9 min Read

WeAreSC Mailbag (12-14)

Thank you for posting an update in your Recruiting Notebook link. Too bad we cannot lock down Palaie, Tuli, and Marcus on December 20th. Will anyone be covering the Penei signing commitment? Any other potential surprise signings on December 20th?

I haven’t heard of anybody covering Sewell signing yet but we will post on recruiting board if anything is announced, my guess is the newspaper up there will have a stream. I do think we will see more signings on the 20th than have been confirmed so far, but we don’t know who the coaches want to sign and who they might want to wait for. That’s part of what makes this early signing period so interesting.

901 Club
Does Sam stay?

As of today I think yes. I hope that doesn’t change.

Hi Garry,

It seems that the chatter now among various outlets is louder and more widespread than just amongst us fans, specifically regarding the issue of the PAC-12 relationship with USC. Revenue-sharing, league scheduling, and “parity” are all under question. Larry Scott’s reception by the fanbase of PAC-12 Champion USC was less than warm at the championship game. Scott later shared that there will be a revamp to the league scheduling process in the future. Is it fair to say that Scott and other PAC-12 stakeholders are hearing complaints? Do you see USC (Lynn Swann) asking for more concessions? What’s your take? Thanks!

I would love for USC to ask for some concessions but Lynn holds his cards very close to his vest so we really don’t know where he stands on it. The bigger issue is the university presidents as they are the ones who just re-upped Scott to a new contract and he keeps on claiming that he is following their mandates. Unless they start to apply pressure he is going to keep on with his plan, although I have to imagine the heat will get turned up if the Pac-12 Network revenues don’t start to turn around.

We’ve invested a lot of valuable scholarships in our special teams: P Tilbey(junior), LS Damon Johnson(freshman) and K Michael Brown(freshman). But they hardly played in 2017. With few scholarships available, does SC give scholarships to starters Budrovich (jr), McGrath (fr) and Schmidt (jr)? Or, does SC use the scholarships for available 4 and 5-star position recruits in the upcoming class?

Budrovich and McGrath were awarded scholarships last night at the team banquet. They will be applied to the 2017 class (there were open spots from Angeline and Bigelow departures).

It seemed like the secondary regressed a lot in the second half of the season (though playing a bunch of good passing attacks played a part in that as well). Do you think we will see some dramatic changes in the lineup next year (Marshall at safety, Ajene replaced at slot corner), or will continuity be the key to improvement? Tell and Langley were solid, but there’s clearly work to be done.

I’ll lean to continuity at this point. One thing Clancy says a lot is “the starters are starters for a reason” and guys like Biggie, Ajene and Jackie Jones have started a lot of games. As for Langley, it’s important to note that Isaiah got the starts when Biggie was out but as soon as Biggie was healthy he was back in the starting line-up. Perhaps Jonathan Lockett gets in the mix when he returns? This all assumes that Bradford comes back as position coach, if there is a change then we could see some movement.

On what basis was the PAC-12 compelled to overstate the attendance figures for the championship game?
We can do better: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/…8ce97b5ccb300dc53d0b905ada9d62f5&action=click

There’s no way there was 48,000 people in that building, perhaps the number of tickets distributed but not bodies in seats. I would have estimated 35-38,000.

I have to assume there are new wrinkles on both sides of the ball for the bowl. But which team does OSU compare with that we played this year?

I would compare them most to Notre Dame at the time we played them, particularly in the run game.

It’s been mentioned that the practices leading up to the bowl game are an opportunity for younger guys who didn’t see much (or any) playing time this year to develop on the field, show their capabilities and start to set themselves up for a meaningful role next year. Who are some of the guys that you’re particularly interested in watching?

I was paying a lot of attention yesterday to some of the younger guys on defense. Jay Tufele and Jacob Lichtenstein were in the middle of the line, Jay looks ready to go and I think he gets in the mix right away in spring but Lichtenstein surprised me a little. Jacob hasn’t done much to this point but we’re starting to see him add bulk to his tall frame and I liked what I saw in drills. The position placement that surprised me was seeing Juliano Falaniko at middle linebacker, he has been on the outside this fall. Juliano was lining up next to Levi Jones and Levi has future star written all over him, can’t wait to see him progress. Jay Godfrey is someone who was limited this fall due to injury but he’s got good size so I want to see more of him too. Bubba Bolden is ready to go, he should be in the thick of the competition to replace Chris Hawkins

Burak Uslu
Hi Garry,

It seems like we are not using all of our practice allowance. This is probably due to a shorter time period and coaches needing to recruit. Do you know if Ohio State scheduled all of their practice allowance? Do you think that will affect the outcome of this game?

We’re not missing it by much. I count 12 practices over 3 weeks, that should be plenty. And yes, the early signing period, combined with wanting to let the players go home for a few early days to be with their families before leaving for Dallas on the 23rd, contributed to not having practice later next week.

I read somewhere, I think the Recruiting page, that Gaoteote was one of the best USC prospects in a long time. Someone else said he was the best prospect in the country. I watched some highlights of him today and he was unreal, but I don’t know that he’s a better prospect for defense than Daniels is for offense. What’s your take Garry? They both look like future All-Americans to me.

Palaie (photo above) is one of the best I’ve seen this year, no question, although JT and the Monarchs did a good job slowing him when the two teams played earlier in the year. I’m just glad they are both future Trojans (and I want to add Solomon Tuliaupupu from the MD defense as well).

What are your thoughts on bringing Coach Meat over from UCLA to help with DBs and moving Bradford over to just safeties? We don’t have a lot of defensive staff right now and our recruiting at DB has been weak.

I think a lot of Demetrice Martin and would be happy to have him on staff if that opportunity should present itself. I don’t understand the 2nd part of the question, who are we missing from the defensive staff right now? As for DB recruiting, which safeties would you have taken last year over Bolden and Pola-Mao? And while I would have taken Thomas Graham at corner, I also would have taken Greg Johnson no matter what. So if you’re questioning Godfrey, that’s a wait-and-see on his development once back from injury.

Your thoughts on the idea of SC going independent? Pros? Cons? I’ve never been for it but this seasons scheduling may have shifted my thinking.

I don’t think it’s a thought that is seriously being considered in Heritage Hall but I can make some arguments on paper for why it makes sense. The first one is that this current media deal can be better, at least for USC. There are too many late night games, last year there was an 11am start time and there are too many weekday games (check the last time the SEC forced Alabama to play on a weekday). So the next question becomes, could we get a better deal on our own? I think the answer could be yes, and USC is one of the few schools around the country who could even consider it with our brand and our reach. I would start with hiring someone with experience negotiating football media contracts, and there are plenty to choose from, many with USC ties. The cons would be leaving the conference, there are always some benefits, especially with the other USC sports wanting to remain in the conference, but right now for football I don’t think USC is getting maximum returns from what Larry Scott has done.

What NCAA requirements must be met for a draft eligible player to obtain insurance against an injury in the event he decides to return to school for another year? Is there a limit to the amount of insurance? who pays the premiums? How does the insurance work, i.e. what triggers a claim? For example, if Sam, a consensus top 5 in the upcoming draft, decides to return next season, is injured and drafted in, say, the 2nd round, would he have a claim? Suppose he just has a bad year without an injury and is drafter lower than currently projected, does he have a claim?

USC has had two players – Morgan Breslin and Marqise Lee – who had injury related cases where they had purchased insurance, and there were several articles written about the results when they tried to file claims. Here is one of the more detailed reviews.

Do you have a list of recruits signing next Wednesday or during the early signing period? And any sc targets that will wait until February? Thanks!

Kana’i Mauga, Raymond Scott, Justin Dedich and Palaie Gaoteote are scheduled to sign next week, and there will be more.

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