Lincoln Riley refuses to make USC defensive crisis a one-man issue

The Cotton Bowl loss to Tulane will sting in the USC Trojans’ mouths for the next eight months until the 2023 college football season starts.

The Cotton Bowl and the national reaction to it will probably become bulletin board material. Things got even more interesting when Lincoln Riley made it clear that defensive coordinator Alex Grinch would return to his position in 2023.

After another poor defensive effort, fans tore Grinch apart and asked for him to be fired after a devastating loss on the big stage.

Nonetheless, Riley continued to show his support for Grinch, and he admitted that everybody needs to be better — not just the defensive coordinator (h/t Ryan Kartje of The Los Angeles Times).

“Anybody in a situation like this, where we know we need to take a big jump in all areas, and we need to be better as coaches, we need to be better as players, we need to own and fix the things we didn’t do well,” Riley said.

You can read between the lines and notice the inclusion of the need for better players. This is why the Anthony Lucas pull from Texas A&M in the transfer portal was and is so important for Riley and USC.

The offense was spectacular all season long, and with MarShawn Lloyd in town, Dorian Singer joining the team, and plenty of other big names coming aboard, the Trojans will be dangerous once again in 2023.

However, the defense is the biggest thing that needs fixing. If it can’t improve, Grinch might be looking for a new job in 2024.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire