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WeAreSC Mailbag (11-2)

What is the most gruesome football injury you’ve ever seen: Joe Theisman’s broken leg, Napoleon McCallum’s backwards-facing knee, or the paper cut on Josh Rosen’s hand?

Follow up: if Rosen manages to play despite the life-threatening paper cut, would that be the greatest act of courage since Desmond Doss single-handedly saved 75 soldiers on Okinawa?

Theisman injury was pretty bad but the most gruesome thing I’ve seen might have been the hit that Rey Maualuga put on Patrick Cowan

All year long everyone has been saying that absense of Daniel I. Was a big reason our offense wasn’t as good as last year. He has been back for 2 games and I think we have yet to throw a pass to him. What do you think is the reason? He is not in game shape yet and not getting open, being used as decoy, or being saved for ucla game, of something else?

I think a big reason is lack of football shape. He’s been out a long time, since June really, and so he hasn’t been impactful yet as a pass catcher but I do like some of the things he’s done as a blocker. He’s such a good weapon as a pass receiver that it’s easy to forget he’s our best blocking tight end too.

Can you comment on how some of the young first or second year front seven players have looked in practice? If the worst case scenario unfolds and Green, Gustin and Cam Smith all leave early for the NFL, will guys like Wole, Murphy, Levi Jones, Tufele, Echols, Falanaiko, Lichtenstein, and others be ready? Any that jump out at you at this point?

Of the guys you mention Levi Jones would be at the top of the list. I think he’s got some real athleticism and a pretty attacking style, I’m actually surprised he hasn’t gotten more playing time this year but it won’t take long. Tufele is going to be real good and hopefully next year we get to see him on the field with Pili and Marlon. Falaniko has surprised me with his work on special teams and I really want to see what he looks like next year after an off-season in the S&C program. We haven’t seen much of Echols due to his injury but what I do see, I like. Lichtenstein needs to fill out on his frame. Wole and Murphy are wild cards at this point, it was reasonable to think one or both of them would be making an impact by now and it speaks volumes that Iosefa is moved ahead of them for this game at the predator spot.

If we should win out, what to you would be the best post-season mathcup for the Trojans? “Best” in terms of most exciting or fun. Maybe a left out big 12 school like Oklahoma, Oklahoma state or tcu? Or a big ten team like Penn St or Wisconsin?

I like the thought of the Fiesta Bowl if that’s the way things work out. Those would be some good match-ups but part of me would love to see the Trojans and LSU with Ed Orgeron.

The usual. What is the latest injury update? I’m particularly interested in the status of Marshall, Gustin and Carr. Thanks Garry.

Gustin is out, and Rector has not practiced so he is likely out too. Marshall and Vavae got some work in on Wednesday, as did Mitchell. Fatu went on Tuesday but not Wednesday. The good news is that it looks like Carr will play.

Garry, do you think Coach Pendergast and the defense have figured out the running quarterback issue?

I’m not going to say that just yet because Clancy and the defense face a big test on Saturday against a quarterback who is setting records for running with the football. And he’s going to have to do it with an inside linebacker playing in an outside linebacker role. That’s asking a lot of Jordan Iosefa and the other Trojan defenders, especially when Clay Helton says Arizona doesn’t run a lot of plays but what they do run, they run well. Helton says it’s not just Tate, it’s the way you can have Tate seemingly contained and then he executes the pitch to one of the running backs. And Arizona has an experienced offensive line, every starter has at least 15 starters in his career. But I also don’t think Tate has faced the pressure that he could see from the Trojan defense, and it will be interesting to see how he reacts when it comes.

Will RoJo be the guy, 25 carries? Ball control for long time consuming drives

I sure hope so. Maybe not 25 carries but I can see 20 carries and 5 catches. Those numbers could be boosted by Stephen Carr, who is expected to return to action. The offense showed how well they can sustain drives last week with the way they stayed committed to running the ball, hope we see that on Saturday.

With the success of many back ups (Rector, Langley …) do you think the team would benefit from Clancy reviewing his thought process on when nonstarters are able to contribute?

Personally, I would like to see that. I think there are guys who don’t get much playing time that could step up, that’s part of what makes college football fun. Clancy certainly has his way of rotating though and he makes it clear “the starters are the starters for a reason” and they get the bulk of the time.

rose green

How big of a factor was the absence of Kalen Ballage in USC’s win over ASU? Press reported him as “sick”? do we know more? How strong is the Arizona wildcat offensive and defensive lines?

I definitely think it was a factor, Ballage is an important part of their power run game and he wasn’t available. I never heard anything more about him being sick. As for Arizona, the o-line is a veteran group and they do what they do well, but I think the Wildcat d-line is one that the Trojans can run on.

Last week our offense was clicking and was seemingly scoring at will because we had employed an up-tempo offense, do you expect Helton and Tee will do the same against Arizona or will they try to establish a ball control game plan to keep Tate off the field as much as possible and control time of possession?

I think it will be a mix depending on the flow of the game. Both Helton and Tee have talked about using tempo at various points in a game and not as something they will look to do all the time, especially in a game like this where establishing the run game is something you figure the Trojans will want to do.

Totally off topic but your site is the best by far. What is the worst part of your job?

Thanks for the note. The worst part for me is when tech issues hit, sometimes they are easy to figure out and sometimes they aren’t.

Helen of Troy


With all the injuries to our O-Line this year and our current O-line depth, is Helton making O-Line recruiting a high priority in 2018? I know we have two commits in Justin and Liam, but any word on Penei Sewell? I think this year was a good analogy of you are only as strong/good as your weakest link. I also know we have limited scholarships in 2018, and I know we all want skill position players and Tee is doing a great job at that, but at the end of the day, if you have your tesla and porch sitting in garage it is a truly a waste of talent. We saw the Tesla last week and boy was it shiny and beautiful! (Btw Vavae and Ware are the Mac and Peterbuilts!)
Fight On!

It’s an interesting year on the offensive line. I get the sense the coaches would be content to take three but would prefer to take four. There are two commits on board in Justin Dedich (don’t take for granted how big this commitment is, best guy in the state by far) and Liam Douglass (betting on athletic potential in a Chad Wheeler way) but there aren’t a lot of other targets in the state. Mater Dei has a pair of highly ranked guys in Tommy Brown and Chris Murray, Brown is a legacy and commit at Alabama (no USC offer) while Murray is an Army All-American, also no USC offer but offers from ND, Wash, Stanford, Utah and UCLA. Also no offer to Jarrett Bell (Norco, Bama verbal). Out of state there are a pair of highly ranked targets in Jackson Carman and Penei Sewell, and Junior Angilau is in the mix as well.

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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