Caleb Williams sent a strong, clear message in first game at USC

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Caleb Williams completed 19 of 22 passes against Rice on a day when USC’s offense scored 45 points (the defense the other 21). That one sentence could reasonably sum up how great he was, and how great he figures to be for USC this season. Of course he’s not going to complete 19 of 22 against Utah or Notre Dame. The point is that Williams has a very high ceiling, and USC will count on him to come close to that ceiling on a regular basis this year.

Beyond the numbers, however, something mattered about Caleb Williams’ performance against Rice: He has command of Lincoln Riley’s offense.

This is notable because, in his last game under Riley at Oklahoma last year — the Bedlam game versus Oklahoma State — Williams did not have complete command. It’s true that Riley was thinking about leaving OU for USC. That could not have helped Williams prepare for the Oklahoma State game to the best possible extent. It’s also true that Williams was finishing a freshman season in which he was not the starter on Day 1. That was Spencer Rattler.

Nevertheless, Williams was not masterful against Oklahoma State. He wasn’t able to make the instant decisions and reads which would enable available plays to turn into big scores or crucial third-down conversions.

Yes, Rice is not Oklahoma State. OSU almost won the Big 12 and almost reached the College Football Playoff last season.

Nevertheless, Caleb Williams was in command of Lincoln Riley’s offense. Riley’s play design and play selection, combined with Williams’ increased understanding of the offense, should add to USC’s potency this year.

We talked about this with Mark Rogers at The Voice of College Football:

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire