure what the issues were because Graf looked pretty solid to the observers who were watching. Then again, the observers aren't coaches so it's hard to always know what the coaches are looking for. When I see Graf, i see a guy who has matured into a senior leader of the line and a guy who has a real chance to be an offensive captain.
jeff torres (whittier)
if kiffin gets fired after this year .would sc consider coach O ? secondly ,why did we lose all those d lineman? and to see a few go to fucla...how tragic !!!! :( j.makay is turning over in his grave
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
Coach O is held in very high regard at USC, the title of assistant head coach speaks to that. There were varying reasons for the defensive line decommits; Fitts wasn't able to enroll early, Vanderdoes changed his mind about SC, Hatcher wanted to stay closer to home and Prevot got swayed by Oregon. Those were big losses for SC. As far as McKay turning over in his grave, that definitely happened two years ago when SC lost a pair of big-time OL recruits on signing day to Stanford. McKay never would have understood that one.
kris (san diego)
i believe keller chryst will choose stanford,, & with that being said will usc go after another QB or will they just take 2 next year,, seeing as how cali will b stacked at that position next year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
If I had to guess right now I would agree with you on Chryst to Stanford. I think they would be the biggest competition to USC at this point. I think SC does take a QB in this class no matter what because Kiffin definitely wants to get four quarterbacks on the roster if at all possible. There is also the possibility that a current QB could leave, if SC doesn't have someone in the class of 2104 it would be a huge gap to wait and grab two in the class of 2015.
El Barto (Springfield)
Gary, can you please ask Kiffin what he is doing to re-evaluate practice; field conditions; training methods; conditioning; program design; nutrition---everything----to further prevent knee injuries and other serious injuries? Some high profile players on the team playing different positions, different sides of the ball, different backgrounds are having the same knee injuries requiring surgery. I made this same observation a few weeks ago, and a few more knee injuries/surgeries have happened since. Thanks!
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
There is a thorough evaluation done when strings of injuries happen like this. The coaches, the trainers, the S&C staff, they all take part and look at the information to try and figure out if there are any patterns. These guys don't want the players on the sidelines either so they break it down as many ways as they can to try and find answers.
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
That's all the time we have for today. See you again next week.