Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Life of Riley: USC Edition

Lincoln Riley is becoming the college football coach every one loves to hate.  USA Today dissected his coaching very thoroughly and published an analysis that is pretty damning.  Vainglorious and soft are some apt adjectives that could be used.  

Simply put, Riley teams play soft because they are soft. Riley got rid of Stoop's strength and conditioning coach and well, replaced him with him with a guy more focused on yoga.

Schmidt served under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and worked under Riley in 2017, but Riley wanted his own guy — Bennie Wylie — for 2018. Schmidt went to Texas A&M for a few years, but when Riley left for USC, Brent Venables brought Schmidt back to OU in 2022. You’re seeing Oklahoma playing tough, physical football under Schmidt’s guidance as strength coach once again.

A lot is often said about coaches needing a second year to more fully implement what they want to do. It’s true for strength and conditioning as well as for head coaches and coordinators. In Year 1 of his second OU stint, Schmidt was laying the groundwork for what he wanted to do under Venables, but the roster wasn’t there, and the habits weren’t fully established. The Sooners struggled in 2022 but — with a full offseason — were able to restore Schmidt’s approach. It’s paying off for Oklahoma.

Brent Venables inherited a difficult situation and was not nearly as deft in the transfer portal in the 2022 offseason as Lincoln Riley was. OU was set up to fail in 2022, and Venables needed time for Jerry Schmidt’s strength program to take effect because he had a bunch of players who weren’t used to that regimen when he took over the Sooners.

Conversely, Riley’s instant portal infusion of talent set up USC well for 2022, and he inherited offensive linemen coached well by Clay McGuire. The portal pickup of Bobby Haskins from Virginia also proved to be huge. Bennie Wylie’s strength program wasn’t all that central or transformative for these linemen. They were already seasoned and developed by other previous coaches.

Other coaches training his players. That will be a recurring theme.  Most of his star quarterbacks started somewhere else.  

Compare and contrast Oklahoma in Year 2 of Jerry Schmidt’s strength and conditioning program versus USC in Year 2 of Bennie Wylie’s strength and conditioning program.

It’s night and day. One program has advanced considerably while the other has regressed considerably...

Schmidt, on the other hand, has the Sooners playing muscular and very successful football in the trenches again. This is not an accident, folks.

No coach can win without a halfway decent offensive line, not even Lincoln Riley.

When Lincoln Riley came very close to reaching the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in the 2017 season (OU lost a squeaker to Georgia in overtime in a classic 2018 Rose Bowl), he had Bill Bedenbaugh as his offensive line coach. When Riley made two more playoff appearances in 2018 and 2019, Bedenbaugh was his offensive line coach.

Those 2018 and 2019 teams weren’t quite as good as 2017, but notably, the offensive linemen on those teams started their OU careers with Jerry Schmidt as their strength coach. They received a foundational boost from Schmidt, so when Wylie came in as Riley’s strength coach in 2018, the negative effect was reduced.

Being coached by Bedenbaugh also reduced any negative influence Wylie might have provided when Schmidt left. That’s a key point Sooner fans would be quick to mention as a reason Riley kept winning 10-11 games after Schmidt’s departure. He still had Bedenbaugh as offensive line coach.

Bedenbaugh stayed at OU. Notice a difference in the offensive lines at both schools?  The rest of the article is a fun read if you are inclined to read such things.  Of course, Riley is the same coach who fled joining the SEC, giving more credence to the claim he is indeed a soft coach.  He fired Grinch this week but it may be mere window dressing as Riley has never fielded even a semi-successful defense.  Riley probably did Oklahoma a favor, right, Dabo?  


Anonymous said...

Foot ball “speak”
Police “speak”
Military “speak”

How about everyone just talk….

Anonymous said...

We need Bob Stoops to replace Arnett in Starkville. Riley hit a good stride, but a lot of people considered him soft as well. He’s a pretty boy. Jumping ship before the SEC thing happened was very telling. Literally everyone knew what he was doing. Hell for the money he’s making in Anaheim, I would be too, plus it’s not Norman.

Anonymous said...

Football, not unlike life, is over-analyzed these days.

Anonymous said...

"Vainglorious and soft"

Seems to be a lot of that going around these days.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS