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Practice Report: USC Football DC Alex Grinch Familiar With Oregon State's Offensive Scheme

Sep 21, 2022

Jonathan Smith and Alex Grinch will be wearing different colors this time around, but Saturday won't be the first time the two have battled on opposing sidelines.

Oregon State's head coach was once the offensive coordinator for Washington when Grinch served as Washington State's defensive coordinator. 

Grinch was blunt Wednesday (Sept. 21) when asked what he recalled from previous Apple Cup matchups.

"I remember not being able to stop them," USC's defensive coordinator said dryly. "As a competitor, you don't forget those Saturday afternoons. [Smith's] done it for a long time and believes in what he does. He has a tremendous track record."

Grinch went on to praise how Smith has crafted his roster at Oregon State.

"He has really recruited the right guys for his system," Grinch said. "They play fast. They play hard. They play physical. You can tell they're developed. And so, I've got nothing but good things to say about him as a coach, and certainly, respect for them as a program."

Oregon State's offense presents a problem for defenses because it's a threat both on the ground and through the air. The duality of the Beavers' scheme puts pressure on defenders to quickly diagnose each play.

"That's a lot of conflict on seven guys, every single snap, and they do it with a number of different personnel groupings," Grinch said. "So it's not as simple as saying it's two back or one back or one tight end, and then you get some wildcats you have to deal with and you have to prepare for that…They're good at what they do. And it's a real challenge."

Notes from USC's Wednesday practice of Oregon State Week:

  • Oregon State is 14 out of 14 in red zone attempts through three games this season, which presents a direct clash when the team faces USC this weekend. The Trojans have limited their opponents to a success rate of 53.8% in the red zone. Grinch shared his thoughts on the matchup Wednesday:

    • "It's just battling," Grinch said. "Not giving in. It's having an awareness about you that is like, 'Make them run another play. Make them run or play.' No magic here. Certainly sometimes we wish there was, but give our guys credit. We've held up in some situations thus far, but a little different animal in the red zone this week."

  • Quarterback Caleb Williams shared the ways he is growing in year two in Lincoln Riley's offense:

    • "Being more consistent, being more accurate," Williams said. "Getting through my reads, instead of you know, the big post ball, the big go ball, the intermediate, just taking the checkdown. Making the defense play true to our offense and not not making them play deep and forcing me to throw under. I'm fine with throwing under. I'm not looking for the deep ball. I'm looking for us to stay on the field as long as possible, because that gives us the best shot to go win the game and put points up on the board. Those have been the main ways that I've been trying to grow and I think so far I've been doing a good job and I want to do better."

Wednesday's media availability:

Breaking down USC's win over Fresno State: