Two Points Of Emphasis For Lincoln Riley

Lincoln Riley is certainly known for his version of the Air Raid offense and it’s too soon to tell how exactly it will be run at USC.

But it would serve Riley well to remember the best teams usually rely on two things: Defense and running the ball.

There is a criticism that Oklahoma allowed too many points in the Big 12. I’ve previously mentioned that a mitigating factor is the spread offenses in that conference which are so prolific at scoring.

Will it be easier to shut down Pac-12 teams?

Also, Riley didn’t have much success in the College Football Playoff, where the opponents were usually teams that had good defenses and running games.

As I’ve said, I expect Riley to dominate the Pac-12.

But to take USC to the next level, that fans expect, the defense and running game needs to be a higher priority.

44 thoughts on “Two Points Of Emphasis For Lincoln Riley

  1. In 2019, OU ran the ball an average of 40 rushes a game for an average of 240 rushing yards per game. They threw the ball an average of 27 times a game for 290 yards. Nothing to complain about there, Scottie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trojan1967,

      You just proved the point, that defense wins games. You can have all the offense in the world but if you don’t have a defense, then you will lose. Look at oregon losing to auburn, because they did not have a defense.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Nothing to complain about? Nothing to complain about?! 67! Think of where you are! …
      [Scott’s right, though, about the need to do more to develop a run game at USC. Helton left us with a ragtag band that needs to get whipped into shape by a major talent at o-line coach. And our D-Coordinator needs to improve on Oklahoma’s numbers]…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. L Riley needs to bring Bill Bedenbaugh to Troy

    A guy that will rebuild the trenches with white all American strength. Get a guy like Jake Taylor in there to push around the thugs and keep Miller Moss safe

    I’m glad we showed thugs like McKenzie and Echols the door. Now rebuild the culture with Bedenbaugh and will be on our way to glory


    1. SouthOC Trojan,

      I take exception to what you said about McKenzie and Echols. They are young men that are learning. What you might think that they did is selfish, but they have a right to their own opinions and expression. Besides, I know Mr. Hunter Echols personally and he comes from a very fine family and he is a wonderful, thoughtful, kind, and courtious young man. His family is top notch and are just the same as Hunter. You might be mad at what they did, but there is no reason to call either young man a thug.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I keep wondering if SouthOC is for real…. the “thug” talk and “white strength” references seems weird & contrived….

        Liked by 2 people

      1. The “white trash” remark makes me wonder if it’s you…


  3. Scooter,

    Do you remember when OU had the Simmon brothers and they had the qb from Carson running the wishbone against SC? Ou was just running up and down the field and they were having a field day, until SC’s defense finally figured out how to stop the pitch and desginating on who would take the qb and who would take the pitchman when OU ran the wishbone. After that, it was good night Irene. SC won on defense and they had a passing game to help. Great game.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. not to burst any bubbles, but the best team this year , the past two national champs, and the past two super bowl winners have won by throwing the football.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Are we talking Alabama, or did Georgia enter that “bjubble” as well.

      The NFL, the No Fun League. Not much of a fan– cannot recall who
      won last year let alone the year before (O.K. I do remember that Brady guy)


      1. Talk to me goose,

        yes, they throw the ball more, but defenses have come up with the nickel, dime, eight guys covering, and other defenses that can make up the increase in the passing game. However, if you get a qb that is throwing the ball accurately and within a second, that is hard to cover. QB’s are better than from the 60’s in regards to qb’s. The game has evolved to being a high occtane fuel injected turbo movement. This evlovement started back in the early 70’s when they started to move a receiver from one side to the other. That was a big deal at that time. Now, everyone moves except the oline.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Scooter,

    I remember back in the 60’s, 70’s and even into the 80’s that you could have bet the mortgage on USC winning because their defense was the best. They would stop teams that were on the goal line with four downs and they kept pounding the ball and SC’s defense would not bend. It wass just like a wall of stone. SC needs that back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a former Defensive Captain in 1968 and 1969, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Defense wins games, conference and National Championships. If the opponent can’t score, the pressure is off on our offense.. We always gave the offense good, sometimes great, field position to score.
    My 1967,1968 and 1969 teams either led or were in the top 5 defenses nationally. Coach McKay always stressed to our defensive team, that we were the key to winning this week’s game.
    Our offensive teams obviously had great future NFL players, but the games were made easier by our outstanding Team Defense.
    Mckay’s attention to defensive details led to 4 straight Rose Bowls, 4 conference titles, 1 National Championship and a 33-2-2 record for me.
    I hope the New HC understands this and makes the necessary changes in how he approaches every game. LR must hire a great defensive minded coordinator and recruit and develop great defensive players if USC is to be back at the Elite level of competition

    Liked by 5 people

    1. trojanwb,

      Was Dave Levy your dcordinator? I remember Don Lindsey being a great coordinator. I remember your defenses and they were some of the best. But SC had players. They are lacking in that area for now. In a year or two, we will see. You guys ran the 5-2 defense, is that correct? But you had the players to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dave Levy was our DC. He was great and a calming voice on the sidelines to me as the defensive captain. Back then, only the captain could go over to the sidelines
        at timeouts.
        Coach McKay would also be there but he mainly stayed out of the conversations.
        He was also quite emotional to me about what to tell the other defensive players.
        Levy would settle me down and broke down the facts and what we needed to do.
        We ran a slanting 5-2 defense with a strong and weak LB’s. I was the Strong LB and would go to the TE side over the guard.
        We ran a 6-1 defense on the goal line with me in the middle.
        For the 1970 Rose Bowl game against Michigan, sometimes we ran a 5-3.
        I would either be in the middle or line up on their All American TE Jim Mandichz
        I had a good game and was named defensive player of the game.. We won with our typical low score 10-3!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. trojanwb,

      I would love to hear stories and your experience from you about playing football at SC. That would be great firsht hand knowledge on what it was like plauying for Mckay and Levy. That is if you want to share.


  7. Like it or not, Scott is right on this. And don’t let the ratio of pass to run fool you in Air Raid offenses– there is often a problem with sticking with the run, sustained drives even when there are run plays. The run game is simplified which makes it easier to stop, thus meaning when it comes down to it, defenses can stop the run, and when the yards are in question in crucial times, Air Raid offenses throw and their pass routes are more predictable. Riley runs against weaker teams and then turns pass happy when he’s struggling. (That’s not me, if you’ve followed Oklahoma that’s what everyone notes, the press, etc.) That’s why the Air Raid Killer defense works so well, it’s not just the 3-3-3 or some version, it’s the simplification and strong tendencies which coaches (even with far less talent) saw they could prepare for, and had Riley’s offenses trending downward despite the numbers.

    Remember the West Coast offense is big on throwing too, it just puts more emphasis on blocking, play action, doing more from the same look, using more backs and TEs that can block and run and catch. A QB is required to be very smart, quick and accurate, with athleticism to roll out. Every once in a while there’s a QB going out for a pass, making a block, a run play, but that’s a trick, deception, to make an already overwhelmed defense feel that everyone could hurt them, and any space on the field is possible for them to be burned. A Tight End running a seam route that’s been blocking like a cement wall, that leaves a defense feeling helpless.

    To Riley’s credit, he’s thrown in Full Backs/HBacks, which has people calling his offense “Pro Raid”. But it hasn’t done enough for him to not lose all 3 play offs, and to struggle or lose vs far less talented but well coached teams. None of that is damning, he just needs to use this time to add a few more wrinkles.

    Riley doesn’t need a dimwit yes-man like Harrell God forbid, he needs a good OC that can help him evolve. Look at CLK, who went and got Kendal Briles and his bro in law Jeff Lebby and handed over the reins of play calling while working together, putting CLK’s huge ego aside. And Texas just told Sark to get Patterson on staff to help him. And we all know how Saban sets up the parameters of his offense then has talented passing game, running game and OL/TE coaches do their thing within it.

    Michigan, Bama, Georgia, etc. look like 20 years ago– defense, pounding runs, and a competitor QB who can put together the 2 minute drill with crucial passes /finding the weaknesses or blown coverages in pass coverages/ run enough to pick up yards and pressure defenses even if they are not “running QBs”.

    If Bohn is helpful at all, he has to give a hard reminder that it’s about evolving to be better because USC has a tougher slate than OU, with no FCS creampuffs (we don’t get to play Texas-El Paso and the Presbyterian Blue Hoses sometimes even in the same year), we play a few more serious in conference challengers who are better teams (especially Utah and maybe still Oregon), and we play Notre Dame each year.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Agree —but I have a question: Bohn can give all the “hard reminders” in the world …but does he have the contacts and the $$$ to grab us a top 0-line coach? Or a premier D-Coordinator? It’s beginning to look like none of those boys want to set foot on USC’s campus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s why my favorite selection for Head Coach was an unusual one, in Jeff Stoutland. Getting the best OL/TE coach is gold, especially if he’s a strong run game coordinator.

        Everyone and their mother is a good passing game coordinator, especially if the QB is protected and there’s a strong run game. These glorified passing came coordinators as OCs are flashy, marketable but too often over hyped.

        And DCs are a lot better when there is ball control, field position and sustained drives, few turnovers–

        And a defense that has to practice against a physical af OL/backs and TEs, and receivers that have all day to get free have to improve.

        A good OL coach given the reins usually creates a pervasive atmosphere of discipline and accountability. Too bad these guys often are older and not really made for media.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ha!
        Carol: “If the O-Line coach isn’t young & telegenic, I don’t want him”….
        #”There’sMoreToFootballThanKnowledge —There’sLooks!”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oklahoma lost two tough high scoring games in the playoffs … OT to Georgia and a tough one to Bamer. The game today is offense. Bamer’s D has sucked but they won because they had 3 Heisman finalist on offense every year. Had nothing to do with defense.
    Sure the D has to be decent and have some play makers ( see Michigan ). But the shut done days are long over. It’s all about offense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True.
      Still —I haven’t seen Bama’s corner repeatedly let receivers get 10 yards further downfield than they are….

      Liked by 2 people

  9. The L. A. Times just graded all the new coaching hires — from the “A” hires to the “C” hires — the only “A” hire was Lincoln Riley. Interestingly, Clay (“It’s a great day to be an eagle …cuz I’m here”) Helton didn’t quite make the list…
    #…Meaning He’s…”D…”Or”F”…


  10. 3 points of emphasis for Scott: If you don’t moderate as you claim, then some motherfucker is doing it for you. Today another post disappeared without reason. So, motherfucker, I’m giving you reason. I’m using language that I don’t spew until I have hit my thumb with a hammer or busted toes on the bed post.
    What is Scott going to do if USC starts winning? This is inevitable, the pieces are coming together, the only thing that’ll bother Scott is the color of socks worn by the team. You allow trolls and a poster who calls himself “Fuck You” I think anything goes.
    Are they going to dedicate three inches of empty column space to symbolize the lack of journalism in your desolate waistline?


    1. Whew. That was a lot to digest.

      And I am surprised Scott would delete anybody’s thoughts and comments.
      If anything, I believe Scott should have many of his thoughts and comments deleted.
      Oh, Oh, there it goes, that will not get by the Scott Wolf censor wolf.

      But if it does, here goes:

      SC is going to be fine. This infusion of new blood into the SC program by a
      bona fide coach should at least get SC back on the map of college football.

      But National Championships?– “Whoa Nellie,” someone once said.

      If only that darn Satan Saban would retire and get out of everybody’s hair!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your reference to Dick Lane…whatta’ used car salesman he was and a decent actor too…who else used to watch chnl 5 and spade cooley…live in concert and commercials too…


  11. all those points are true…SC must have great line coaches to develop their linemen…it appeared this SC ‘O’ line did improve over previous yrs,so coaching is a difference maker, and firing hellton made a difference.


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