USC head coach Lincoln Riley was once the walk-on backup to new assistant coach Kliff Kingsbury when they were quarterbacks at Texas Tech.
Kingsbury, fired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in January, is the newest addition to Riley’s staff and already making a big impact on the Trojans. As Riley put it, he’s glad to have Kingsbury to help mold quarterback Caleb Williams and the rest of the group and “there’s no better story than a comeback.”
They’ve already matched wits on the whiteboard and Riley said he’ll utilize Kingsbury as another “creative mind.”
“Another great guy to have in the staff room,” Riley said at Pac-12 Media Days in Las Vegas on Friday. “Brings a lot of knowledge. Not just from the offensive point of view. It’s been very helpful for me to have him in that chair, having a guy that has been a head coach both at the collegiate level and the professional level. Kliff already knew so many of our guys on our staff that so many of those relationships were already in place so he’s fit in and it has been seamless.”
Williams is regarded as a favorite to win a second straight Heisman Trophy and potential No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Riley said the praise and attention Williams is getting hasn’t hindered his drive and hunger to improve every day.
“Listen, there’s nobody else in the country that I would rather go to war with than that guy,” Riley said of Williams, who topped 4,500 passing yards and tossed 42 TD passes in 2022. “His toughness, his ability to lead. His ability, despite any of the good things that have happened for him or his teams, to continue to want to climb and get better? The hunger to do that is very apparent on a day-to-day basis.”
He’ll look to Kingsbury to continue that mission.
Kingsbury, hired by the Trojans on April 11, has the title of senior offensive analyst and Riley said the role will evolve.
Riley said late coach Mike Leach would have had a “funny take” seeing the former Tech quarterbacks on the same sideline and coaching staff but would “enjoy it more if we have success together.”
–Field Level Media