Lincoln Riley comments on the status of starting USC guard Justin Dedich
Justin Dedich did not play against Arizona State on Saturday. After the game, coach Lincoln Riley said he has been a little banged up and they wanted to try and get him some rest.
In his place, redshirt junior Gino Quinones made his first career start at right guard. Courtland Ford also returned to the left tackle rotation after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, splitting time with Bobby Haskins. With Washington State’s feisty front seven on the schedule for next Saturday, Riley said they’ll continue to evaluate Dedich in the coming days.
Lincoln Riley on starting RG Justin Dedich, who didn't play against ASU: “We’ll keep evaluating Dedich. He’s been a little banged up for us. The hope was tonight was to be able to get through tonight and buy him a little bit of time, which he needs.” #USC
— Antonio Morales (@AntonioCMorales) October 2, 2022
Riley was asked after the game to give his thoughts on the offensive line’s performance, specifically on the interior, and he thought the play was so-so. Quarterback Caleb Williams was flushed from the pocket a little more than he or Riley would likely consider to be ideal.
Williams was only sacked once, but a lot of that was due to his escapability.
“Tough to say on the interior,” Riley said of the offensive line’s play. “It was a big challenge. You know, if you’re gonna try and rest a guy and play a (new) guy, this was the best interior pair that we’d played against. And not by a little bit, by a lot. They’re probably the strength of the defense. There was a big challenge in there.
“I didn’t see any major errors by Gino during the game. Thought he did some good things. We’re gonna have to go back and evaluate but it’s awesome to be able to have somebody step in there and still play pretty efficiently. It was a low number of possession game. They obviously had a plan to slow it down, huddle a lot, use a lot of the play clock. We had to have some pretty efficient drives and we were able to do that.”
Quinones fared a little better as a run-blocker than a pass-blocker. He was credited by Pro Football Focus with allowing four pressures. But Riley thinks the experience will no doubt help the line when Dedich returns to health.
Dedich warmed up with the team, according to multiple reports, but the captain ultimately did not see the field.
The Trojans will need to be at their best when Washington State comes to town next Saturday. The Cougars lead the Pac-12 by a good margin in tackles for loss with 44 in five games, the third-most in the FBS.