In with the good air, out with the bad air.
For USC, former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was seen as the bad air and was unceremoniously let go after the Trojans lost to Washington 52-42. Many Trojans fans argue that this move should have occurred after the Cotton Bowl debacle where Tulane lit the USC defense up for 46 points in the narrow one-point upset. Ultimately, the DC was retained for another year by head coach Lincoln Riley, with the hopes that things would improve.
It didn’t get any better this season. Not even after giving up 41 to Colorado and Arizona each. Those turned out to be victories, but the signs were there. After losing three of four games, the evidence was too much for Riley not to do something.
In with the good air, or replacements Shaun Nua and Brian Odom. It’s still a mystery how better the defense will be under these two coaches, but according to Oregon coach Dan Lanning, the Ducks will be prepared for any and everything.
“Coach Odom has actually called (defenses) before. The last time Oregon played against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl,” Lanning said. “So I think there’ll be a lot of similarities to some of the stuff that they already do. I think that that group will probably have some new wrinkles that we potentially haven’t seen.”
For QB Bo Nix, there’s a lot of prep work that you can do ahead of the game. Ultimately, though, it will be hard to know exactly what is going to come until the ball is snapped.
“I think we probably won’t be able to see that until the game, so you’ve got to just go off what they’ve been doing,” Nix said. “They probably won’t change a whole lot because it’s a short week to prepare. I think they’ll go back through their arsenal and pick some of the schemes that they’ve had, and just go out there and play ball.”
Lanning also stressed that it all comes down to some basic football: Win your individual matchups, trust your teammates, and keep true to who you are and what brought you here.
“But it all comes back to what football is all about: Tackling, blocking, breaking tackles, making catches,” Lanning said. “So all those things are going to hold true. And we have to play to our identity. Hopefully when people watch this team — on both sides of the ball — you see an identity. Our identity has to hold true regardless of what scheme we see against us.”
So far, that’s been a winning formula and that shouldn’t change now, no matter what is happening on the other sideline.