Home run. Call at the half court. Hail Mary. Hallelujah.
In the final days of its worst football season in three decades, USC played the game of the year, defying all expectations, refuting conventional wisdom and performing a miracle.
Did the Trojans really hire Lincoln Riley? Pinch me.
Will their soccer team be coached by perhaps the country’s brightest young soccer leader? Bring me to life.
When USC fired Clay Helton on alert in the second week of September, Rick Caruso, Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, pledged to acquire “a world-class coach who will bring the USC football program back to the most competitive and highest levels of college youth. football.”
The promise has been fulfilled.
In a stunning Sunday morning maneuver by sporting director Mike Bon and his chief of staff, Brandon Pines, the Trojans skilfully bypassed a stream of fresh faces and recently hot names to lure the 38-year-old offensive guru who had a wonderful time there and did it. …
In Riley’s five years in Oklahoma, the Suners played 55-10 with three college football playoff appearances with four teams, which has so far eluded the Trojans.
In four of those five seasons, the Sooners have finished in the top 7 in the Associated Press final poll, while USC has not ranked in the top 7 in the Associated Press final poll at any time in the past 10 years.
This is more than just the right coaching hire, it is arguably the finest coaching hire in USC football history.
“Today it’s all about the importance and impact of leadership,” Caruso said, citing President Carol Foult as the driving force behind the move. “Doctor. Folt has changed the trajectory of this university and expects excellence at all levels. She hired the country’s best sporting director, Mike Bon. This set the stage for recruiting the best football coach in the country. ”
Riley wins. Riley is recruiting. Riley entertains. Riley is perfect for this scene.
“Lincoln is the rarest combination of an outstanding person and an elite football coach,” Bon said in a press release. “His successes and accolades as head coach over the past five years are amazing. Lincoln will tirelessly recruit, develop its players on and off the pitch, and foster a strong culture in which the program operates with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism. ”
An attribute that makes him perfect for Hollywood, Riley is known for doing magic with quarterbacks. While with the Sooners, he mentored Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, two consecutive Heisman Trophy winners and first-place NFL Draftsman. In an encore, he then mentored Jalen Herts, the Heisman finalist, which gave him three starting NFL quarterbacks in five years.
Do you think that excited the last prodigy of Trojan defender Jackson Dart? Think maybe some of those great Southern California quarterbacks who have rushed to high-powered programs across the country will want to stay at home now?
Riley, who grew up in the western Texas town of Mulshu with a population of 5,000 and then trained in Lubbock, Texas, and Greenville, South Carolina, before moving to Norman, Oklahoma, has also grown accustomed to the toughness of the Midwest. This is what the West Coast Trojan prototypes lack. Most likely, he will hire coordinators who will ignite this fire. He will work with an attack to share this magic. He must fill the gaping void in which the old football Trojans have completely disappeared.
“The USC has an unparalleled football tradition with enormous resources and capabilities, and the administration is committed to winning,” Riley said in a press release. “I look forward to honoring and developing this successful tradition. Everything is ready for us to put the program back where it should be, and the fans are expecting it to be. We will work hard to create a physical soccer team that dominates both lines of the battle and has a dynamically balanced attack and strong aggressive defense. ”
The USC has been looking for such a seasoned leader ever since Pete Carroll fled to the NFL, beating the NCAA police 11 years ago. Since then, the Trojans have survived the then immaturity of Lane Kiffin, the personal problems of Steve Sargsyan and the problems of Helton’s leadership. Everyone fell in love with the temporary trainer Ed Orgeron, but the administration could not hire him. The school handed over the keys to interim trainer Donta Williams this fall, but since then there have been 3-6 Trojans and USC has been unable to hire him.
The Trojans have not won national titles in 17 years. They have only been in one bowl of roses in 13 years. They recently scored 62 points for UCLA, making it the Bruins’ highest-scoring win in history. The Colosseum has never felt more empty. The future has never seemed so dire.
Here is Riley, who has been on Bon’s radar since Helton passed out after two games this season. This is Bon’s first major contract since he was named sporting director two years ago. Caruso told him to turn towards the fence. Bon had always admired Riley, although he seemed untouchable.
When Oklahoma suddenly decided to leave the comfortable G12 Conference for the ruthless Southeast Conference last summer, Riley was reportedly unhappy with the decision and began to feel increasingly disconnected from the program. Bon saw the opportunity, made contact with Riley’s representatives, and waited for the right moment all season.
The moment came Saturday night after Oklahoma’s defeat to Oklahoma ended the Sooners’ regular season with a 10-2 record. The college football world knew Riley was unhappy and rumor was circulating that he was heading to Louisiana. In his post-match press conference, he denied these reports and expressed his love for the Oklahoma administration.
“We work well together and we will continue to work well together,” he said.
However, a few hours later, in the early morning hours, he reached an agreement with the USC, in which Matt Campbell of Iowa bided his time in case negotiations with Riley fell through.
Riley will rightly take on misleading media. He will also be questioned over a 1-to-3 cup record that includes losing three college playoffs with three terrible defensive games. In those big games, his teams lost 63-28 points to the LSU, 45-34 to Alabama and 54-48 in two Georgia overtimes.
Some will also say that he flees to the USC to play in the softer Pac-12, instead of staying in Oklahoma and eventually joining the tougher SEC.
Riley has a lot to prove. Sophisticated and demanding USC fans will wait, and not so patiently. At first he will enjoy his honeymoon, but if he loses to the state of Fresno in the middle of next September, this honeymoon will end quickly.
For now, anyway, it should be comfort enough that Riley could have been to many places, but he chose the Trojans, which brought them the biggest victory in many moons.
“The fact that he chose USC is a testament to the strength of our brand, the power of the Trojan family and the leadership of our university,” Bon said. “This is for our current players, our former players, our alumni, our fans and our entire university community. Our time has come. “
Now, that is, Monday afternoon, when Lincoln Riley appears at the opening press conference amid home runs, beeps, Mary’s salute and hallelujah.