9 min Read

WeAreSC Mailbag (9-14)


Dominic Davis’ position switch to CB has initiated a redshirt decision for him by Coach Helton. Was Davis not interested in handling kickoff or punt return duties so he can contribute in games this season? I am glad he will be concentrating soley on CB duties and maybe he was not interested in special teams. Is there any other reason or more to this that we should know?

Dominic got some work in during fall camp as a return guy (and even stayed after practice a few times to get some extra punt returns) but he didn’t make the cut when the coaches focused on others like Jackie, Ajene, Velus, Carr, etc.


Could we officially or unofficially name the Blueshirt scholie in recognition of Deontay Burnett (Tay-shirt instead of Tee-shirt?)? It could be referenced as a motivational tool for recruits to understand that it does not matter how one gets here as long as they do and that everyone will be expected to compete from day one on an equal basis.

I hope Deontay is held up as an example to any recruit who thinks a blueshirt offer is somehow a lesser thing. Does anybody discredit Deontay and what he’s accomplished, or his play in the Rose Bowl, because he is a blueshirt? Not at all, it’s barely a footnote.


Is it just me or does it seem when Coach Helton gives his daily, after practice Q&A, this year his demeanor is very subdued. Almost like he is either very tired or beat down. I’m sure the pressures of being Head Coach of Trojan Football is tremendous for which few of us can relate to….

The media demands of a coach at a school like USC have increased so much with the internet and social media, and I think it’s understandable that the process becomes a little more business-like the more you do it. In a given week it is amazing sometimes how Helton can be asked the same question over and over again, but he tries to answer it as if it was the first time, not always an easy thing to do.


In the Recruiting Forum there was a post about recruits at the last game vs Furd and someone posted that the 2019 class could be special (you concurred). Can you elaborate on that assessment? Obviously JT Daniels stands out, but curious to get better insights to this potential class. Thanks as always!

Just looking at the list of 2019 guys who were there I can see several players who will be among the top, if not the top, players at their position. In addition to JT, you’ve got Mycah Pittman at receiver, very explosive and his brother is already on the roster. There was Jonah Tauanu’u, a top OL target, and DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, as well as LB Mase Funa and DB Chris Steele.


Can the team keep up the intensity that they showed against Stanford against Texas, and all the other teams as well? I die for them to play well, then when they do I worry that they won’t sustain it! Please tell me you aren’t seeing any signs of a letdown for this weekend.

It was one of the big points of emphasis from Helton this week and he referenced the way the team was able to come off a strong victory over Washington and come back with another good effort against UCLA. And one of the things I liked after the Stanford win is that the players weren’t going nuts in celebration afterwards, it was a very satisfying win but it was also viewed somewhat as business as usual, and they followed that up at practice this week. Hopefully that bodes well for Saturday.


I love those Stanford videos where they chant “Who’s next?” and count down the number of points they scored. Sadly, I missed the one from this past week at the Coliseum. Do you think you could find that and post it?

By the way, do you know whether Stanford counted down the points they scored on the Trojans or the number of 10+ yard plays Stanford gave up to the Trojans? And which would be a bigger number?

I couldn’t find one from after the game last weekend, they must not have gotten around to posting it yet. I did find this one from after they beat Rice. I think they were trying to count how many yards of total offense the Trojans were going to get, the answer was 623 but they stopped after the 6 and the 2.



Can we get an injury update [Marlon & Chuma] and when do you think Daniel I will play?

Chuma is going to try and practice Thursday with a club on his hand, it sounds like he will likely play in the game. Marlon, however, does not sound as promising, according to Helton. And it sounds like it will be even longer for Daniel, Helton said they plan to sit him for a while to see if the injury can improve. Helton called the hip/groin/thigh issue a “strange” one and it sure has lingered for a while.


Does Connor get reps?

Yes, at this point it looks like Connor and Rector filling the spot in various formations.

Helen of Troy


Are we going to win?



Seems like Oregon is doing much, much better and recruiting looks very, very good. What’s your assessment and to what do attribute it to … especially to where they were the last 2 years or so.

Willie Taggart.



The position group I have been most impressed with are the RBs. Can’t tell you how enjoyable it was to watch our OL and RBs dominate last game. They are attacking the holes, running with a physical mindset, fundamental blocking, and perfect ball security. An absolute home run hire in Coach McCullough. What are some of the changes you have seen him instill/implement in practice that have led to so much success?

I agree, very impressed with McCullough so far. We’ve seen drills that range from preparing for wet conditions, using a ball at the end of a pipe to help with ball security, a few different tricks like that. Probably the best thing I heard was when someone asked him about the flash of Stephen Carr, and he talked about how the USC running back position isn’t about flash, it’s about the blue collar dirty work, a tough-guy position that is about breaking tackles, running through arm tackles. That was music to these Trojan ears.


Garry, I want Texas DEAD!

On a serious note, do these kids understand the significance of this game? Do they really? I mean, they were playing outside and watching cartoons when the Rose Bowl was played, so my concern is that they will treat the horns like Stanford or at best UCLA.

It is not JUST a game, it’s Texas.

I don’t know if they can completely understand the significance like those who either played or were part of the experience as fans at the time. Chris Hawkins is one who can, he said Wednesday after practice that he cried when the Trojans lost the game but he was also raised by a father who was a huge SC fan (not every player on the current roster was). But the players still know these two teams played in a national title game that many call the greatest college football game of all-time, and they (like all of us) are well aware of who won and who lost.


Is it fair to ask more of WRs outside of Burnett? More specifically, when teams begin going to great lengths to shut down Burnett, should we be concerned of the repercussions on the passing game or will our remaining WRs such as Greene and Mitchell be able to effectively step up and fill that void that may be presented?

Mitchell had 4 catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns last week, that was certainly stepping up to complement what Deontay did. But I agree the group does need to see more consistent results like that, and I don’t think it gets any easier with Daniel Imatorbhebhe out because his loss removes a major pass-catching weapon at TE. I still think we will see more from Tyler Vaughns, Joseph Lewis and Michael Pittman, and the coaches will try to get the ball to Velus too, he will need to make plays when he has a chance because he can bring a unique speed option.


Fight On Bubba Bolden. Glad to hear he is back working out with the team. Do you expect to see him in the secondary this week or just playing special teams?

I think he will see action in both the secondary and special teams.


Is this the week we are finally going to see Pili get some significant playing time? And how has he looked this week? Do you think he is ready to play more?

It sure looks like it, Helton said Wednesday after practice that Brandon and Kenny Bigelow would be called upon to help step in for Tuipulotu if Marlon can’t go.


Versus Stanford our kickoffs landed between the 5 and the goal line… very returnable and concerning. Do we have any other options on the roster to get the ball in the end zone?

Michael Brown got hurt early and McGrath had to step in. Budrovich can be an option, not sure where you turn if you need to go deeper than that, my guess is Tilbey gets a look.


What was the significance of Sam Darnold wearing the number 10 on the back of his helmet for the Stanford game?

Here was an answer from listen2menow&hearmelater, a San Clemente resident.

I’m not Garry, obviously. But pretty sure that’s in memory of his late high school teammate Nick Pasquale. He was No. 10 at SCHS and No. 36 for UCLA.

The blue wristband Sam wears is for Nick too.

Garry Paskwietz

A 1988 graduate of USC with a degree in Sports Information. Worked in sports marketing for LA Lakers and Miller Brewing Company. Began covering the Trojans in 1996 with the Trojan Football Fax. Founded WeAreSC in November 1998 with stints at Scout and ESPN. Emmy-winner while covering high school football at Fox Sports West.

More Articles By Garry