USC fires defensive coordinator Alex Grinch with 2 games left in regular season

Sun, Nov 5, 2023

USC fires defensive coordinator Alex Grinch with 2 games left in regular season

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California has fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch with two games left in the Trojans' disappointing regular season.

Head coach Lincoln Riley dropped his longtime top assistant one day after USC (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) gave up 572 yards and 52 points to No. 5 Washington in the Trojans' third loss in four games.

USC's defense has played poorly for the past six games and the Trojans have lost three of their last four to fall out of the College Football Playoff race after a 6-0 start. USC was unranked in Sunday's AP Top 25 for the first time in Riley's two-year tenure at the school.

Defensive line coach Shaun Nua and inside linebackers Coach Brian Odom will serve as USC's co-defensive coordinators for the remainder of the season, which includes games against Oregon and UCLA before a bowl game. Taylor Mays, the former USC safety who has been a defensive analyst this season, was promoted to an on-field role working with the Trojans' safeties.

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Grinch became Riley's defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2019, and he followed Riley to Los Angeles in late 2021. But Grinch's defenses have repeatedly lagged behind Riley's prolific offenses at both schools, and this season's unit at USC has been thoroughly ineffective despite an influx of talent from the transfer portal.

USC has allowed 42.0 points and 483.7 yards per game over its past six contests. The Trojans have fallen to 119th out of the 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season with 436.9 yards per game allowed, and they're ranked 121st with 34.5 points per game allowed.

Grinch's first USC defense also struggled, particularly down the stretch while the Trojans lost their final two games. Riley defiantly stuck with Grinch in the offseason over calls for his ouster, but the Trojans only got worse this season.


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