Entering the new season, questions loomed over the USC Trojans, primarily centered around the resilience of their defense. Despite a lackluster defensive performance last year, the team’s close brush with the College Football Playoff fueled optimism, backed by strategic summer transfers and overall talent enhancements.
Under the helm of Lincoln Riley, a defensive powerhouse might not be the hallmark, as his coaching style leans in a different direction. Yet, adopting a “bend but don’t break” strategy could fortify the Trojans’ aspirations for the season. As they triumphed over the San Jose State Spartans in the opening game, the USC squad unveiled promising glimpses of a more robust defense. These glimpses, hopefully, will continue to shine throughout the upcoming matches.
The spotlight is undeniably on defensive coordinator Alex Grinch this season, as expectations for his unit soar. Reflecting on his players’ performance against the Spartans, Grinch acknowledged a few lapses. However, the overall display by the Trojans on the defensive end was markedly improved. A trajectory of weekly progress could potentially redefine USC’s prospects. The Trojans boast a storied history of sturdy defenses, a legacy the program aims to rekindle.
“But the percentages are way tilted in the positive direction,” Grinch said. “I’m not really a rose-colored glasses type of guy, but you can’t ignore that. The percentage of plays that I thought we played at a high-level were obviously good. And it’s football. That ball makes like water, it’s going to find the crack. Where we’re deficient obviously showed up.”
The San Jose State encounter was just a glimpse into the Trojans’ evolving defensive prowess. While not without imperfections, it served as a testament to the team’s gradual growth. Grinch, a pivotal figure in this transformation, acknowledged the need for continuous refinement. Should this development persist, the Trojans stand to regain the defensive reputation they once held in high regard.
“Grinch also acknowledged the relative inexperience of several players on the defensive side of the ball — at least within the Trojans’ scheme”
In summary, the USC Trojans entered the new season under the scrutiny of their defensive capabilities. With a strategic approach that might differ from the norm, the team’s defensive outlook seems promising. The opening game against San Jose State unveiled an improved defensive stance, though not flawless. Under the guidance of Alex Grinch, the defensive coordinator, USC’s pursuit of restoring its formidable defensive reputation is well underway. As the season unfolds, all eyes will remain fixed on the Trojans’ defense, awaiting further signs of resurgence.