By RJ Younger
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Author
Two of probably the most heralded hires of the 2022 head-coaching cycle have been USC coach Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma coach Brent Venables. Each are anticipated to compete for convention titles and presumably lead their respective applications to nationwide titles.
However which one could have the higher first 12 months?
Let’s take a look at all the principle elements.
How will Lincoln Riley fare in 12 months 1?
Whereas there’s a appreciable quantity of labor to do for a program that gained simply 4 video games in 2021, maybe nobody is healthier geared up for an entire turnaround in a brief period of time as Lincoln Riley.
I’ve my doubts concerning the Trojans’ offensive linemen — largely that there aren’t sufficient of them — and Riley is working with a brand new offensive line coach, Josh Henson, for the primary time in six years. But when the O-line is the one fear USC has heading into the 2022 season, the Trojans needs to be profitable.
Will Lincoln Riley or Brent Venables have a greater debut season?
RJ Younger breaks down all of the elements in attempting to foretell who could have the higher 12 months 1.
You may watch the “The No. 1 Ranked Present with RJ Younger” on YouTube or subscribe on podcast platforms, together with Apple Podcasts.
What qualifies as success? If Riley can mirror what Dave Aranda achieved at Baylor, turning a two-win program in 12 months 1 right into a 12-win program by 12 months 2, then that will surely qualify.
It’s optimistic to imagine the Trojans can win 12 video games this 12 months, and it’s unbelievable that they win simply two. Given the expertise Riley could have at his disposal and the standard of the USC schedule in 2022, USC followers ought to lean towards a excessive quantity because the minimal.
Video games to look at: vs. Fresno State (Sept. 17), at Utah (Oct. 15), vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 26)
Utah and Notre Dame are seemingly the hardest opponents on USC’s schedule, so these really feel just like the video games that would elevate the Trojans from pretenders to contenders. Utah is the defending Pac-12 Convention champ and pushed mighty Ohio State to the brink in among the finest Rose Bowl video games I’ve ever seen.
And the Utes have heard the whole lot mentioned concerning the new man in South Central and can need to display that final 12 months was no fluke. In South Bend, Marcus Freeman is healthier ready than Riley to reach 12 months 1, having taken over a program he has been part of for 2 years — not in contrast to how Riley was ready to take over OU in June 2017.
Each video games will likely be distinctive measuring sticks for the Trojans in October and November, respectively. However early on, the Trojans will face a Fresno State workforce that returns one of many Group of 5’s greatest quarterbacks in Jake Haener, who threw for greater than 4,000 yards with 33 TDs and simply 9 interceptions final season.
On Sept. 17, USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will discover out simply how good his cross protection is.
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Gamers to look at: QB Caleb Williams, WR Jordan Addison, DL Korey Foreman
Williams and Addison are two of the largest names to enter the switch portal, and each have been recruited to USC with super fanfare and intrigue. Williams has his favourite WR goal from OU in Mario Williams, the most effective tailback at Oregon final 12 months in Travis Dye and Addison, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner.
That quartet will kind the spine of what needs to be a dynamic offense — if the O-line can play to a excessive degree. On the opposite facet of the ball, defensive coordinator Grinch is seeking to get an eye-popping season from Foreman as a sophomore.
Recruits to look at: CB Domani Jackson, RB Raleek Brown, S Zion Department
Add to this quartet a trio of big-name recruits — cornerback Domani Jackson, security Zion Department and operating again Raleek Brown — and all eyes will likely be on Riley to see what he can provide you with in Dr. Dre’s yard.
Jackson is the No. 2-rated nook within the 2022 class, Brown is the No. 3-rated operating again and Department is the No. 6-rated security. Total, USC had the No. 6-ranked 2022 class within the 247 Sports activities Composite.
How will Brent Venables fare in 12 months 1?
When Venables touched down final December at Max Westheimer Airport in Norman, OU followers staked a spot close to the tarmac to cheer. And why not? Venables had gained a nationwide title as Sooners linebackers coach and was promoted to the defensive coordinator place earlier than departing to Clemson in 2012.
At Clemson, Venables cemented his repute as one the most effective defensive play-callers within the sport, and OU followers are betting on that prowess displaying itself in Norman for the primary time since he left.
Venables’ workers and skill to hold on to necessary OU gamers have put him able to choose up the place Riley left off. The bar at OU is successful 10 video games, although that may show tough given the Sooners’ schedule.
Video games to look at: at Nebraska (Sept. 17), vs. Kansas State (Sept. 24), at Texas Christian (Oct. 1), vs. Texas (Oct. 8), vs. Baylor (Nov. 5), vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 19)
Final 12 months, OU almost misplaced that recreation to Nebraska in Norman. That matchup will show difficult as soon as once more, if no more so, in Lincoln, Nebraska, this season.
The quadruple menace of Nebraska, Okay-State, Texas Christian and Texas will problem OU. In years previous, these applications have confirmed formidable, particularly Okay-State and Texas. The Longhorns all the time rise up for the annual showdown on the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and this 12 months, they boast one of the gifted rosters within the sport.
Gamers to look at: QB Dillon Gabriel, WR Marvin Mims, DL Jalen Redmond
The connection between Gabriel and Mims may show to be particular. Mims has demonstrated he might be the Sooners’ most potent menace downfield, and Gabriel is uniquely ready to steer Jeff Lebby’s offense at OU.
Gabriel performed for Lebby when each have been at Central Florida, and that’s maybe the most effective motive to count on the offense to be potent beginning in Week 1.
Redmond is positioned to be the primary OU defensive lineman to earn a first-round NFL Draft choice since Gerald McCoy, whom Venables coached. OU followers are excited concerning the prospect of the protection being a workforce power after the offense has lifted the Sooners to Large 12 Championships, Faculty Soccer Playoff invites and New 12 months’s Six Video games in years previous.
There’s additionally room to be enthusiastic about new faces, together with freshman linebacker Kobie McKinzie, who figures to issue with veterans Danny Stutsman and Key Lawrence on the OU protection.
Who could have a greater 12 months 1: Riley or Venables?
Each may win 10 video games this season.
As a head coach, Riley has by no means did not win at the least 10. Despite the fact that all of his head-coaching expertise so far has been in Norman, he introduced with him to USC most of the workers members who helped him obtain outstanding success at OU.
Couple Riley’s workers with this cycle’s most spectacular haul of transfers and a not-so-difficult schedule, and it’s simple to see how the Trojans may finish the season taking part in for the Pac-12 Championship in 12 months 1.
RJ Younger is a nationwide school soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The No. 1 Ranked Present with RJ Younger.” Observe him on Twitter at @RJ_Young, and subscribe to “The RJ Younger Present” on YouTube. He’s not on a StepMill.
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