Even if you hate Alex Grinch, you have to admit one thing: Personnel was a problem for USC

You can be an Alex Grinch pessimist and skeptic. You can want Alex Grinch to be fired. You can have the most negative, unfavorable impression of Grinch and give him the least charitable evaluation and still agree on one point: USC did not have a lot of high-end studs on defense this season.

There was Tuli Tuipulotu. There was Mekhi Blackmon. Eric Gentry was great in the first six games of the season before he got hurt and never returned to being 100-percent fit and strong. Calen Bullock had some good games for this defense. Solomon Byrd and Tyrone Taleni made a few good plays in big spots. Overall, though, USC was simply short on high-end players. Tuipulotu was the best and most imposing player over the course of the full season, but we saw against Tulane and Utah that without a lot of help along the defensive front, good opponents with solid offensive lines could minimize his impact. USC needs a complete defensive line, with threats at each position, to really improve on defense. USC needs so much more speed and strength at linebacker. Mason Cobb is one welcome addition, but so much more is needed. Blackmon was solid in the secondary all season long, but the safeties were outplayed in the Cotton Bowl and gave up some of the long plays which enabled Tulane to make its furious, late comeback.

Alex Grinch certainly deserves a ton of blame for what happened in the Cotton Bowl and throughout the 2022 season, but personnel was undeniably lacking. Tony Altimore, Tim Prangley, and Rick Anaya discussed this tension point between coaching and personnel at The Voice of College Football:

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire