Five things USC fans should know about new football coach Lincoln Riley

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley answers a question during a news conference in August.

(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

The first quarterback Riley ever coached was none other than USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. Harrell told The Times, “Really Lincoln was the first person that taught me Mike Leach’s offense. He was only a year or two older than me, but he knew the offense. We were so close in age, it became a friendship, but he was a friend I respected. In the beginning, it was because he was the only guy that was around to watch film with me.”

As of September 2019, Harrell and Riley kept in touch often via text message. They clearly remained friends throughout the years.

“He bought us steak knives with Harrell engraved in them,” Harrell said. “Every time we get steaks and have friends over, they ask, ‘Where did you get these knives?’ Always my wife will say, ‘The Rileys bought them for us as a wedding gift.’ He tells me to come and visit him. I’m sure he’s got a pretty nice home now, making what he’s making.”

It’s possible that Riley has been keeping up with USC from afar given his affinity for Harrell. It has been assumed Harrell would move on next season, but, with the hire of his friend, it will certainly be interesting to see if Harrell remains a part of Riley’s USC staff. Of course, it will be up to Riley to decide if he wants a fresh start with the Trojans’ quarterback room. The expectations for a quick rebuild will be ever-present, trumping any old loyalties. Which brings us to our final topic …

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