What makes Lincoln Riley school soccer’s ‘quarterback whisperer’

“If you don’t have requisite quarterback play in college football, you’re not going to be a great team.”

That’s Joel Klatt’s take in the case of measuring the parallels between QB play and wins in school soccer. And nobody has confirmed that time to be extra correct than USC coach Lincoln Riley.

Riley, who led the Trojans to an 11-2 regular-season document in his first yr at USC, is about to finish his sixth season as a university soccer head coach. He spent his first 5 years at Oklahoma, guiding the Sooners to a mixed 55-10 mark, which included three convention titles, three journeys to the Faculty Soccer Playoff and a top-10 rating within the closing AP Ballot all 5 seasons.

However as outstanding as these numbers are, one might make the argument that Riley’s biggest measure of success as a coach has been the play of his quarterbacks.

Since Riley turned a head coach at Oklahoma again in 2017, he has had 5 beginning quarterbacks, 4 of which have been Heisman Trophy finalists, and three of which have received the Heisman.

“That’s a staggering thought,” Klatt mentioned on a current episode of his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.” “What Lincoln Riley is doing with quarterbacks is totally unprecedented. We’ve never seen something like this before.”

USC’s Caleb Williams wins the Heisman Trophy, Lincoln Riley’s QB system

Joel Klatt reacts to Caleb Williams profitable the 2022 Heisman and speaks on Lincoln Riley producing three Heisman winners within the final six years.

The quarterbacks to play underneath Riley are as follows: Baker Mayfield (2017), Kyler Murray (2018), Jalen Hurts (2019), Spencer Rattler (2020-21) and Caleb Williams (2021-22).

Mayfield received the Heisman in 2017, Murray received it in 2018, Hurts was a finalist in 2019, and Williams received it this season.

“When you look at those guys, this is not the exact same player,” Klatt mentioned. “They aren’t cut from the exact same mold. They don’t play the game the exact same way. They have strengths, they have weaknesses, and they are all very different.”

Whereas each beginning quarterback to play underneath Riley did possess their very own distinctive traits, additionally they had lots in frequent. They had been all extraordinarily correct passers, all of them took care of the soccer, and most significantly, all of them received quite a lot of soccer video games.

From 2017-22, Riley’s groups mixed to complete 66-12 (85% profitable proportion), with a 45-8 mark in convention video games. 

“This is a guy that understands what he has in front of him and how to be successful,” Klatt mentioned of Riley. “If I’m a QB out there, there are only a handful of places I’m really taking a hard look at, and you know exactly where they’re at.

“Alabama is doing a pleasant job, Ohio State does an excellent job with quarterbacks, and Lincoln Riley does an excellent job with quarterbacks.”

But when it comes to coaching the quarterback position, there is one trait of Riley’s that stands out to Klatt above the rest.

“He doesn’t coach the creativity out of them,” Klatt said. “Loads of instances, coaches get so involved with errors that they flip gamers into robots, they usually lose what made them actually good.

“There is a certain level of creativeness and artistic nature to the quarterback position, and you cannot play it like a robot. The best ones have a beauty about the way that they play.”

That features Williams, who barring any sort of unexpected change, will probably be again underneath middle in Riley’s offense subsequent season. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is ineligible to enter the 2023 NFL Draft, being solely two years faraway from highschool.

The considered these two pairing up for one more season in Los Angeles needs to be scary for the remainder of the school soccer universe.

“Lincoln Riley has proven out now in his short time as a head football coach that he is gonna allow his quarterbacks to flourish in his offense,” Klatt mentioned. “And the quarterbacks are.”

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High tales from FOX Sports activities:

Every week, FOX Sports activities school soccer analyst Joel Klatt dives into his High 10 groups, solutions questions and discusses the largest storylines in school soccer on his podcast. Obtain “The Joel Klatt Show” right here.

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