Lincoln Riley met with reporters for just under half an hour on Thursday to put a bow on preseason camp and game prep. USC opens the 2023 season on Saturday against San Jose State at home.

There was plenty for Riley to talk about. His sixth-ranked Trojans have competitions ongoing at several positions on the roster that will bleed over to the start of the season. Riley talked a bit about spots on the depth chart, about building cohesion on the offensive line, and plenty more.

Here’s video of his availability, with select quotes below:

On the usage for Austin Jones, MarShawn Lloyd at RB

“We have a great idea of how we’re gonna do it, but that wouldn’t be something I would share publically. They’re both good players, both gonna have roles for us, as are some of the other backs in that room. It’s a really good room. A lot of guys that we want to play and get involved. Tune in Saturday.”

On balancing rotation on the offensive line with wanting to build a cohesive five-man unit

“Great question. That group is one of the more important groups on the field in terms of being cohesive. It is a balance. I think we’ve got some good competition and I think the most important thing is figuring out eventually who are the right five guys.

“I think some of the potential rotations here early on are for good reason. We’ve got several guys we think could be that, and we want to give those guys a chance to go play. I think at some point you would hope/expect that the lineup will settle in, in a way, but we played with several different lineups last year.

“Sometimes where this benefits you is when the injury does happen, when this guy all of the sudden is not available to play and you’ve got to move some people around, you’ve got different guys that have played and you’ve been able to move a few guys around position-wise. It sets you up for the season.

“I think I’ve had one season in my career where we started the same offensive line every single game. It’s such a physical position that just doesn’t happen very often.

“I thought at times last year, it really affected us, and one of the hopes — obviously most important to get the right five guys on the field — but one of the hopes right now is that we can be deeper, we can be a little better so that when it does happen it doesn’t affect us quite as negatively as it did last year.”

On Kyron Hudson being a co-starter on the depth chart

“He’s one of our most consistent players, most consistent workers. He never complains. He’s always out just to work and get better. He has a real professional mindset. I love the kid. Love coaching him. He’s a joy to coach.

“Fall camp, he might have been the team MVP in fall camp. He had as good a fall camp as any player on our roster at any position. He’s a consistent guy that has gotten a lot more explosive. He’s in great shape. He’s healthy. He’s playing at a high level right now.”

On biggest obstacle to USC reaching its goals this season

“I think this group’s gonna need to really come together. The season challenges you in different ways and we’re gonna get challenged in different ways than we did previously. That’s just part of it. The group last year did a great job of coming together and I think, in a lot of ways, probably overachieved.

“… And then I think the other goal for us will be, as the season goes on, as games go on, are we a group that the longer these things carry on, do we continue to improve and do we continue to get better? Whether it’s in a game or it’s in a season, our best needs to be at the end. That’s going to be really, really important. That’s a lot of the time the difference between championships and not (winning), so it’s something we’ve harped on since the day the season ended. Now we get our chance to go prove it.”