No college football team in the country has more intrigue surrounding its program during the spring practice schedule than USC as new coach Lincoln Riley begins the on-field effort of restoring glory to a program where the expectations include championships. The results in that department have fallen well short throughout the last decade.
Riley’s plan for achieving success immediately, at whatever level that may be, appears to be simple: use the transfer portal to bring in plug-and-play options at every level. If everyone gels together, this is a talented team of transients capable of winning the Pac-12 sooner rather than later. USC has the No. 1 transfer class in the country with all 13 players partaking in spring practice. That group includes former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams and former Sooners wide receiver Mario Williams, who along with a handful of assistant coaches joined Riley on the move from Oklahoma to USC. There are also contributors from around the Pac-12 with Riley plucking talent from Oregon, Washington and Colorado, among others.
College football has given us plenty of examples where the influx of transfer talent doesn’t fix all of a team’s problems, though. Riley and his staff will set out this spring to get the instant impact transfers and the 51 returnees who saw action last season on the same page. If USC can get what Riley has called “the most unique roster in the history of USC football” aligned, the Trojans could be the biggest turnaround story in all of college football.
In terms of the coaching staff, Riley has opted to continue working alongside a couple of former Oklahoma assistants, tapping Alex Grinch (defensive coordinator), Dennis Simmons (pass game coordinator), Brian Odom (inside…