USC Football: Lincoln Riley Targeted Top Developers When Building Coaching Staff

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When asked why he didn’t leave USC Football for an opportunity in the NFL, head coach Lincoln Riley said, “I want to get it right here.”

What does getting it right look like to Coach Riley? It starts with hiring the right staff, but not just anyone. In the introductory press conference for the defensive staff, Riley said they started by asking, who are the best developers.

“We want to have the best developers. Who are the best developers of defensive talent culture?” Riley explained, “We ended up with seven names on the board. The dream list, right? If you could get anybody who would it be? We ended up whittling it down to seven and we ended up hiring four of the seven.”

Those four are D’Anton Lynn, Eric Henderson, Doug Belk, and Matt Entz

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Why USC Football Will Focus On Development

“We are at a point in the program that we are ready to evolve away from the transfer portal and starting to get more into really building through high school recruiting. The only way that model works is you gotta get the best developers of talent and you give the best high school players a reason for why they would wanna sign to USC. Not just sign here, not just come here initially. But hopefully, the large majority of those guys stay here throughout their careers and get on that climb. When you have great developers, that’s how you put that together.”

“In the long run, we want developers and we want the majority of our players that start their career and end their career in the USC football program.”

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Getting It Right Is About Old School College Football Principle: Recruiting and Developing

As the transfer portal and NIL have affected the college football landscape and could be the reason why some coaches have moved on, (Nick Saban and Chip Kelly) Lincoln Riley is leaning into what has worked for the best college coaches for time immemorial; recruiting and developing talent. The two go hand in hand, you get the best because the best want the best coaching, to be set up for the best chance to succeed in football and in life.

That is what Riley kept coming back to, development. He used a variation of the word ‘develop’ nine times in the first 15 minutes of his press conference.

Riley doesn’t want a flash in the pan, he wants a symbiotic organism that turns high school prospects into great USC football teams and churns out NFL prospects and well-educated people. If that isn’t getting it right, I don’t know what is.

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