Los Angeles Times

Interim USC coach is focused on next game, not his future.

Trojans have something to prove to Riley in the season finale, and coaches sound just as focused — if less sure of their future

- By Ryan Kartje

At the end of one era at USC and the thrilling start of another, here was an awkward juxtaposit­ion: As Lincoln Riley, the Trojans’ new coach, and the few assistants he’d already announced made their rounds on the practice field Tuesday night, USC’s current staff remained in their usual roles, coaching out their final few days with little clarity on what lies ahead after Saturday’s season finale at California.

For Donte Williams, these were especially odd circumstan­ces. USC’s interim coach has led the Trojans ever since Clay Helton was fired in September, and through those two months, USC’s administra­tion made it clear it hoped to retain him.

But in Riley’s unexpected arrival, Williams’ status was suddenly less certain, and as he was asked Tuesday about the prospect of joining USC’s next coach on staff, Williams chose to sidestep any such questions. Instead, he attempted to shift the focus from his future to Saturday’s mostly meaningles­s matchup with Cal.

“I haven’t even asked about that; I do not want to be informed,” Williams said. “All I care about is making sure we handle Cal. Everything for me is about Cal, trust me. That’s where my main focus is, that’s where my focus will stay. I don’t want it to swindle at all in any other direction. All day, I sit in here and watch film on Cal and offense, defense and special teams and make sure we’re fully prepared to play them.”

There was no official word on Williams’ future, and considerin­g his answers, it’s unlikely one will be offered before that final game is

 ?? Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times ?? DONTE WILLIAMS huddles with his Trojans on Oct. 30 against Arizona. Williams, the team’s interim coach, and his assistants can’t be sure about their futures under new coach Lincoln Riley.
Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times DONTE WILLIAMS huddles with his Trojans on Oct. 30 against Arizona. Williams, the team’s interim coach, and his assistants can’t be sure about their futures under new coach Lincoln Riley.
 ?? Los Angeles Times ?? Allen J. Schaben JAXSON DART says a lot of Trojans are excited to have Riley taking over the program.
Los Angeles Times Allen J. Schaben JAXSON DART says a lot of Trojans are excited to have Riley taking over the program.

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