Caleb Williams gets to work after move from Oklahoma to USC

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network
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LOS ANGELES — Caleb Williams missed the entrance to work on the first day at USC. He jogged out of the John McKay Center and headed the wrong way down McClintock Avenue before he got pointed to the right door for practice at Howard Jones Field.

Sure, the quarterback with Heisman Trophy buzz is still getting used to his new home, even though he’s been in town for a month now.

Williams will have plenty of time to learn all the routes on and off the field before the Trojans get to the first game of the Lincoln Riley era in about five months.

Williams and Riley went to work for the first practice of spring football in a remarkable rebuilding project at the West Coast’s most storied college football program.

The former five-star recruit who followed his head coach from Norman to Los Angeles is excited by the opportunities presented in rebuilding a team that has undergone a comprehensive facelift after winning only four games last season.

“It’s a great day to be out here in sunny Southern California,” Williams said. “It’s just a little weird, because you have new colors, new logos and all those things. But it’s been really, really fun.”

After seizing the starting job at Oklahoma midway through his exciting freshman season, Williams is starting over on the West Coast with a wealth of endorsement deals and ample uncertainty. But it isn’t a completely fresh start, and that’s important to Williams.

Riley is here, as are former Sooners receiver Mario Williams and several key assistants and support personnel from Oklahoma. Williams also was already friendly with several Trojans – including his probable backup at USC, Miller Moss – from workouts and camps.

“I know a lot of guys out here already, because I come out here and train all the time,” Williams said. “A bunch of guys that were highly recruited athletes. But it is a pretty unique roster (at USC). We’ve got a lot of transfers, and that’s pretty unique to USC’s history. They’ve always been able to get whoever they wanted by recruitment, things like that.”

Riley also appeared to be thrilled to get to work after his stunning move to USC. The head coach participated actively in individual workouts with his new players, even filling the role of a defensive back during passing drills.

“It’s the hottest first spring practice in my life, for sure,” Riley said of the 80-degree temperatures. “But it was amazing. … I’ve been waiting 100 days for this, man. The way the players are responding, the way the staff is coming together, it energizes me. It excites me. I was so ready for this day to be here.”

Riley and Williams were joined by the full complement of newcomers to USC, including touted running backs Travis Dye (Oregon) and Austin Jones (Stanford). Riley and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch are teaching schemes to their new players, but they’re also spending much of spring building the team bonds and togetherness they’ll need in the fall.

USC could have well over two dozen transfer players on its roster by September, since Riley expects to add more transfers after spring ball shakes out at other schools.

“The main goal right now is learning how to practice, learning how to do things in a championship manner, learning how to come together as a team,” Riley said. “By the time we kick off the first game, this is going to be the most unique roster in the history of the school and one of the most unique rosters in the history of the sport. (There’s) a challenge there for us to really bond, so we’ve got to do that and establish our culture and identity. The other things are important, but that’s going to be the most important.”

Williams knows how to get to practice now, but he’s taking his time to learn his way around USC. When asked what had surprised him about campus so far, Williams laughed.

“Even from the garage to the facility, you’ve got to do a lot of walking,” Williams said. “I probably should get a scooter. It’s a lot of walking. You’ve got to have good time management.”

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.