Morning Buzz: It’s All About Whether USC Can Build An Elite Defense

Predictably, some of the fanboy media are clutching their pearls over the backlash from some fans to Alex Grinch being retained.

One of their arguments is the players weren’t good enough. That’s obvious at some positions.

The bigger question, however, is whether this staff can build a defense that can win a national title. This is where they say to trust Lincoln Riley and certainly do not criticize him.

So far, Riley has demonstrated at Oklahoma and USC that his defenses are not capable of being elite. It’s legitimate to wonder how much Riley really even thinks about this issue.

Maybe that will change. Riley is betting on Grinch to make it happen. Some fans disagree. The fanboy media tends to go with the establishment.

Do I expect the defense to be better next year? Yes. Do I expect it to be elite? No.

That’s a concern when you have one season left with Caleb Williams.

What does surprise me is that Riley doesn’t think any changes are necessary, even if he wants to keep Grinch. He could upgrade at other spots. But he isn’t.

60 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: It’s All About Whether USC Can Build An Elite Defense

      1. Correction: Fan People with No Capacity for Pregnancy Media. The only logical explanation for all of this is that we are in a Huge Candid Camera Show similar to The Truman Show Movie and someone is laughing their ass off at all of us.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes… that would be more “harmonic.”
        #FollowingNancy’sLead…
        #I’veGottenIntoEmptyPhrases…
        [I’m waiting for Pelosi to say, “Who are you calling Nancy”?!]

        Liked by 1 person

    1. History doesn’t lie, Fanboys do. Lincoln Riley doesn’t have a clue as to what it takes to build a national championship, because 6 years in, he continues to build for entertainment only. Sonny Dykes in one year did what Lincoln Riley could not do in five. The recruiting at USC reflects the history of Riley, so don’t expect anything different moving forward.

      Like

      1. Speaking of defenses, Kirk’s alma mater totally caved in the Peach Bowl. OSU gave up something like 550 yards on offense, 42 points, plus epic failure in the 4th quarter.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sure. That elite Sonny Dykes TCU defense sure had Georgia bottled up all night. Can’t even imagine what the score would have been but for that Dykes dyke.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Kirk, get hold of yourself. Snap out of it you whiny baby. You sniffling little momma’s boy. You have disgraced the name Kirk.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well, guys, offhand I’d say we fucked Kirk over pretty well tonight…
        #…NowOrdinarilyI’dFeelALittleBadAboutThat….
        #…But…
        #…TheFuckingCrybabyHadItComing

        Like

  1. there are not any elite defenses …period.
    Georgia has been vulnerable this year , but it is true they have one of the best, not elite.That is a totally subjective remark.
    SC surely does need to build a competitive defense to play in any final 4. Even Bama had no elite defense or TCU or Ohio St. SC probably would have made the final 4 if their q/b had not been injured.Utah caved in the RoseBowl, their q/b was injured.Tulane squeaked by mostly due to the fumble on the kick off and bad calls by the lincoln on the 1.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. a real special teams coach would solve those problems on kickoff,etc…it never would have occurred having some one who has never fielded a kick off doing what ended up costing the game…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re talking about the offseason —he was gonna get that anyway….
      #He’llStillNeedToStopWashingtonAndOregonWhenHeGetsBack

      Like

      1. I would hope that Grinch is on a short leash and if the defense continues to underperform in the next couple seasons that he will be dismissed

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Over the last 8 games, Grinch’s defense allowed 9.2 yards per play and 460 yards a game. This is historically bad and they played some mediocre offenses over that stretch – Cal, Colorado, and ND.

    Tired of the “not enough talent” excuse. Tuli and Blackmon were both All Americans. Bullock was a freshman All American as was Gentry. Domani Jackson was a top 5 in the nation recruit and Ceyair Wright was a high 4 star. Raejon Davis and Foreman were 5 stars. Players are not improving and cannot seem to do the basics such as shedding blocks and tackling. This is predominately on the coaches and I doubt that an additional year will solve anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate that you called Cal offense mediocre. Muchas gracias.

      It actually was/is horrible. We’ ll be fine except we don’t have a QB. Or Oline. Or head coach that in 6yrs has never had any offensive player drafted. Probably just bad luck. Nothing to be concerned about.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If only Dykes had what it takes back in the day…hard to know why coaches can go from struggling (Dykes at Cal) to competing for the Natty.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cal should have been more patient with Dykes…he was doing as well as one might expect after a first meltdown season.

        Always a good day when Cal75 comes to post here.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We have to face facts, our defense absolutely sucked! I’d give Mr Grinch one more year to improve the defense. If there’s no improvement then he has to go!

        Like

      4. Dykes in the off season, TWO YRS IN A ROW, ( while under contract) went to Texas and was blatantly sniffing around for his next opportunity. Cal alums were incensed. He had to go. Cal and the Bay Area is an acquired taste and Sonny Ykes made us sniff his ass. We didn’t like the taste.

        Like

    2. If there isnt someone in Heritage Hall making these very points, then there is a problem.

      The issue here is that Bohn is a below mediocre athletic director. He retained Clay Helton despite all evidence that he should have been canned. His athletic department cant even fill the Coliseum for the Notre Dame game with a CFP on the line. He has not been able to truly rebuild fan support for the Trojans.

      Folt hired Bohn because he was a mediocre AD who had failed down to the level of Cincinnati (where he got lucky hiring Fickell) and he didnt have the gravitas of a top AD to force the changes necessary. Because Folt doesnt want a powerful athletic department. Bohn still doesnt have the guts or brains to demand an outside collective be created that can make USC recruiting competitive.

      Failure is always about management and it goes to the top.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Moving in the right direction.

        1. Bohn is light years (5,865,700,000,000 miles in a year) ahead of Lynn Swann and Pat Haden. Getting better on the AD front. The minute the pandemic “was over” he fired Helton. Second game of 2021. Enfield (not his man) continues to finish near the top and takes the team to the dance lately. Had Vince Iwu… been playing, this year’s team would have done better. Baseball–used to care (Minor leagues are better than college, anyway).

        2. Riley is light years ahead (5.8 x 10 to the 12 power) of Kiff, Sark, and Helton combined. If Grinch produces a top 40 defense (his average) in 2022, we get to the final 4 and maybe lose to Georgia (by 30 pts).
        Interestingly, the Pac 12 will be even more competitive in 2023!
        Look at the QB talent throughout.

        3. Folt did a great job with the mess granted her by the prior Presidents (the scam gyno was at USC when I was an undergrad and med student in the 80’s fer cripesake). She’s no Sample/Zumberge, but she’s better than the rest.

        To my memory, the only proven real coach (Dykes was a one-off) who took a team to the CFP early in their career was Riley (and maybe Ryan Day, who stole Urban’s talent). Saban, Smart, Dabo, Hard Baugh took years to develop their craft and build their assistant coaches.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Scott needs to be congratulated on calling out the 2 true suck-up “fanboys” [and, relax, they aren’t any two of us] who did a 21 minute slob job yesterday on their USC site on how “no one should second guess one of the best coaches in America — stop the griping —-don’t throw fits over any of his decisions.”
    #”WeHAVEToTrustOurCoach…..”
    #FYI:ThisIsWhatScottMeansWhenHeTalksAbout”FanBoys”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Grinch’s record as D-coordinator:

    He takes Wazzu from 99th in total D to 17th in total D over 3 years.
    He goes to OSU, and OSU is 6th in total D.
    He goes to Oklahoma and takes OU from 114th in total D to 29th in total D in 2 years.

    What happened to that guy? If Grinch is staying, let’s get the old Grinch back. Not the guy whose D gave up 38 points per game the last 8 games of the season. And that includes Cal and Colorado.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hate to say this —but Grinch’s level of success in the last 2 games of the season is what you expect from a coach who’s lost his team….
      #ForSomeReasonHisPlayersAren’tPlayingHardForHim…
      #TheyClearlyAren’tGiving100%

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Most worrisome to me is:

        Lack of play recognition by the D, resulting in a delay at the snap
        Overpursuit, arm tackles
        Inability of 4 and 5 star DBs to play man coverage

        #Coaching-Coaching-Coaching

        Liked by 5 people

      2. …and —guess what —- the coaching, coaching, coaching is gonna get done by the same coaches, coaches, coaches….
        [I remember Reagan saying that Carter was a “smart and decent man who was a proven leader at every level until he reached his last job” —– afraid that’s where we are with Grinch]….
        #SometimesShitHappens…
        #AndIt’sImpossibleToPinpointWhy…
        #ButIt’sSmartToAdmitIt’sHappening

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It is an interesting theory Michael.
        Grinch publicly excoriates his defensive players….
        Generation Snowflake quiet quits the Tulane game and Caleb (not a snowflake) goes home a loser.

        One of the reasons that I so like Sean McVay, Riley and so dislike Nick Saban is that the former communicate well with this generation of player and the latter treats ’em like spoiled grandchildren.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I appreciated your line about Caleb. He’s no snowflake. He proved that once and for all in the Cotton Bowl. I felt bad for him cuz he deserved to win.
        #ItTookIncrediblyDumbFootball…
        #..OnThePartOfALotOfOtherPeople…
        #…ToLoseItForHim

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the anger towards Alex Grinch maybe misdirected. After all, who in their right mind would quit a well paying job?!? No one. Requesting he step down is comical.

    This really lies on Riley as he builds his staff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yesterday’s defense of Grinch’s defense (say that fast) was almost Heltonesq. “The defense at Oklahoma went from allowing 431 yards per game down to allowing 350 yards per game” (implying improvement I guess)
    “I like the way Alex always points the finger at himself.” Quite a few fanboys were pointing fingers at Grinch after spitting in high cotton, and it was not the index finger either.
    Finally, “After watching film, it easy to see the players were in the right place to make the play, but just didn’t” I called it slapstick tackling; first guy would grab the ball carrier and the next guy would slam into them freeing the ball carrier.
    Riley had the usual yada yada yada about fatigue toward the end of the game, but no real reason to keep Grinch other than better players are coming.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So on the money, Ghost! If you participate in or even watch tackle games in the park over the weekend you’ll see a lot of what USC does —defenders grabbing awkwardly and halfheartedly at a player as he runs by. No follow through. No desire to complete the tackle with “bad intentions.” Tulane’s receivers told interviewers they KNEW they could run through USC tackles cuz they’d watched the Pac 12 Championship game.

      Like

    2. Big holes at the line of scrimmage, open spaces for receivers, lousy tackling. The defense was continuously exposed and exploited from the season’s start, and it became progressively worse. It’s hard to believe that the coaches of the defense didn’t recognize deficiencies and attempt to fix them. And it’s difficult to believe the players didn’t attempt to adjust and improve. Yet, the defense didn’t improve. Proximate
      cause: bad coaching, substandard (mostly) players. I doubt that better players alone will fix the porous defense. USC, with the exception of the Utah and Tulane games, had a charmed football life courtesy of Caleb this past season. Given Riley’s decision to stick with Grinch et al, let’s hope the offense improves by a couple of touchdowns and learns how advance the ball from our own one yard line late in the game. That’s my two cents worth. Probably a bit overpriced.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ha! Exactly! They need to drill all spring & fall on taking the ball up the middle against a 5 man rush from their own 1 yard line.
        #That’sTheTicket
        […Or special teams could just let the ball go out of bounds and take it on the 35….or let it go into the endzone and take it on the 25…..
        No! On second thought…better to touch it at the one & start practicing taking it up the middle from there]…..

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Fatigue does not answer the Tulane story, where USC held the ball for a full 40 minutes and Tulane for 20 minutes.

      You can tell that Riley is slowing down the offense in order to keep the Defense off the field.

      Anyway, if Grinch can get some talent via the portal and develop Resjon, Domani, Bullock, Shaw. If he can get Korey to bulk up and play better. If If IF.

      With a top 40 defense in 2023 the Trojans get to the Pac 12 champ game, and then who knows?

      Like

  7. Mr. Wolf is provocative and a devil’s advocate non parallel. He knows some of us understand what’s going on. It’s just frustration that we let off some steam on this blog. Me? I’m personally ready for the disappointment. I just don’t see the 330 lbs players that USC needs to win the line of scrimmage or the athleticism that Georgia, LSU, Alabama or Utah brings to these games. Even Oregon is improving their ability to compete at the line of scrimmage.

    USC? Not too sure about them.

    Like

    1. nonpareil…

      Otherwise, I agree that the USC defense is slow, undersized, and likely not strong in the gym.

      Utah didn’t look so hot versus USC at home with the Zebra’s and the fan base on its side.

      Like

  8. Scooter,

    You are more optimistic than I. I just see the same problem for next year, no tackling, 50 yard runs up the gut, and not covering the te. Good for you being in a positive mood.

    Like

  9. I’m willing to give LR the benefit of the doubt. He’s earned that. He comes to SC with a past record of success. CH didn’t have that. He had nothing on his resume to qualify him to be the HC of SC. That’s not true with LR so like I said….I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Rome wasn’t built in one night and LR is bringing in some key players.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True. We can’t forget the completely putrid program Riley inherited from Herr Helton. Given the mountain Lincoln had to climb, an ascent still in progress, this past season can be viewed as a miracle. You’re right. Impatience is not a virtue.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Riley as HC
    2017. 12-2
    2018. 12-2
    2019. 12-2
    2020 (COVID). 9-2
    2021. 10-2 and his team won their bowl game (in his absence)
    2022. 11-3

    Six season and 4 QBs invited to the Downtown Athletic Club.

    Riley is not your problem

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t forget to mention that Rattler got 3 years of coaching under Riley, then went to South Carolina and became a star. Also, if you do your research, you’ll see that he had Shane Carden who threw for 12,000 yards in 2012-2014 at East Carolina(when he was OC and QB coach) and Dominique Davis who threw for 7200 yards in 2010 and 2011. Riley really is a genius when it comes to calling plays and coaching QB’s.

      Like

  11. Just coach the players to tackle and practice it. Teams with waaaaay less talent consistently tackle better than USC. No more excuses.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.