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USC is Much Better than YOU Think. Get Over It

USC is Better than You Think

USC is Better than You Think

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image source="featured_image" img_size="large"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]USC has had some ups and downs since the departure of Pete Carroll from the program. There have been more downs than ups for certain, but they did have at least some success under previous head coach Clay Helton. Helton led them to multiple Pac 12 title games, winning one and also won a Rose Bowl. However, USC has real expectations - they are a blue blood program with rich tradition. They knew they needed to hit a home run with their next head coach, and they did just that. They scored a jackpot when they convinced Lincoln Riley to leave Oklahoma and head to USC.

Lincoln Riley was highly successful in Norman, regularly bringing in top-notch recruiting classes, and winning four conference titles in five seasons. Riley lost no more than twice in any season at Oklahoma and made the CFP twice. He coached back-to-back Heisman trophy winners, both of whom ended up being number one overall NFL draft picks.

Lincoln Riley immediately got to work once hired, bringing over several of his assistants from Oklahoma. Among them Alex Grinch, one of the better defensive coordinators in college football, alongside elite WR coach Dennis Simmons. He snatched Josh Henson as an OL coach from Texas A&M and Shaun Nua from Michigan. USC went 4-8 last year but was not totally devoid of talent how could they be? It's USC. Having no head coach slanted the end result, and Riley brought some ammunition to turn things around.

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Brining in talent from all over the country in the transfer portal USC has been able to completely reconstruct their roster that gives them the ability to win right away. They have added an elite QB in Caleb Williams (Oklahoma), RB Travis Dye (Oregon) Austin Jones (Stanford), WRs Mario Williams (Oklahoma), Brenden Rice (Colorado), and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison (Pitt). They also added much-needed offensive line help in OT Bobby Haskins (Virginia). USC has completely facelifted their offense and added proven quality players to their offense that are big time. In addition, the offensive line woes of USC are vastly overstated.

Their play up front has to get better certainly, but adding one of the best OL coaches in the country in Josh Henson helps. But so does the return of potential All-American Andrew Vorhees, who can play both tackle and guard. In addition, LT Courtland Ford is a young player with a very high upside that Hansen will likely get the most out of. Throw in the transfer of Haskins and things went from weakness to strength. PFF saw a lot they liked from USC's big men as they had them ranked #1 up front last season:

The trend of adding talent did not stop on the offensive side of the ball nor should it have. The Trojans biggest downfall in 2021 was their defense. The good news for the the Trojans is if anyone can make a quick turnaround for a defense it is Alex Grinch. When Grinch arrived in 2019 Oklahoma's defense was significantly stronger than it had been the previous year. The OU defense finished outside of the top 100, but in one season alone OU finished in the top 40. They were disruptive at the line scrimmage, and got better each year at defending the pass. The 2021 season was tough for Grinch's defense in large part to serious injuries in the middle of the year.

Some of the players added on defense include LBs Eric Gentry (Arizona State), Romello Height (Auburn), Shane Lee (Alabama). Gentry and Lee have played quality football at their previous stops and should have an immediate impact. Also do not sleep on sophomore Raesjon Davis making a jump under the tutelage of Brian Odom. The additions of CBs Latrell McCutchin (Oklahoma), Jacobe Covington (Washington), and Mekhi Blackmon (Colorado) are also enormous. USC was also able to bring in the top-ranked cornerback prospect Domani Jackson into the fold. In addition, Alex Grinch's scheme is perfect for a player like Korey Foreman who was the number one ranked player in last year's recruiting cycle that is on the USC roster.

This USC team has no resemblance to the 4-8 squad from a year ago. They have added incredible talent up and down their roster on both sides and have supported their upgrades in talent with a proven top-tier on-field coaching staff. Alex Grinch's defense has already proven to be effective in the Pac 12 conference, and nobody is slowing down Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley's offense. Utah, UCLA, and, of course, Notre Dame will be the opponents for the Trojans to watch out for, but how do they not win at least 10 games in 2022? Regardless of your feelings on Lincoln Riley or disdain for west coast football, get over it. Those feelings are not going to stop the Trojans moving forward. Riley also has three Texas commitments already in 2023 cycle. Not welcome news for other programs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]