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Practice Report: Lincoln Riley Previews Physical Spring Game For USC Football

Apr 16, 2022

Though USC currently fields one of the smallest spring rosters Lincoln Riley has coached in his career, the Trojans won't shy away from physicality during their spring game next Saturday (April 23).

"I can tell you this, it's not going to be a game of tag," the head coach said with a smile. "We're going to play football - like we have every single day."

USC heads into its final week of spring camp with momentum on its side, as Riley explained Saturday (April 16) the team is coming off of its best week of practices.

"We've maintained, if not, even increased the energy and physicality in practice, and the quality of ball has just been better," Riley said. "There's less mistakes. There's more plays out there right now where the defense does their job and the offense does their job and it comes down to a one-on-one competitive play."

Riley explained that "good football teams" end spring camp with their best practices, but added a caveat that the Trojans are not perfect. 

"We still have plenty of mistakes," Riley said. "I don't want to portray that the work is done and we're going to cancel the last three practices. We still have some work to do, but the progress is evident."

Things to note from USC's twelfth practice of spring

  • Riley shared that the format of USC's spring game is not yet finalized, but gave an idea of what will happen.
    • "We'll play a half of football," Riley said. "Still looking at a couple of options about how we divide the teams, scoring and all that. We're going to make it fun and fast-paced for the fans."
       
  • The head coach praised the Trojans' veteran offensive line and how they have handled that transition into a new offense.
    • "That experience is crucial. We are a lot further ahead right now than what we would be if we were an inexperienced group," Riley said. "I see not one reason on this planet why we cannot have a great offensive line here very, very quickly."
       
  • Riley noted that he's usually coached four to five running backs a season in his offense, but the Trojans are not there yet depth-wise.
    • "Hopefully we can beef up that room here a little bit in the coming weeks," He said. 
       
  • USC's secondary has endured injury and depth issues this spring. Riley noted that those who have been able to play have gained valuable experience.
    • "I don't know if we have one player in the secondary that hasn't had to double train," Riley said. "We're just pretty thin there right now. So guys have gotten a ton of reps; ton of a great work"
       
  • Riley also noted that quarterback Miller Moss has benefited from depth issues. Moss represents one of USC's two scholarship pass throwers and has split reps evenly with quarterback Caleb Williams.
    • "[Moss] is one of those guys that has taken full advantage," Riley said. "He has strung together several nice days in a row right now. He's throwing the ball extremely well. Mentally, he's getting more comfortable every day."
  • The Trojans have worked on situational drills in practice this week. Riley noted who has risen to the occasion in those moments.
    • "Malcolm Epps and Jude Wolf have done some really nice things," Riley said. "[They're] another set of guys I would really highlight their improvement from the beginning of spring to now. I'm really impressed with those two."
    • Riley also added that Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth have also impressed him in those portions of practice.

Lincoln Riley's media availability

Save the Date

Fans' first chance to see the Trojans this spring will be at USC's Spring Game on April 23.

New numbers to know

Offense

0 - WR Terrell Bynum

2 - WR Brenden Rice

4 - WR Mario Williams

6 - RB Austin Jones

8 - WR CJ Williams

13 - QB Caleb Williams

26 - RB Travis Dye

70 - OL Bobby Haskins
 

Defense

1 - CB Domani Jackson 

2 - EDGE Romello Height

6 - CB Mekhi Blackmon 

21 - CB Latrell McCutchin

31 - DL Tyrone Taleni

53 - ILB Shane Lee 

97 - DT Earl Barquet