Skip to main content

Practice Report: Alex Grinch Reacts to CFP Committee 'Wanting More' From USC Football's Defense

Nov 23, 2022

Notes from USC's Wednesday practice of Notre Dame Week:

  • USC's defense will have its work cut out for itself when facing Notre Dame's Michael Mayer, who defensive coordinator Alex Grinch described as the best tight end in the country. Given that the Trojans struggled against Utah's tight end Dalton Kincaid earlier in the season, Grinch was asked what improvements can be made from that mid-season performance. 

    • "Tackle him when he's got the ball," Grinch said dryly. "You can come up with a lot of ingredients. You can put two guys on him and one of the two, if not both of them, are going to have to get him on the ground. Now, he obviously gets a vote and he's elite at finding ways to, similar to issues we've had in the past, is [tight ends] have a tendency not to just fall on first contact. We try to convince the guys it's not open to the tackles, you're not by yourself."

  • USC moved up one spot to No. 6 in the latest round of CFP Rankings Tuesday. CFP selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan stated that some committee members want to see more from USC's defense going forward. Alex Grinch weighed in on the matter Wednesday.

    • "From a criticism standpoint, Saturdays, that's your resume. From a coaching standpoint, from a player standpoint, there's no dodging it," Grinch said. "We're very honest in that and understand that the chief goal each week is to find a way to beat the opponent by one. Now, after that is to play at a high, high level defensively."

    • "Added motivation? Certainly not," Grinch later added. "Just from the standpoint that you're in the business to win games. We found a way to win 10. We're going to fight like all hell to get 11."

  • Wide receiver Kyle Ford gave large credit to quarterback Caleb Williams' demeanor on the field, speculating that his attitude fuels his success in the midst of chaos.

    • "He's one of the calmest quarterbacks I've ever been around," Ford said with a smile. "I just think he's just elegant in the way he plays the game. That's the only word I can describe for it. He's out there and he's in the backfield, zigzagging around, doing spin moves, and then he doesn't get touched and has a first down and he's out of bounds. Just stuff like that is amazing to me and the stuff he pulls off in the game. He's a gamer. He's a winner. He practiced like that as well, so it's no shock to us."

  • USC's offensive linemen are semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, an honor for the most outstanding offensive line unit in the country. Veteran Andrew Vorhees shared Wednesday what it means to be in the running for the award.

    • "Anytime you get a group award recognition it's huge," Vorhees said. "Really thankful for Coach Henson and his demand out of us every day, just to be our best, just to be physical, be technically sound, and assignment driven. Hats off to everybody in the room for buying into what Coach Henson is trying to bring to the table."


Wednesday's media availability: