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Practice Report: Lincoln Riley Recalls Tuasivi Nomura's 'Unbelievable' Moment

Oct 25, 2022

Lincoln Riley doesn't hand out compliments for the sake of it. He's critical of his players when it's necessary and awards praise when it's earned. So it was notable when USC's head coach described inside linebacker Tuasivi Nomura as one of the team's "toughest, most physical players" on Tuesday.

"You feel his physicality, his speed, and his decisiveness on the field," Riley described. "He's about as tough as they come."

To further his point, the head coach recounted a moment from a game earlier in the season. One that would make the likes of Trojan great Ronnie Lott proud.

"He broke his finger during the middle of a play," Riley detailed. "Like compound [fracture], bone sticking out. He didn't tell anybody. Played three more plays with the bone sticking out of his finger."

As reporters reacted in disbelief to Riley's retelling, the head coach was adamant about Nomura's show of resiliency.

"Ah, he did! It was unbelievable. And played well, had two tackles!" Riley said with pride. "He finally comes over and tells somebody because we couldn't tell, obviously, from the sideline."

Nomura has taken advantage of his opportunities and emerged as a key contributor both on special teams and at inside linebacker this season. The redshirt junior has arguably played his most significant snaps so far as a Trojan.

 "He stayed out there and played. Tells you about his toughness and how much he wants to do well for this team," Riley said. "Pretty cool."

Notes from USC's Tuesday practice of Arizona Week

  • Riley reiterated that the majority of USC's injuries are classified as day-to-day. He included wide receiver Jordan Addison and inside linebacker Eric Gentry in that category.

  • Riley noted his desire to see more consistent production out of USC's rush end position. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has elected to use a rotation of Solomon Byrd, Korey Foreman and Nick Figueroa since Romello Height's season-ending injury:

    • "Historically, in this defensive system, that rush position has always been a very, very productive player," Riley said. "Whether it's all three, whether it's one that steps up and separates himself, we feel like we have three good players who need to really take off and play well for us."

  • Riley previewed Arizona's receiving corps as one of the best the Trojans have seen so far in 2022. Junior Jacob Cowing, sophomore Dorian Singer and true freshman Tetairoa McMillan lead the pack for the Wildcats.

    • "We've played a couple other good sets, but these guys are definitely right there, if not the best," Riley said.

  • Quarterback Jayden de Laura is a familiar face for some of USC's defenders. The Washington State transfer is yet another mobile quarterback the Trojans will face this season:

    • "The quarterback really kind of makes it all go. He's dynamic," Riley said. "I enjoyed watching him at Washington State, watching him fly around, make plays. He's pretty good within the scheme…He makes a lot of on-schedule plays, but obviously, very, very dangerous off-schedule."

  • Riley shared an update on sophomore inside linebacker Raesjon Davis and described his growth so far under new leadership:

    • "We're really pleased," Riley said. "He's been a special teams impact player for a couple of weeks now. He's really progressing defensively. He's one of those guys who is right on the cusp of playing significant reps and earning time. He's worked hard. He's really changed his body, which was a big challenge for us after spring. I think he's on a very upward trajectory"

Tuesday's media availability