USC’s Lincoln Riley parts ways with defensive coordinator Alex Grinch


USC head coach Lincoln Riley announced on Sunday that he has fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who has been his longtime top assistant at both Oklahoma and USC. The decision came after the Trojans gave up 572 yards and 52 points to No. 5 Washington in a 52-42 loss on Saturday night, their third defeat in four games.

Riley said in a statement that he appreciates Grinch’s contributions to the program, but felt that a change was necessary to improve the defense. He also thanked Grinch for his friendship and professionalism, and wished him the best in his future endeavors.

Grinch joined Riley at USC in late 2021, after serving as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator from 2019 to 2021. He was expected to bring a more aggressive and disruptive style of defense to the Trojans, who had struggled under former head coach Clay Helton.

However, Grinch’s defense failed to live up to the expectations, as the Trojans ranked near the bottom of the nation in several defensive categories. USC has allowed 42.0 points and 483.7 yards per game over its past six contests, and has fallen to 119th out of the 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season with 436.9 yards per game allowed, and 121st with 34.5 points per game allowed.


USC names co-defensive coordinators for the rest of the season

Riley said that defensive line coach Shaun Nua and inside linebackers coach Brian Odom will serve as USC’s co-defensive coordinators for the remainder of the season, which includes games against Oregon and UCLA before a bowl game. Taylor Mays, the former USC safety who has been a defensive analyst this season, was promoted to an on-field role working with the Trojans’ safeties.

Nua and Odom have both worked with Riley at Oklahoma, and have experience in coaching different defensive schemes. Nua was the defensive line coach at Arizona State from 2018 to 2020, where he helped the Sun Devils improve their pass rush and run defense. Odom was the outside linebackers coach at Missouri from 2015 to 2018, where he coached his brother, Barry Odom, who is now the defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

Mays is a familiar face to USC fans, as he was a four-time All-American and a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back in 2009. He played in the NFL for five seasons, and joined Riley’s staff as a defensive analyst in 2021.

USC hopes to bounce back from disappointing season

The firing of Grinch is the latest move by Riley to shake up the USC program, which has fallen short of its high standards in recent years. The Trojans were unranked in Sunday’s AP Top 25 for the first time in Riley’s two-year tenure at the school, and have lost three of their last four games to fall out of the College Football Playoff race after a 6-0 start.

Riley, who was hired by USC in November 2021 after leading Oklahoma to four consecutive Big 12 titles and three College Football Playoff appearances, said that he is committed to restoring USC’s glory and building a championship culture. He said that he will evaluate every aspect of the program and make the necessary changes to achieve that goal.

Riley has already made some significant moves in the offseason, such as bringing in several high-profile transfers, including former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler and former Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams, who are expected to boost USC’s offense next season. He has also secured the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2023, according to 247Sports, which features several five-star prospects, such as defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau and cornerback Domani Jackson.

Riley said that he is confident that USC has the talent and the potential to compete for national titles, and that he will do everything in his power to make that happen.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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