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WeAreSC Mailbag (10-4)



Do you have any insight on how Lynn Swann feels about the state of the football program at this point in time? We’ve not heard one word from him publicly. Do you think he has voiced any displeasure of the performance of the team to Clay and has directed him to make some changes or is he just going to let Clay run the team as he please without interference?

I don’t have any specific insight into how Lynn feels, he just hasn’t given any public clues. We’ve heard that he is not pleased with the style of play more than anything, the drop in the physical standard that used to be present in Trojan football, and that he has definitely communicated that to Helton. As far as what Lynn is going to do, or not do, at the end of the season is anybody’s guess. Does he even have the authority right now with no full-time school president in place? We just don’t know the answer to that yet.


Are the weight lifting sessions mandatory or voluntary? This would include the off season and summer workouts. In my opinion they should all be mandatory.

Weight lifting is mandatory.


When nearly everyone (outside media, former players, current players, K. Bruce, fans, etc.) all voice the same criticism that we are soft and don’t practice at anywhere near the competitive level we need to in order to be successful on game day, what is Helton’s response? Is he tone deaf and doesn’t know its an issue or does he believe he is right and everybody else is wrong?

What we’ve seen is that Clay will point to results; a Pac-12 title, a Rose Bowl win, unbeaten at home, etc. Those accomplishments may not address the concerns of those outside the program but it’s pretty clear that’s where he’s hanging his hat in terms of justifying his program.


Has Austin Jackson performed up to expectations?

Through 5 games? Probably not, but I still think he’s our left tackle of the future (and present).


Garry, after the loss at the Cotton Bowl, it was reported that there were several former players that were discontent with the lack of toughness displayed by the team.

Given the same lack of toughness, coupled with the lack of discipline, the apparent lack of accountability by both players/coaches, the lack of coaching that translates onto the field, what if anything are you hearing from former players on their feelings regarding the current state of USC football team? We obviously read Kevin Bruce’s weekly report, which touches on a lot of those issues, but am very curious if this displeasure of well respected players like Anthony Munoz, Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott, etc., is making its way to Coach Helton and up to AD Lynn Swann or other administrators.

We talked earlier in the mailbag about how nobody really knows what Swann is thinking but there are a few who do. Ronnie Lott and Lynn were standing together on the sideline at the end of the Stanford game and as you can imagine they did not look happy, and I’m sure Lynn listens when Ronnie gives his opinion. I’ve heard from a few former players who say the level of discontent among former players is at an all-time high level.


Garry; Can we get a comprehensive review of injured players and roster issues. There is too much disinformation and subterfuge lately on this. IE, what is up with Bubba, what is up with Daniel I, and brother Josh, etc., Wole is he gone now? etc etc etc

Is Edoga’s hip affecting him causing the poor play we see or the sitting out of practice we see. I have the feeling that we are much worse off than we thought and Hellton jsut doesn’t want to let on. Why is Hellton having to assist Callaway with Toa’s snapping issues. Drevno said Callaway was doing a “great job just like every week.” when asked about finally breaking hte 250yd rushing barrier. It all sounds like circling the wagons Hackett style to me.

Sorry for the rant and TIA as always.

1. Bubba – as far as I know it is in the hands of student conduct and that’s a black hole as far as information is concerned. Recent cases have shown we will know something once a decision is made but we don’t have any idea when that would be. I was told at the time of the suspension that “it may not be a one or two game deal” and that has certainly proven to be the case.
2. Daniel Imatorbhebhe – the very frustrating situation continues. His nerve injury in the hip/thigh/groin area is one that causes him weakness in the leg from time to time, and that is one of those things preventing him from getting the 100% comfort/confidence level to be on the field. It has to be tough for Daniel and the doctors and the trainers to not be able to figure it out, and it’s costing the Trojans a very good player.
3. Josh Imatorbhebhe returned to practice last week and should play vs Colorado.
4. Wole – I haven’t heard any indication of him leaving. In fact, right now he is probably looking at a redshirt year and come back next year, which should be a lengthy enough time to rehab from surgeries on both hips.
5. Chuma – He’s a great example of what we mentioned earlier in the mailbag about Helton pointing to a specific result or talking point while the fans often have a differing view. There are many who point to Chuma and his penalties or lapses, while the athletic department Twitter account made a post today talking about how Chuma hasn’t allowed a single pressure in 4 of 5 games this season.


Garry, I know I’m not Helen…but I need to know if we can avoid a loss this weekend.

We will not lose this weekend.


What do you think of Porter Gustin’s play so far? He’s gotten a lot of hype for a lot of reasons early this year and I know he’s faced some double-teams from OL, Just curious what your opinion is on whether he’s living up to the hype.

Right now the Trojans are having trouble getting a pass rush and that is one thing Porter is bringing, he’s got over half of our sacks this year and I’m not taking that for granted. I’m hoping things settle down for him in the second half of the season, he had the knee issue, the targeting penalty, another targeting that was almost called, etc. Would like to see him just playing football for this last stretch of his USC career.



How do you think the Coliseum re-design affects the trustees’ and the administration’s willingness to commit real resources to football? I can understand that the re-design is expensive and that USC has a lot of other expenses to deal with. (I’m still stunned we haven’t seen a boatload of firings in light of the recent scandals. Horrible.)

But I’m wondering which way this cuts. USC needs healthy football revenues to fund all of the other teams on campus, and they need to sell those expensive new seats in the tower to justify the cost of the re-design. Do they play it cheap and hope fan interest remains good enough to make the tower a success and keep the athletic department going? Or do they recognize that without a major financial commitment they are going to be left behind and dwindling fan support will kill their plans?

It is impacting things right now as costs have risen for the tower at a time when the university overall is in a state of flux (agree with your thoughts about a lack of firings by the way, starting with the decision to keep Max as president emeritus and lifetime trustee). From what I’m hearing, the plans will be to stay the course and hope the tower succeeds financially, even as there is some belt-tightening right now. I don’t see that changing either, I don’t see Swann sticking his neck out for a major financial commitment, remember that he knows politics and this isn’t a situation he created.


1/4 of the way in, what has caught you off guard by our play?
What has surprised you the most about our play?
What would you like to see the rest of the season?
What gives you the most hope about the future for USC football?

1. The two second halves against Stanford and Texas, and our lack of response or energy when the other teams started to take control of those two games.
2. I thought our d-line would be more of a strength, and I think the lack of pressure up front has put a strain on the secondary as well.
3. An offensive identity that revolves around running the football. I liked the balance shown in the Arizona game that takes advantage of our backs and takes pressure off J.T. Daniels to carry the load.
4. The players. We’ve got talent, maybe not ideal in all areas but enough to be a very good football team.


A bit off topic but was the current head coach at Baylor our o-line coach for either Lane or Sark .. he looked very familiar on TV last week

No but his last name (although spelled different) is the same as Pat Ruel, who was OL coach under Pete, and is still with Pete in Seattle.

Georgetirebiter IV

The comments from the Sunday call on learning and week to week growth makes me wonder why we can’t learn things to be ready for Game 1. Especially in 2020 when we open with Bama again. What must Clay do to have the team and coaches ready at game 1? Especially basics like counting to 2 for the snap, special teams, and playing for four quarters not 1-2.

Especially when the opener is the one game you have a long time to prepare for, if you wish. One thing you could always count on with Carroll is a good game plan for the opener and the bowl game, if Pete had extra time to prepare for you it was going to be put to use.


Going with a basketball question, which new and returning player are you excited about playing on the hardcourt?

For a new player I’ll say Kevin Porter after what he showed this summer. For the returning guy I will go with Charles O’Bannon, who didn’t contribute much last year but could be ready for that proverbial step forward this year.

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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