Bennie Wylie and his USC staff made good on promise to bulk the team up

The message for USC football this offseason has been simple and firm: Lift and eat. Lincoln Riley’s philosophical change to a more defense-first approach at USC has been accompanied by a change to a more aggressive method in strength and weight training. Wylie had used a more finesse-oriented approach at Oklahoma, but now, it’s all about getting bigger and tougher in Los Angeles. USC football players do look bigger across the board as spring practice gets going. The change in USC’s methods is beginning to take shape, a likely product not only of Riley’s adjusted priorities, but also of the departure of Alex Grinch, who stressed speed on defense at the expense of physical heft the past two seasons.

Bennie Wylie’s work is being affirmed by players, as this Orange County Register story indicates.

Braylan Shelby is just one of many USC players who can vouch for the effect of these new methods:

“I feel like they want us a lot stronger … just having that mentality, like, we gon’ go out there and we gon’ go mess something up,” Shelby said. “Like, we gon’ go out there, and we gon’ wreck havoc, we gon’ be there, we gon’ cause a scene.”

“That definitely helped, I guess, install in all our minds that – that’s the plan. That’s what we need to do this year. That’s what we need to change. That’s why we need to come different this year.”

USC receiver Ja’Kobi Lane said all of this is “built by Bennie,” a reference to Bennie Wylie. This really is a new chapter for USC football. Lift and eat has replaced the Alex Grinch finesse style and Lincoln Riley’s previous inability to cultivate elite defensive toughness at USC. That’s in the past. The Trojans, at least in attitude, have turned the page. Now the only thing left is to gain elite results.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire