LOS ANGELES – On Sunday, USC head coach Lincoln Riley relieved defensive coordinator Alex Grinch of his duties after the Trojans gave up 49 points to Cal and 52 to Washington.
Riley mentioned after Saturday’s loss that he wasn’t thinking about the big picture questions surrounding the defense. Although it didn’t seem likely that he would make a decision within the next 12 hours, he did.
“Watched the game Saturday night, slept on it and thought about it a lot throughout the night, I didn’t sleep much, thought about a little more Sunday morning, just felt like it was the best interest in our program both for this year because we still got a lot to play for.” During his media availability on Monday, Riley stated.
While Riley talked regarding the firing of Grinch, he emphasized that although the event was unfortunate, the team still has a lot to play for in the upcoming matches against Oregon and UCLA. He elaborated on the significance of these games, emphasizing the team’s commitment to finishing the season strong.
“We got a big time challenge but a big time opportunity right in front of us here with these last two games and if we win these two, we can put ourselves in a pretty cool position and so that’s our focus, my focus going forward.”
USC’s record is now 7-3 after losing on Saturday. It was also the first time the Trojans lost back-to-back home games since November 20, 2021. Washington’s 35 points in the first half were the highest points the Huskies have ever scored in a game against USC. As well, the four touchdowns score in the second quarter by Washington, it tied a USC opponent record for most touchdowns in one quarter.
The USC program was in a bad position as they waited until November 5th to make a decision. It was clear that Riley was not ready to replace Grinch yet and during his media availability on Monday, he spoke about his friendship with Grinch.
“He’s a good friend, he got a great family. Our kids are close, there ain’t nothing easy about it, as much as you wish you could, it’s harder to separate professional from just kinda basic human feelings about one another and our families.”
It was a tough decision for Riley to make but said it was the right one.
“We’re all committed to playing great defense here and whatever it takes to get that done, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
After the departure of Grinch, the Trojans have made some changes to their coaching staff. Shaun Nua, the Defensive Line Coach, and Brian Odom, the Inside Linebackers Coach as well as Associate Head Coach for Defense, will be the interim co-defensive coordinators for the remainder of the season. Furthermore, Taylor Mays, who previously served as a Defensive Analyst, has now been promoted to an on-field assistant coach and will be working with the safeties.
The Trojans are currently gearing up for their upcoming game against the Oregon Ducks. The game is scheduled to take place on Saturday night at 7:30 Pacific Time and will be broadcasted live on FOX. USC will have a tough task on their hands as they will be facing the highly talented Oregon team, who are currently considered the favorites to win by 16.5 points.