Lincoln Riley said it was entirely too early to answer any big-picture questions, but he will take “a deep dive” into whether or not he’ll bring back USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch for a second season after Monday’s 46-45 loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.

The question came almost immediately for the Trojan head coach in the postgame press conference. USC gave up 46 points to a Tulane team that only ran 52 plays, and it gave up touchdowns twice in the final 4:30 after holding a 15-point lead. USC’s defense was under intense scrutiny all season because of its bend-don’t-break approach, but back-to-back losses to close out the year have put Grinch right in the spotlight.

Riley declined to specifically address his defensive coordinator when asked about his confidence in Grinch after the game.

USC entered into Monday’s game ranked 119th nationally in yards allowed per play. It’ll close out the season by giving up 7 yards a play in each of its final three games and at least 40 points in three of its final four.

Grinch is in his fourth season on Riley’s staff overall. He joined Oklahoma from Ohio State ahead of the 2019 season.

Riley fired Mike Stoops one day after a 48-45 loss to Texas in 2018. Stoops, the brother of former OU head coach Bob Stoops, served on staff before Riley took over as the team’s head coach.