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WeAreSC Mailbag (1-4)

sctrojan2006
What would the GarryP’s all-time USC coaching staff look like?
Fight On!

I would have McKay and Carroll as co-head coaches, with McKay in charge of the offense and Carroll in charge of the defense. Norm Chow would my offensive coordinator/QB coach, Hudson Houck would be my OL coach and John Jackson would coach running backs. Marv Goux would coach defensive tackles, Ed Orgeron would coach defensive ends. Those would be the names off the top of my head. This would be a good off-season topic, and to get the opinions of former players through the years.

Fourthseed
Garry, the Wizards of Smart have been grousing all year about the coaching, and particularly at the Cotton Bowl. What exactly could have Helton done to not be “outcoached” by Urban Meyer? What moves did Meyer make that demonstrated why he was the better coach in that game? I’d like to know specifically what Meyer did that Helton didn’t. I mean this sincerely because after each game, especially a loss, there is all this talk of poor coaching. I want to know what to look for. Thanks.

I don’t think there was much Meyer or Helton did in the first half to cause three USC turnovers which were converted into 21 points, and that turned out to be the ballgame. In the second half I thought Meyer did a good job of not taking too many chances on offense, he realized the USC offense was struggling against the pressure of his defense and he was content with playing a field position game in the second half and walking away with the win.

J4SC75
Garry, I think a nice summary of progress of the team over the year. Overall, which players made strides over the year, which did not? Where are the opportunities for new faces to shine this spring? Heading into spring practice, who do you predict to be on the #1 offense and #1 defense? (Use your own assumptions as to who may leave)

I will post a season review article early next week.

edayles
Garry. Do you still see around 18 available recruiting slots? It appears that we will not have the big number of Juniors leaving this year, although that is all speculation. If this plays out that way I assume the number drops.

Yes, somewhere in that range but the early entries/transfers are the key to getting the number set. We will know by January 15th.

Scott Grossman
Garry is USC recruiting the LB from Serra high school Robertson.

There was a lot of interest in Marlin early in the process but not as much lately. I would love to see him in the class, I think he brings a toughness that would serve the defense well. But I also can’t argue with the linebackers that have been brought in so far.

socallvr
Garry,
Frank Martin was an ESPN 300 4 star OT from the class of 2016. I have not heard much about him or seen him on the field. Do you know where he is In terms of development and will we see him on the field next year? Thanks!

We haven’t seen a lot that stands out from Frank on the practice field yet and I think a realistic goal next year would be to compete with Roy Hemsley for the back-up spot at LG behind Chris Brown, and then look to challenge for a starting spot in 2019.

motovich
We have 7 offensive linemen who have been in the program at least a year but rarely play. In fact, when the need was there, we went with 2 true freshmen instead. Other than OL freshmen Austin Jackson, Dedich and Vorhees, do you see anyone else that could be a big-time OL for us in the future?

One of the realities for this team is that the majority of talent on both sides of the line was from the freshman class. A lot of it was a hangover from the sanctions as this group of seniors was the last class limited to 15 bodies by the sanctions, and in hindsight you would say the area where we got caught short the most by sanctions was on the lines.

dblwall
Hearing that Tony Boselli was nominated for the NFL Hall of Fame, brings up a story from the past that maybe you can confirm. A story I heard that a linebacker from an OOC opponent chirped about Boselli saying he was going to handle him, dominate etc. First play, after the whistle Boselli drove him about 30 yards back and drew a flag. Saying after the play “ nobody was going to control him”. Is my memory failing me?

I don’t remember that specific story but I certainly believe it with Tony. He’s the best offensive tackle I’ve ever seen play for the Trojans. I wish him luck with the Hall of Fame, there’s no question he deserves to be there talent-wise, but longevity of career is the key factor.

Cassiusel
Garry-
Put on your Clay Helton polo and answer me this: if you could only make 1 change this off season what would it be? And no wishing for more changes

I would alter the practice schedule to include more full pad practices with contact. I understand the path Helton has chosen with his practices, and it has worked with a lot more victories than losses, but I’m going to side with the many former players who have watched practice and talked about the need to hit more in practice in order to prepare for games.

Rainman44
Garry,

Looking back on 2017 season we saw sophomores Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns ascend to starting WR roles. Both of them really look good for the next year (and hopefully another). But what about the other youngsters? I’m talking Joseph Lewis, Josh Imt., Randal Grimes, Velvus Jones and Trevon Sidney. How would you rate each at this stage, and who is most likely to have the biggest impact in 2018?

There’s not an easy path to playing time, is there? On the outside, I’m looking forward to seeing Lewis and Grimes battle because I think one of them emerges as the next guy in line. Both guys bring real good size and surprising athletic ability so either one could emerge, and I would say I might put my bet on Grimes right now. Should be fun to watch. Josh Imatorbhebhe will flash the skills every now and then to make you think he will be in the mix but it’s just not consistent enough right now. In the slot I think Trevon Sidney is going to be an interesting one, he sure is acrobatic in practice. And if Amon-Ra verbals on Sunday like we think he will, that’s another weapon likely in the slot and you know he’s going to be in the rotation from day 1.

Troy70
Who might be the new QB coach? Does Keary get promoted to wr coach?

Tee Martin’s name is obviously brought up as a possibility to move to QB coach, and I’ve also heard Jordan Palmer’s name as someone who has done a lot of private QB coaching and has worked with Sam before. I would be very surprised if Bryan Ellis gets the nod, even with a report that he called pass plays during the Cotton Bowl as interim QB coach. As for Keary, it’s pretty unanimous that he is ready for a full-time role and I hope to see it happen. He’s universally respected within the program, has the SC playing credentials, and has paid his dues as a coach.

crank31
Garry, aside from Kim Helton (father), who do you know to be Clay’s mentor in football? Curious to know who these figures are so we can glean on what CCH does next on elevating the program to the next level.

The ones you hear him mention most often as his dad, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian. Obviously the Kiffin and Sarkisian factors are heavily weighted since they are the most recent and they came at USC, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. He spent a lot of years working hand in hand with both of them on offensive game planning and philosophies, and I think we’ve seen their influence in his offense.

Redeye
When a head coaching position change is made after the early LOI signing period (Like Rich Rod) do the recruits have an option to abrogate?

Right now they do not and I think we’re already seeing complaints from some of the Arizona commits who signed a few weeks ago. It’s something the NCAA needs to look at because coaching changes this time of year are a reality, and it’s also a reality that those changes can impact a kids choice. The current set-up feels to some kids like they were tricked and I can’t say that I blame them.

901Club

How does the post-Sam world look?

In the immediate future we know that it will be Matt Fink and Jack Sears getting first shot at the open job in spring. There is always the possibility that they could be joined by a graduate transfer if the numbers work out, Wilton Speight from Michigan was a name we had heard a few weeks ago that was a potential option. And, of course, there will be the addition of JT Daniels in the fall with all the expectations that he could make a legitimate challenge for the job. Assuming it comes down to Fink, Sears and Daniels I don’t see a clear leader yet. Fink has the advantage of being in the system for two years, as well as game action that included a memorable touchdown run. Sears spent last year on the service team so he’s had plenty of reps on the practice field, we just don’t know yet how far along he is. With Daniels, you know the talent is there based on the numbers he put up in high school but is it realistic to think he could come in a year early and win the job in a month of fall camp? We’ll find out.

Shooter
Where would you rate Sam Darnold in the pantheon of USC quarterbacks?

I have Carson and Leinart at the top, and then I’ve got a pretty large group right below them, and Sam would be in that group with guys like Sanchez, Barkley, Paul McDonald, Rodney Peete, etc. There’s a lot of talent in that second group along with plenty of conference titles and passing records.

Desertfoxx
Garry
Do you see any adjustments to coaching staff?
Can I assume two spots are open.. the 10th coach and a spot left by Tyson’s departure
What does your crystal ball have for us

Yes, I do think we will see more changes on the staff. We already need to fill the two spots you mentioned but I could also see other coaches leaving, which would create more openings. The most common speculation among fans is that the DB, OL and special teams spots are possibilities, but only Helton knows for sure which way he will go. These are critical decisions for Helton especially as it relates to his boss and his expectations of Trojan football.

BigDaddy

In light of recent developments, is there any NCAA rule or prohibition for when an incoming player may receive a playbook to start studying? Would they have to sign, start fall camp, enroll or could someone, say for instance an incoming QB, start readying himself whenever the staff felt comfortable?

The last I heard a player could be sent the playbook once he has been announced as a signed member of the class. This usually only applied to the February signing date, I haven’t heard of any changes for the early signing period.



Garry Paskwietz
Author
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.


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