Relationships have been Donte Williams' backbone, his ability to connect with rookies and their families making him one of the Pac-12's most sought-after assistant coaches .
After the trainer Clay Helton fired Monday, Williams to attempt to use those same ties to save Southern California season, possibly leaving athletic director Mike Bohn a tough decision to make as historic west coast college football power seeks a new leader.
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Williams oversaw his first practice on Tuesday and Wednesday after being named interim coach for the Trojans (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12), a title he only discovered minutes before
a title = " alt = ""> Bohn and Helton have informed players that a change will be made. Bohn said Williams, 39, got the job so offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando could continue to focus on pgame scheduling and calls.
"This isn 't Donte Williams show, no This is the USC show, so we all work together " Williams said. "It's not about me and me, it's us and us, and that's the whole message. Us and us. What we're going to do. Not what I'm going to do. we'll do. "
Williams also knows many USC players on both sides of the ball after recruiting them during his tenure as cornerback coach in Arizona, Nebraska and in Oregon before joining USC in February 2020. It was his bonding prowess with high school players that helped send USC's efforts to sign the best into his own backyard. in freefall in recent years, helping the Ducks land local stars like linebacker Justin Flowe and corner kick Mykael Wright.
So when Bohn and Chief of Staff Brandon Sosna s 'were working to bolster USC recruiting efforts at the same time Helton overhauled his defensive staff last year. Williams ticked all the boxes.
"I think that shows how respected he is, you know, within the team and within the nation because he touched a lot of people across the country, some of the best coaches in the country, "said security Isaiah Pola-Mao.
These additions have changed things in recruiting, as USC currently has 2022 multi-player engagements. Williams' rise should give Trojans a better chance to hold on this class until a new coa ch is appointed.
But the immediate goal is to produce victories on the ground, starting with Washington State (1 -1) Saturday. Williams hopes to use his links through the USC roster to establish greater accountability.ility after penalties and breakdowns accumulated in what would end up being Helton's last game, a Embarrassing 42-28 loss of home at Stanford .
Restoring things wouldn't be out of place given the history recent USC with interim coaches. Ed Orgeron went 6-2 after replacing Lane Kiffin in 2013, becoming a player and fan favorite before being ignored for the permanent position in favor of Steve Sarkisian. Helton was promoted two years later after reaching the Pac-12 title after Sarkisian's sacking.
With Bohn promising a "grand opening national research , it seems unlikely that Williams could follow in Helton's footsteps. a strong performance could put him in the course for a variety of jobs, ranging from staying in USC as an assistant with greater responsibilities to becoming a defensive coordinator in the Power Five or even getting the go-ahead as a coach- leader in a group of Five Schools, although Williams said it was not his immediate concern.
"I have full confidence in USC that they will make the best decision, will make the right choice for these athletes, right, for these student-athletes. And I have full confidence that they will do it, so I will go 1-0 today, "he said. he said.
Williams, a native of Los Angeles, did not aspire to be a coach after playing on the back defense at college in Syracuse and the State of the State. 'Idaho and spent two seasons in the Arena Football League development ranks trying to turn pro.