by Garry Paskwietz
There was plenty of USC news this week with the announcement of Clancy Pendergast as defensive coordinator, along with a DB coach, as well as the plans for the upcoming big recruiting weekend. Still no update on a defensive line or linebacker coach but those could come at any time.
Can you address the concern of CP being a one and done coach? Do you think he would leave college to be a position coach in the NFL ? Doesn’t seem to make much sense to me I would think his next ambition is to be a DC in the NFL.. Which after a few stellar years here can definitely be in the cards for him.
“I would love to sit here and say Clancy is going to make a long extended run but that’s not the way his career has gone. In 25 years of coaching since he got his first GA job he has made 12 different stops, basically an average of a move every two years. The one thing different this time around at USC is his input in staffing, he is being allowed a lot of leeway to bring in his own guys and that should allow him to create the defensive staff that fits him well.”
Name three players who can get over the explosiveness hump and be a major contributor next season after a great strength and conditioning season.
“I’m going to go with three true freshmen primarily because I think that first full off-season in a college strength and conditioning program is when you see some of the most dramatic results. There are a lot of candidates but I’ll choose Ronald Jones, Tyler Petite and Porter Gustin. Jones is going to be part of a 1-2 duo with Justin Davis and that will be an increased workload to build off his impressive performance last fall to break Charles White’s freshman rushing record. Petite showed his pass catching abilities and now it’s time to add some bulk to his frame to handle more of the college blocking responsibilities. Gustin should be an ideal outside linebacker in the Pendergast 5-2 scheme and one who could really be critical to its success. All three players will stand to benefit physically this off-season to prepare for their bigger roles.”
Are there any big time Dline prospects that are out there that SC is in the mix for?
“How about the No. 1 player in the country? Rashan Gary sits atop the ESPN 300 rankings and he will be on the USC campus this weekend for an official visit. Gary has to be considered a longshot for the Trojans with Michigan currently considered the likely landing spot but he will be on the visit with his mother and you never know what can happen when they get an up close look at the university and what it has to offer. Boss Tagaloa and Connor Murphy are other defensive line prospects who will make official visits to USC before signing day.”
Which, if any, of the recruits from the incoming class have the potential to contribute immediately?
“I think there is opportunity for one of the three “big” receiver options to come in and contribute right away. Not sure if that will be Josh Imatorbhebhe, Tyler Vaughns or Michael Pittman but I wouldn’t rule out any of them. I’ll also look to the defensive line with Oluwole Betiku and Keyshon Camp as two candidates to be in the rotation, there were three true freshmen who played last year along the interior of the line and there will be a need for someone to step up this year as well.”
Garry- are all 7 EE recruits actually on campus and enrolled for spring semester?
“All but Liam Jimmons are enrolled, Jimmons is finishing up his final week at Huntington Beach and then will head up to begin classes at USC.”
Do we have plans to recruit a field goal kicker?
“Not likely. There is a scholarship kicker on the roster now with Matt Boeemeester, who is heading into his sophomore season. There is always a chance, however, that new special teams coach John Baxter could want to bring in his own specialists.”
Can you comment on impact of Adoree missing spring practice with new D staff in place? especially on-field interaction with the new DB coach.
“I think the impact will be minimal as long as Adoree’ can consistently attend team meetings to keep up with the mental part of the installation of the defense. Adoree’ has a high football IQ and so he should be able to absorb a lot of the details even if he is not on the field. One benefit is that he will be in more of a competitive atmosphere during the track season than he would be in a spring ball setting, which could help to keep him sharp. I also like the message it sends from Helton when a player has the opportunity to go for something unique such as an NCAA title in the long jump and an Olympic berth. Yes, it would be ideal to have him on the football field but these opportunities don’t come along often and I’m glad Adoree’ is getting a chance to go for it.”
What Defense will USC run in ’16? And will they go back to a 4-3 D?
“Clancy Pendergast is known for running a 5-2 defense, and he had a lot of success running it in 2013 at USC. it basically means three interior defensive linemen, with two outside linebackers as bookends, and a pair of inside linebackers, along with four in the secondary.”
Who will be the QB in 2016? Does Sam Darnold have a chance to beat out Max? And if Max is named the backup does he transfer?
“There will be a position battle in spring between Max Browne and Sam Darnold that should be a lot of fun to watch. Browne would figure to have the upper hand based on his experience at USC, he has been part of the program for three years, he has waited his turn and developed his game nicely while waiting for this chance. The one twist is that there will be a new offensive coordinator in Tee Martin which means Browne and Darnold are both starting from the same beginning point in that system. Darnold has a lot of positives, and it will be interesting to see how much he can challenge Max in spring, and if the competition will extend into fall camp.”
For the upcoming recruiting class, which position group is our biggest position of need, and which group is likely to be the biggest impact position for next season?
“There are only six spots remaining in the class of 2016 and I think defensive line and defensive back would be the two biggest needs, particularly at cornerback where the Trojans need at least two bodies in this class and right now there are no commits at the spot.”