June 20, 2024

I think we all knew this was going to happen. All, except Lincoln Riley, that is. The Trojans, with the quality of their athletes, should have a top-10 defense. There is only one logical reason for this disappointing unit: defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. I felt certain that Riley would replace him after last season. This team will not make the College Football Playoff without significant changes in the way the defense is run. Too bad.

Sherwyn Drucker


Caleb Williams is a once-in-a-decade, generational talent. Unfortunately, he is in the unenviable position of having to outscore both the opposition and his own inept defense. That may prove to be a Herculean task in the second half of the season when the Trojans’ competition ramps up with a bevy of highly ranked Pac-12 teams led by legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates.

Mark S. Roth
Los Angeles


Time is running out for Lincoln Riley to “fix” things. Unlike the NFL where you merely win your way to a championship, in the NCAA you have to pass several eye tests to even get a chance to play for a championship. It’s like a beauty pageant — USC might be the prettiest and most talented contestant, but if they show up with a pimple on their nose and flub a question in the interview section, then Miss Congeniality might be the best they can do.

Pete Skacan
Manhattan Beach


Riley would do well to redirect the considerable energy he wastes defending Alex Grinch — who was clearly overwhelmed and outcoached during Colorado’s second-half surge — to either taking charge of the defense himself, or hiring a real defensive coordinator. Otherwise he risks squandering what likely is Caleb Williams’ second Heisman season and a truly remarkable offensive unit.

Douglas F. Galanter
Los Angeles


I have a different culprit I’d like to offer up as the cause of USC’s latest defensive egg laying; Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams. Williams and the SC offense score so easily and quickly, the defense hardly has a chance to sit down, much less catch their breath. It’s not uncommon for them to reach the end zone in five or so plays in two minutes or less.

Dennis Duling
San Gabriel

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