Every new ERA starts somewhere. For the USC Trojans, that day will always be remembered as November 28, 2021. With complete shock and awe, Athletic Director Michael Bohn pulled off one of the biggest moves in the history of College Football. The hiring of a proven, young extraordinary coach who has revolutionized the way an offensive playbook attacks the modern defensive designs chose USC. With the college football season winding down, the Oklahoma Sooner players, university, and fan base learned that Lincoln Riley was leaving. He was leaving for the USC Trojans.
Generational moves like this can go one way or the other, and many times the hype is overblown and things start to look vaguely like the past. But this particular hire came into Heritage Hall and uttered the phrase #WinNow, not a cliche from the past like #WinForever, but #WinNow. Simple and to the point. He then went out and warned the Trojan Family that many of their current roster won't be here for the start of spring camp and beyond. Anticipated that a 30-35 number of departures would happen for those who are not going to be part of #WinNow. Boom, it started. The culture was in full meltdown, for it had to be blown apart for the vision and drive that Coach Lincoln Riley had in mind. He bet the farm on this career move, and he stayed the course while assembling his staff and getting the marketing engine rolling.
Coach Riley and the staff were behind the eight ball. They were late to the recruitment dance for 2022 and, for that matter, 2023. One clear communication was coming out of Heritage Hall. They were going to build a physical and aggressive culture on the battlefield. They were going to find the puzzle pieces that were the elite of the game and take full advantage of the Transfer Portal to impact the near term. One by one, the recruits started to talk and turn their attention to Los Angeles and USC Football. They started to take a chance on this staff and they brought their friends and family to be a part of what could be the most historic turnaround in sports from one year to another. Arguably the past 10 years plus has been a nightmare for the Trojan Family.
Game one was coming fast, and September 3rd was a very near-term focus for this staff. With so much of the staff built from other schools, the unification of the program was in a full inspection by the media and fans, for that matter. The media, with a few exceptions, was hoping for failure to protect their prized SEC. The Big 10 was watching as well, and then they dove in. They made the move no one saw coming, not unlike how AD Bohn swooped in and convinced Riley to join his party. The Rice Owls were competing in the first quarter. But as the oil moved within the Trojan Offense and the Defense figured out the Owl plans, the game swung fiercely and often. The defense scored 21 points after many a fan was saying oh no, its the same problem. But problems in the hands of those who develop change and build on a culture of excellence know that this, too will change. Boy, did it change.
USC won 66-14 and made their first statement of what needs to be many to come. Next up is Stanford, and no matter what the Stanford roster looks like, they always find a way to mess up the best laid out plans of the Trojans for the post-Pete era. Those days are gone. The rock and roll time is back in the Coliseum, and the fan base is engaged at full tilt. This is an exciting team to watch on offense and special teams. Yesterday, albeit the competition was not Top 25, the defense showed it wants that same respect. Game two is now in-view.
Beat The Cardinal