Updated: Jul 31
Have you ever had an old car in the garage or storage unit that one day you just said, what the heck, let's see if it will start? Well, for the most part, those initial moments suddenly turn into puzzles that must be linked and unlinked to determine what needs to be fixed or updated to spark that first engine turn. Could be as simple as a lead acid battery, or perhaps the oil needs to be drained and flushed, and then there is the fuel itself. Just how old is this old favorite care of mine?
Lincoln Riley came onboard in 2021 without much information other than the fact that he was running to a great prideful tradition that had parked itself in that very garage for 8-10 years, so there were a lot of unknowns. Surgically he began working on the puzzle pieces. From the staff to the players still on the roster, he had to make precision decisions, each with the magnitude and weight of his potential success on his shoulders.
He worked in parallel with AD Mike Bohn and Brandon Sosna to learn and lean in on just who was the future of the Riley ERA. The staff was essentially removed except for Donte Williams. The roster was turned over almost completely in a sense, with departures who were not interested in the new culture pitched to players who have moved on to the NFL or elsewhere.
Then there was the restart and thus the rebuild. Coach Riley had the Transfer Portal and Name Image Likeness to figure out and leverage. He blazed through both with amazing speed and accuracy, pinpointing who to target to convince players and families who had made the decision to enter the TP and listen to the vision of the Riley ERA. Uncharted waters for sure, and not a lot of help understanding and navigating via the NCAA, who stood aside and watched College Football take its own direction one school, one program at a time.
Coach Riley has that old friend in the garage now purring like a newborn kitten. Ready to enter the new world and set a new path for the USC Trojans football program. Recruiting is back on the tracks heading in a much better path than the previous staff ever dreamed. No longer settling just to get a press release. The sheer momentum we have seen since November's arrival of Lincoln Riley has the entire Trojan Family, past and present, rejuvenated like no other time post PC. It's time to go to Fall Camp this week and begin to refine the culture and develop the roster into the image of a Tier One CFB Playoff bound program.