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Former USC QB Paul McDonald Shares Thoughts On Lincoln Riley Hire

McDonald: 'The fact that the Trojans were able to pull off that hire...'

Lincoln Riley was named USC's next head coach on November, 28, following the Trojans loss to the BYU Cougars. 

“I am truly excited to come to USC and join the Trojan Family as its new head football coach," Riley said in a press release.

"USC has an unparalleled football tradition with tremendous resources and facilities, and the administration has made a deep commitment to winning. I look forward to honoring that successful tradition and building on it. The pieces are in place for us to build the program back to where it should be and the fans expect it to be. We will work hard to develop a physical football team that is dominant on both lines of scrimmage, and has a dynamic balanced offense and a stout aggressive defense.

I want to thank the administration, coaches and players at Oklahoma for five incredible years as their head coach. We accomplished some great things there and I will always cherish my time as a Sooner.” 

USA TODAY 

USA TODAY 

The response following the hire was tremendous, as USC alumni, fans and media members all praised athletic director Mike Bohn for his efforts. All Trojans caught up with former USC quarterback Paul McDonald [1976-1979], to get his opinion on the USC's new hire and his expectations for the program moving forward.

Paul McDonald, USA TODAY

Paul McDonald, USA TODAY

What was your reaction when you heard Lincoln Riley was coming to USC?

"Shock...the fact that the Trojans were able to pull off that hire. I think the other thing too is that his name was never really thrown out there."

How do you think Lincoln Riley can impact USC's future recruiting classes?

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"Most kids want to stay home, so their families can see them play. You know, when Pete Carroll got the job, his mantra was 'we are going to capture and own LA'. And I think that is the same philosophy, I'm sure that Lincoln Riley is coming in with. If you own LA, and you can keep the barriers up, the Trojans are going to be a very challenging opponent."

What do you think the future holds for QB Jaxson Dart?

"I think with his raw talent...sky is the limit. What I would like to see is sliding more, not trying to run over people. However, he will grow into that.

He is just a young buck, excited to play and wants to do his thing. His dynamic ability to extend plays, and move around...that is one thing we didn't really see from Slovis, and I think that is the element that Dart brought which changed the offense and created some energy.

I think it's a huge opportunity for him. You've got the Heisman making quarterback guy coming in with Lincoln Riley, so if I were Dart, I would be smiling ear to ear right now."

Do you think the Lincoln Riley can win a national title at USC?

"Riley is an offensive guy, and I know the Trojans didn't score a lot of points [this season] on offense. My only question is, what about the defense?

You win championships with defense. His focus is going to be the offense, so the offensive guys [recruits] are going to be gravitated towards USC. But, you have to get studs on defense. You have to control the line of scrimmage, and you have to have an absolute solid defense if you want to win championships."

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