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Practice Report: Caleb Williams Credits Lincoln Riley's Guidance Through USC Football's First Loss

Oct 26, 2022

USC quarterback Caleb Williams has a unique perspective in the sense that his position coach also serves as his head coach. That dynamic makes Lincoln Riley's words even more poignant after a loss. 

"He helped me after the game because I hate losing," Williams shared Wednesday (Oct. 26). "He pulled me into his office and we sat down to talk. He gave me a hug and said he was proud of me. We went back out, chins held high, a lot of confidence and swagger."

The tragic irony of USC's loss to Utah is that Williams' best game so far as a Trojan arrived at the same time as his first loss. The duality of the situation is not easy to navigate. That is especially true for the ultimate competitor that is Williams, as losing spoils any personal accomplishments.

"As soon as the game ended, I felt like there were things that I could have done more," Williams said. "[We've channeled] that energy throughout the bye week until now. Having that energy and that passion of not wanting to lose and not wanting to have that feeling again has been shown."

Riley shared a wise warning last week during USC's bye. Emotions following a loss can be powerful, but they ultimately need to be channeled into tangible progress. 

"We're going to respond, chin held high," Williams said. "Can't make a great book or a great story without a little adversity."

Notes from USC's Wednesday practice of Arizona Week:

  • USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch shared what makes Arizona one of the best passing offenses in the country:

    • "You've got height, you've got speed. Each individual guy has their number one calling card, as it pertains to that." Grinch said. "They can win jump balls, they can run by you. You've got a quarterback that can find ways to throw them open. His level of trust in [his receivers], the ability in terms of just the vertical path, you've got to go get [the ball]. They've been as productive as anybody in the country."

  • Grinch stressed that an effective pass rush lies on the shoulders of the entire defense. He noted that USC needs to improve in that area, following its showing against Utah, in order to have success against the Wildcats:

    • " Eleven people contribute to the pass rush and eleven people contribute to the coverage. One guy in one-on-one situations is not going to hold out over the duration of sixty minutes," Grinch said. "So mixing coverage and all that stuff's got to be our M-O. We've got to have the ability to win [in pressure upfront] and two weeks ago we didn't win enough. That's on film now and I'm sure it'll be a very confident group coming against us on Saturday."

  • The Trojans' inside linebacker depth is uncertain at the moment due to various injuries. Grinch weighed in on the status of the group on Wednesday:

    • "There's a high level of concern anytime you don't feel like you're 1000% full strength," Grinch said. "But it's also an opportunity for the guys to step up and we expect them to…Guys have got to step up and the guys around them have to step up as well."

Wednesday's media availability: