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USC Football: Insider Provides Insight Into Lincoln Riley's Job Status

Will USC move off of him after just two seasons?

After a brutal 38-20 defeat Saturday at the hands of the UCLA Bruins, at home, the diagnosis of what has been wrong with USC Trojans football, who lost five of their final six games this regular season (their one win was by one point) has begun.

Part of the issue definitely can be – and is certainly being made out to be – Lincoln Riley. 

The Trojans' head coach has been under fire for his play calling, combined with how poor the team has looked in each of their past 6 games. In that discussion, however, Ryan Kartje of The Los Angeles Times suggests that "Riley's job is not at risk."

Retaining Lincoln for another season definitely makes sense, as in spite of the team's struggles to match up with top competition in his tenure with the program, the offense has looked dynamic for the most part, ranking near the top of the nation in most categories. 

Even today, in an 18-point loss that was never particularly close, the Trojans out-gained the Bruins yardage-wise – 387 to 354.

The defense, however, is a total disaster, but Riley has limited control over how the unit performs. He could've fired former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch earlier on, but the Trojans' offense is keeping pace with teams even in most of their losses, making it difficult to put that on Riley. 

He could've also put forth a stronger effort to recruit high-end defensive players, as most of USC's incoming class and noteworthy portal additions are offensive players. 

Riley's teams have never had great defenses, even dating back to his days at Oklahoma, and as a result, it's hard to know what he's capable of if his defenses are able to perform at even an average level. 

To that end, while there are ways to blame the defense's performances on him, but one way or another, no high-major program should be as bad as the Trojans' defense is, irrespective of what recruiting or personnel look like. 

Riley is as good an offensive coach and quarterback developer as you'll find in the country, and for that reason, moving off of him doesn't ensure that the grass is greener on the other side. 

Bringing in someone different may boost USC's defense tremendously, but it could cost the offense quite a lot. Conversely, it could boost the defense but not the offense, and that still wouldn't be enough to compete in the Big Ten. 

We'll see where the Trojans go from here, but the expectation should definitely be an increased emphasis on defensive recruiting, defensive player development, and bringing in a high-end defensive coordinator, rather than dumping Riley. 

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