Lincoln Riley Signals Good Change Coming

Trojans ‘surprised’ and ‘excited’ by Lincoln Riley, but not everyone can be optimistic

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  At the end of one era at USC and the thrilling start of another, here was an awkward juxtaposition: As Lincoln Riley, the Trojans’ new coach, and the few assistants he’d already announced made their rounds on the practice field Tuesday night, USC’s current staff remained in their usual roles, coaching out their final few days with little clarity on what lies ahead after Saturday’s season finale at California.

For Donte Williams, these were especially odd circumstances. USC’s interim coach has led the Trojans ever since Clay Helton was fired in September, and through those two months, USC’s administration made it clear it hoped to retain him.

But in Riley’s unexpected arrival, Williams’ status was suddenly less certain, and as he was asked Tuesday about the prospect of joining USC’s next coach on staff, Williams chose to sidestep any such questions. Instead, he attempted to shift the focus from his future to Saturday’s mostly meaningless matchup with Cal.

“I haven’t even asked about that; I do not want to be informed,” Williams said. “All I care about is making sure we handle Cal. Everything for me is about Cal, trust me. That’s where my main focus is, that’s where my focus will stay. I don’t want it to swindle at all in any other direction. All day, I sit in here and watch film on Cal and offense, defense and special teams and make sure we’re fully prepared to play them.”

There was no official word on Williams’ future, and considering his answers, it’s unlikely one will be offered before that final game is complete.

On Monday, Riley said he would meet with the current coaches but didn’t “want to jump too quick.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - November 29 2021: Lincoln Riley is announced as the new head football coach.

It’s unlikely that he’d jump at the chance to retain any of USC’s current coaches outside of Williams, even though Riley does have connections to offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, tight ends coach Seth Doege and offensive line coach Clay McGuire through their previous jobs or playing careers at Texas Tech.

Riley already has a defensive coordinator (Alex Grinch) and receivers coach (Dennis Simmons) in place. The rest of the staff is expected to be filled out over the next two weeks.

According to a report from 247 Sports, one Oklahoma assistant, Roy Manning, already called top recruit Domani Jackson on USC’s behalf. That call reportedly came the day after Manning had an in-home visit with an Oklahoma recruit.

Manning, who spent the last three seasons with the Sooners, just happens to coach cornerbacks, the same position group as Williams.

Asked if he hoped to stay on staff at USC, Williams called the inquiry “kind of like a trick question.”

“I mean, this is a great place, this is home for me,” Williams said. “So right now, once again, I’m still focused on Cal.”

That was the resounding message out of USC on Tuesday, even while many still were riding a high from Sunday’s bombshell hire. USC players would acknowledge only the smallest bit of excitement upon hearing the news about Riley, before then quickly refocusing on the task at hand Saturday.

New USC football coach Lincoln Riley speaks during an introductory ceremony at the Coliseum Monday. (Ashley Landis / AP)

Still, it was impossible to ignore Riley observing things Tuesday as he walked the sideline alongside director of player personnel Spencer Harris.

“Definitely just excited,” defensive end Nick Figueroa said. “Everything is being evaluated. He’s watching. He’s seeing what we have, what we may need to address, and this is a big chance for everyone to step up and make a name for themselves.”

Safe to say none of the players expected the team’s third coach of the season to be as big a name as Riley.

“A lot of us were pretty surprised,” quarterback Jaxson Dart said. “Didn’t really hear his name much in the conversation about it. A lot of us are excited. We know his history and what he’s done to all the programs he’s been to.”

Riley has been especially good to quarterbacks, guiding two (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) to Heisman Trophy seasons and another (Jalen Hurts) to becoming a Heisman finalist. Less than a day after Riley was introduced at USC, he lured Los Alamitos five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson to join him there and decommit from Oklahoma. It’s unclear if other quarterbacks may join Riley before Dart has a chance to lay any groundwork.

When Riley addressed the team Monday, he made clear that “change is on the horizon,” Figueroa said.

“But change is good,” he continued.

For the players, that change meant clarity at the top of the program. For the coaches, it’s likely to mean something entirely different.

“There’s a lot of optimism for the future,” Figueroa said. “A lot of us have been in this sort of gray area of what the future may hold. So I think it’s nice to have some clarity and know this is an opportunity to play for our seniors and play an important game.”

latimes.com

_________

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.
Notify of
72 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Trojan5
Member
Knighted Member
Trojan5(@trojan5)
December 1, 2021 8:12 pm

For grins I checked in on Wolfs site. Definitely a different vibe. Much more snarky, cynical and negative than TDB & the rest of the college football world. It was a waste of 15 minutes & it is precious time I will never get back. But I only have myself to blame.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 2, 2021 6:26 am
Reply to  Trojan5

Been there done that. I sure wish MG would come over here though.

Jamaica
Member
Knighted Member
Jamaica(@jamaica)
December 1, 2021 7:35 pm

In the beginning, reports were saying OL coach Bedenbaugh was coming with Riley. But we don’t hear his name being mentioned anymore? Anyone know the status of this crucial coach who makes the OU offense work?

alfa1
Member
Noble Member
alfa1(@alfa1)
December 2, 2021 6:29 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen what are you saying…..
your last paragraph is ridiculous!
We’ve heard Riley and Bohn talk about at team effort. Each part is essential in creating a Championship team, it’s a composite of parts that make the whole.
Based on your last paragraph, we would do just as well with
Neil Callaway being the OL Coach. Riley and Bedenbaugh are synced, they have a rhythm, it works, you don’t give it the proper credit. Surely you’ve noticed what poor OL play looks like, we’ve all suffered it for the last six years. Bedenbaugh is a critical part of Riley’s offense.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 2, 2021 6:54 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, if Bedenbaugh does not come it WILL be a big deal. He is an intricate part of Riley’s system.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 2, 2021 7:28 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Not what I said. I said he is an intricate part, not the ultimate solution. We already have the solution, but Riley although good, is only as good as the help he brings in under him.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 2, 2021 8:07 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Rest?? I am to pumped, just like you, so lets agree to disagree and have some fun through all of this.

ATL D.D.S.
Member
Diamond Member
ATL D.D.S.(@atl-d-d-s)
December 2, 2021 9:12 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

USC is playing Cal? in what sport?

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 6:27 pm

It is amusing to see how Riley comes in, names DC and other positions, gets commits, and players going portal to come to USC. If Helton was still here it would be late February before a staff was put together, not to mention all the recruits lost. Thank you Stanford.

San Diego Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
December 1, 2021 8:37 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m kinda shocked if that’s true. He must have made a hell of an impression. Maybe ND AD has already put out overtures to guys like Fickell and Campbell to gauge their interests and found out they weren’t, or don’t want to pay the going rate for a high profile guy

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 5:24 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

You know Allen, he sucked a lot of the life out of this blog. I have not seen this much excitement on here since Sam beat Penn St in the Rose Bowl. It is so refreshing and yes exciting to have a USC football future we can’t wait to have start. Everyday gets us closer to next season.

Chris
Member
Diamond Member
Chris(@chris)
December 1, 2021 2:02 pm

Jack Sears back in transfer portal.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 2:08 pm
Reply to  Chris

This his second or third trip through?

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
December 1, 2021 1:03 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

All the more reason to expect Cristobal to exit after the conference championship game. I bet he now wishes that the Ducks had lost! It is funny that OSU beating Oklahoma was so critical to SC. So we owe two coaches each a huge thank you. David Shaw for getting The Cat fired and Mike Gundy for making Lincoln Riley available. Never have two losses been so important to SC. Sounds like Riley is getting his staff together. My guess is the OL coach got a big raise to move. So far, we have the DC, the OL coach, the… Read more »

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 2:20 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Jobs are getting filled, where would he go?

alfa1
Member
Noble Member
alfa1(@alfa1)
December 1, 2021 2:21 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Is there any confirmation that Bill Bedenbaugh is coming with Riley ?

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 3:28 pm
Reply to  alfa1

I read it on Trojan Wire, but that is the only place so far.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 6:06 pm
Reply to  alfa1

He is already listed as a USC coach on wikipedia!

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 6:42 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Reported now on MSN, Yahoo, and OU Daily.

alfa1
Member
Noble Member
alfa1(@alfa1)
December 2, 2021 5:38 am
Reply to  Steveg

I’m relieved thank you. He is one of the major keys to Riley’s offense.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 12:40 pm

Johnny Nansen goes to Arizona to become their DC. Good for him.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 12:38 pm

Trojans Wire says that Riley is bringing O line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to USC. If true, this is one great hire for USC. Finally, an O line coach who is really good.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 12:54 pm
Reply to  Steveg

I like the way he is referred, “Elite offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh”. It just get better and better. Lincoln Riley, the gift that keeps on giving.

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
December 1, 2021 1:06 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I would have said “basically an incompetent as Head Coach” but Bruce cannot publish that. My guess is most of the kids on the roster who are not graduating will be playing for another program next year. Heck, Clay can have those Lincoln does not want. That is only fair!

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 11:25 am

Something rattling around in my head. Maybe this was said elsewhere. I am thinking Bohn had 5 coaches he could get and be happy to get. Then he had 5 scenarios laid out where each one would be available this past Saturday night. Which ever way the algorithm went that’s who he called. He also had to have laid the ground work with each coaches agent. However he did it Bohn did a hell of a job. No wonder he looked a little beat yesterday. Riley had to be the best case scenario but who knows who we might be… Read more »

RialtoTrojan
Member
Noble Member
RialtoTrojan(@rialtotrojan)
December 1, 2021 10:19 am

Trojan fans have withstood the brunt of rumors since the second game of the season. So in the spirit of rumor mills everywhere I am starting a few myself. (and remember you heard them here first unless they already happened) Donte Williams is leading candidate for the head coach position opened by the mutual parting of Sark and Texas. Ed Orgeron has his eye on the Sooner opening, his southern Cajun drawl will fit in their little wagon. Clay Helton has been locked in a closet at Georgia Southern for two weeks. There was a mix-up in the assignment of… Read more »

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 10:23 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

He’s got a big family, think they are mid-west all the way. Sheleighly’s probably much more to their liking than surfboards would have been. It’s Dec 1 and are coaches dream came true.. So who’s going to flip to USC today? You got to believe that ‘Fight On’ is playing for many in the transportal waiting room.

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
December 1, 2021 1:09 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

He would be nuts to turn it down. The timing stinks, but there are three high quality jobs in the Midwest: Michigan, Ohio State & ND. ND just opened up in a red hot coaches market. He has to take the job if offered (he would get at least $10 Million a year). He will never see this opportunity again.

volunteerTrojan
Member
Noble Member
volunteerTrojan(@volunteertrojan)
December 1, 2021 10:28 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

They should abandon it. What benefit does it bring? Go back to the Feb date.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 10:40 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

July or even early August would be perfect, ending the time coaches cannot do anything. This December date is so screwed up only the ncaa could come up with it.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 11:02 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Do what’s right for the kids? What a concept. Makes sense Allen, if some are certain no matter what let them sign. Then the unintended consequences, how does the kid play his senior season, the kid gets injured in November, coaching changes Thanksgiving weekend.

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 10:34 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If the play offs expand there will be even more coaches distracted from Thanksgiving to Christmas, just drop December and leave February or move it up into January.

San Diego Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
December 1, 2021 8:00 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Just about every sportscaster and analyst, including Dan Patrick and Rick Neuheisel this morning, list the early signing period as the main reason schools are forced to hire earlier than they want to. It causes awkward scenarios like what happened over the weekend, where guys from Oklahoma and ND were out recruiting for their schools only to get a call that their head coach was leaving. The schools and fans that lose their coach suddenly, overnight, feel left at the alter. The business side of college athletics is definitely more at the forefront than ever before. Allen, you know better… Read more »

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 9:13 am

Couple of top receivers in the portal from OU. We could use some good hands, and someone who can get yards after catch.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 8:43 am

I cannot believe Riley would not bring back Williams. What he has shown to USC in regards to dedication, and ability is worthy of keeping him. Remember, the defensive plan will change next year. To top it all off, why would USC let go a great recruiter that we all know would end up at ucla to stay home. Chip would hire him in a heartbeat.

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 9:59 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hasn’t Manning Coached LB’s or other positions?
I respect the current coaching staff and especially the players, they have one more game to prepare for. For many its a chance for Riley to view for others it may be the last game they ever play. Donte has sat down with Lincoln, so there has been conversation. Let’s support and respect, AFTER all we got Riley and the ‘Hits keep coming’

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 10:27 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen you are the greatest! Never believe what Chocolate Chip says about you 

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 10:33 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

 “In 2016, Manning saw his Washington State outside linebackers combine for 16 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and six turnovers. The Cougars finished the year third in the Pac-12 in rushing defense while forcing 23 turnovers, tied for fourth in the conference.” Not bad for WSU Leach team

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 10:35 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If Manning comes, no big deal. Someone has to coach safeties and linebackers. There ya go. Who would want Donte to go to ucla. Not Riley I am sure.

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 10:47 am
Reply to  Steveg

From what he has produced sounds like is a good deal.. Just shows there’s a chance to bring him and keep Donte. Donte is an asset to the program now, and going forward, I think everything considered he’d turn out invaluable for many reasons for LR staff.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 10:53 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

So Roy Manning contacts Domani Jackson on behalf of USC. Is he getting fired from OU or has anyone heard. Why would OU care? The kids is down to USC and Alabama. As far as relationships you are right, if they can’t work together he should not be hired. But from what I hear everyone likes Donte.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 12:20 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I think right now OU is a little touchy about everything. About time USC came out on top for a change.

Petero
Member
Diamond Member
Petero(@petero)
December 1, 2021 11:11 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Agree with all you said. On a side note concerning the Domani Jackson recruiting between Bama and USC, we can still land him without Donte, however I think Donte could close it for us.

Gosh isn’t great that USC conversations are in a completely different universe now?

usc50
Member
Noble Member
usc50(@usc50)
December 1, 2021 9:56 am
Reply to  Steveg

Have to agree Donte Williams is a keeper.
At the very least give him title of lead recruiter and maybe the TEs.
The DL coach seems to he ok.

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
December 1, 2021 6:50 am

Riley commented on “roster turnover”. I wonder if any of the recruits who still remain committed under Donte’s regime still have an offer. It will be really interesting to see what the roster for next year looks like in the Spring. The new transfer rules allow for a roster to be redone quite quickly. But, I would think all the kids on the roster should use this week to impress Riley and Grinch why they should be on the team next year. I think SC gave 4 year commitments to some kids, but I would think those could be honored… Read more »

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 7:53 am
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Guarantee that there are a few offers that will be withdrawn. Already there are a couple of lesser players from USC in the portal, and I would expect a few more to join in. What Coach Riley is going to bring to USC will be the big name players, especially at the front positions on both sides of the ball as he says. Linemen!!! I do believe Dart, Moss, and even Slovis are in danger of losing any PT. Dart perhaps will stay but if Williams at OK enters the portal or Hayner gets picked up, there is going to… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 8:07 am
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Most of this team will be sliding down the bench and some right off it! I will be fascinated to see if USC has dialed in an NIL plan. It is LA, the media, image capital of the world. Allen called that picture above “the money shot”. As in a lot of money in those skyscrapers ready to pour out onto USC players and recruits. NIL and the transfer portal could change this team in a hurry. Would like to know all the workings behind the scene.

Last edited 1 month ago by Golden Trojan
Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
December 1, 2021 8:44 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Hasn’t USC built a staff just for NIL to help recruit?

Last edited 1 month ago by Steveg
Golden Trojan
Member
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
December 1, 2021 9:09 am
Reply to  Steveg

It sounds like they have, how aggressive effective they will be is the interesting part for me. Lots of schools are trying to take advantage but who will be the winners.

UtahTrojan
Member
Diamond Member
UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
December 1, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  Steveg

They did, but I am hearing rumors on some of them going elsewhere.