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USC Trojans part ways with Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch

In a not-so-shocking move, the Trojans of Southern California made a change in their coaching staff by parting ways with Alex Grinch. The move comes after the team struggled on defense throughout the season allowing an eye-opening 255 points. Over the last season and a half, the defense from the Trojans garnered a lot of criticism as the 'weak link' in the Trojans football team.

Joining Lincoln Riley in Oklahoma, he took over as defensive coordinator after Mike Stoops was relieved of his duties after surrendering 48 points to Texas. Following Riley to USC, he inherited a struggling defense and improved the unit from 103rd overall in 2021 to 94th in opponent points per game in 2022. This season was a step backward as the defense surrendered 35 or more points in 11 of their games since 2022 including five this season. With the final two games being a 50-49 win over Cal and a 52-42 loss to Washington, Riley had to make a change as the defense ranked 124th on the season (133 D1 schools).

With the departure of Grinch, defensive line coach, Shaun Nua and inside linebackers/associate head coach Brian Odom will serve as co-defensive coordinators for the rest of the season. Their task will be straightforward, get stops while on defense and maximize the talents of Eric Gentry, Solomon Byrd, and the rest of the front seven while taking pressure off the secondary. At the same time also being sure the defensive unit is ready to play its best, in its toughest stretch.

While Nua and Odom will get the opportunity to finish the season strong and fix the defense, the question remains who will ultimately get the job as defensive coordinator for the USC Trojans? Similar to Nua and Odom, whoever is ultimately picked to be the next defensive coordinator will have to get the defense as a unit to play much better. The leaders in the clubhouse so to speak would be Will Muschamp who is currently the co-defensive coordinator for the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, Jim Leonhard the senior analyst at Illinois who has an NFL background as a former safety, and Jesse Minter who is currently the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan. While there is a lot of season left to play out, there will be significant interest in Muschamp for head coach openings based on the success of the Bulldogs. Leonhard would gain interest as a relatively young (41 years old) name in the coaching ranks that is on an upward track that could bring some fresh ideas to revamp the defense.

1 Comment

Tony Thomas
Tony Thomas
Nov 06, 2023

Great read Dominic!!!

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