Alex Grinch, USC defense under fire after Cotton Bowl collapse
USC had a 45-30 lead on Tulane in the Cotton Bowl with just 4:30 left to play in the game.
The Trojans then fell apart. A two-play, 63-yard drive in 16 seconds for Tulane pulled the Green Wave within eight points. USC muffed the ensuing kickoff and started at its own 1-yard-line. That possession ended in a safety and gave the ball right back to Tulane. The Green Wave then marched 66 yards in 12 plays, converting fourth downs twice, to score the game-winning touchdown in a 46-45 victory.
The Green Wave offense scored 46 points while being on the field for only 52 total plays. USC had a near-20-minute edge in time of possession. But the Trojan defense gave up 10.4 yards per play.
Given the way the Trojans fell apart in the Pac-12 Championship Game, another hard-to-stomach defensive performance in a New Year’s Six bowl led many on social media to question whether coach Lincoln Riley can bring defensive coordinator Alex Grinch back in 2023.
USC ranked among the worst teams in the country this season in yards allowed per play. Stopping opposing offenses was an adventure all year. And though Grinch is in his first season at USC, he’s in his fourth on Riley’s staff.
Here’s some of what was said:
We had a National Championship offense and a Popeye’s Bahamas bowl defense.
— tone bone 🏁🐍 (@NoCutz) January 2, 2023
Feel bad for the offense. You score 45 points but yet that's not enough to win the game smh
— Rey Maualuga (@maualuga58) January 2, 2023
This the worst defense I’ve ever seen
— Chuma Edoga (@edogawd) January 2, 2023
DC shouldn’t be allowed back on the plane bruh gotta find his own way home
— Chuma Edoga (@edogawd) January 2, 2023
LOL USC pic.twitter.com/CxOZWdmTFZ
— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) January 2, 2023
(I have no idea how you can possibly justify continuing to employ Alex Grinch at this point) ROLL DAMN ANGRY WAVE
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) January 2, 2023
Lol USC is the worst tackling team in the country.
— Theo Howard (@Theo_Howard14) January 2, 2023
Two things from this game:
1) If we aren’t calling targeting at the end of big postseason games on plays that get called 100% of the time in the regular season then just get rid of it.
2) USC is an unserious program if Alex Grinch returns as DC
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 2, 2023
It’s almost shocking how awful the #USC defense has been today lol
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) January 2, 2023
“The unit that will benefit most from the month of prep is the USC defense.”
— Odds and Picks (@OddsandPicks) January 2, 2023
Assuming Tulane doesn't get it back, Alex Grinch's defense allowed 10.4 yards per play in a New Year's Six bowl
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 2, 2023
Lincoln Riley: “Can we stop Tulane?”
USC defense: pic.twitter.com/PdTavR1ug2
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) January 2, 2023
USC talked all week about how big of a jump the defense took during bowl practice. I'm having a hard time seeing it.
— Adam Grosbard (@AdamGrosbard) January 2, 2023
#USC DC Alex Grinch had a month of practices to improve his defense. Wonder what they worked on?
Apparently not edge containment or tackling.
— David Wharton (@LATimesWharton) January 2, 2023
USC’s defense trying to stop Tulane today: pic.twitter.com/HTOydswDpv
— Brian Y (@byysports) January 2, 2023
I don't care who the players are on this defense, this is flat-out embarrassing. How do you bring Alex Grinch back after this effort?
— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) January 2, 2023
Caleb Williams whenever he sees the USC defense take the field pic.twitter.com/0qiQ266i9c
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) January 2, 2023
D completely disintegrated after ND game. No doubt it’s Riley’s move whether Grinch is fired. If not, lots of pressure in off season that could be eliminated w a change up at DC. Absolutely horrific performance that is 100% at feet of DC. No two ways about it- talent or no talent
— fight on forever (@gouxforever) January 2, 2023
Lincoln Riley in the locker room with Alex Grinch and his entire defensive staff pic.twitter.com/d2fW2TWAYi
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) January 2, 2023
If Alex Grinch is the DC next season, that's just as bad as keeping Clay Helton for all those years
— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) January 2, 2023