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WeAreSC Mailbag (10-20 edition)

by Garry Paskwietz

In this week’s edition of the mailbag we look at bye week improvements, DL recruiting, the WR rotation without Mitchell and our favorite item at Chano’s.


What improvements would you like to see the team focus on during the bye week? Would Darnold’s long ball, downfield blocking by the o-line and the rush-ends holding contain make your list?

I’d like to see a lot of reps with the reserve running backs to get their timing with the o-line blocks. We’re not sure how long Justin Davis might be out so getting Jones, Ware and Davis comfortable working in conjunction with the line is very important in my mind. I’d also like to see continued development on the d-line with guys like Fatu, Betiku and Rector so that the pass rush can provide pressure with multiple waves of players.


I think most would agree that D-line recruiting is critical to the future success of the program (particularly interior d-lineman). Do you have a sense yet of how we stand on that front? Are we in a good position with any of the top tier guys? Watching the NFL games I am reminded of how much talent we had on the D-line during the Carroll years: Frostee Rucker, Everson Griffin, Nick Perry, Jurrell Casey etc. are all still staples in the NFL.

The good news is that there’s a solid base of three commits on the d-line right now and some very good options still available who are considering USC. The DL commit at the top of my list is DE Hunter Echols. There’s also a couple OOS guys in James Lynch and Jacob Lichtenstein. Lynch is a pure interior guy while Lichtenstein could end up playing inside or outside. But the key to the DL class will be adding a couple more bodies, ideally on the interior. I like Martin Andrus as one name who could end up at SC, and Terrance Lang is another, but there is also Greg Rogers and Jay Tufele among others who could be in the mix.


Bye week means time for recruiting. Mater Dei vs St John Bosco at Cerritos College this Friday. Who wins and if you’re a USC coach which players are you interested in scouting from these powerhouse schools?

I think Mater Dei breaks the Bosco streak. I give credit to Bosco for what they’ve done in recent years in this rivalry but I just think the Monarch offense will be too much (it’s one of the more impressive displays of offensive skill players that I’ve seen in a while). I will be watching QB JT Daniels, WR’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, Nikko Remigio and Bru McCoy, along with OL Tommy Brown. For Bosco, safety Jaiden Woodbey is an SC target.

Helen of Troy

Do you have any new / different intel on the Noah Jefferson situation? Hopefully the kid comes back renewed and hungry.

Nothing new or different. There has been no sign of Noah on the practice field and no real updates of what’s going on with him or when he might return. The lack of details on his absence is notable, especially since we’re talking about a talented player at a key position of need.


With the unfortunate injury to Mitchell, do you expect a significant change in the WR rotation?

Not really. Deontay Burnett (photo above) has been seeing more and more playing time recently and his stats were very similar to Mitchell so not much of a change there. Jalen Greene has been the guy next in line and his role should be expanded a bit. Helton also talked about possibly using JuJu in the slot, with someone like Hampton getting more time outside.


I wanted to know what the story is on Ross. I though he would be more in the mix for playing time.

I thought Ykili would make an impact this year too but there’s a couple factors at play. First is that there’s a rotation of veterans ahead of him at safety with McQuay, Hawkins and Tell. That’s not even counting Plattenburg (who is now healthy) and Lopes, two guys that have more experience and trust from the coaches. The second thing is that Clancy just doesn’t play a ton of reserves, he tends to stick with his starters when possible. But I think the biggest thing moving forward for Ross is just to have the coaches get more comfortable with him knowing the system.


Who do you think will be our highest rated recruit?

I would be content if it’s Stephen Carr because that would mean we hung on to Stephen Carr.  But I wouldn’t put it past these coaches to bring in some big names by signing day, they certainly did last year.


The only positive in the Alabama game was Bormeister’s kick offs limiting returns.. They have been consistently good in all games played. How many touchbacks has he kicked thus far?

27 of his 40 kickoffs have been touchbacks


After reading the article on our service team players getting more reps in practice, is this a sign that we see more of guys that show flashes of quality play? I love READING about Betiku/Peters/Jones/Ross but when are we going to see them get more quality reps aside from garbage time? A lot of those boys are going to be counted on to fill big roles next season (Jones/Ross) so why get them meaningful reps now especially with the quality of our opponents so mediocre?

It might happen against an offense that is running a lot of plays, such as Cal who Helton said ran 100 plays this year, but otherwise I think any role will be mostly limited. Betiku is one who could see a consistent role in reserve because he offers such a specific skill at rushing the passer. I would love to see Peters get used more if only because I like the offense when a traditional blocking fullback is out there leading the way.


Garry, whats your favorite item to order at Chano’s?

Carne asada burrito. It may be called Chano’s now but it will always be Manny’s to me.

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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