USC Continues to Build on Defense With the Hire of Matt Entz

    The USC Trojans continue to build on defense with the hire of current North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz, the program announced Sunday.

    The USC Trojans announced the hire of North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz Sunday, as Lincoln Riley continues to establish a defensive coaching juggernaut to help build on the team’s significant area of weakness.

    Entz will coach linebackers for the team while holding the title of assistant head coach for defense.

    USC Continues to Build on Defense With the Hire of Matt Entz

    After finishing in the bottom 10 nationally for scoring defense during the college football season, USC head coach Riley is swiftly making moves to build his defensive coaching staff. Earlier in December, the Trojans announced D’Anton Lynn as defensive coordinator and added to the staff with the hire of Entz.

    The NDSU head coach will join the team following the FCS playoffs, where the Bison will face Montana in the semifinal on Dec. 16.

    Under Entz, North Dakota State has won two FCS National Championship Games while twice being named the AFCA FCS Coach of the Year. He currently holds a 60-10 record as a head coach, including an impressive 15-2 record in the playoffs.

    As USC attempts to build a defensive coaching staff that can held that side of the ball rival Riley’s offensive juggernaut, it is Entz’s prolific career as a defensive coordinator that should prove exciting for Trojans fans. He brings not only a wealth of experience but a depth of success that few can rival, with ferocious, turnover-forcing defenses a feature of his résumé.

    During his stint as the North Dakota State defensive coordinator from 2014-2018, the Bison allowed less than 14 points per game while ranking in the FCS top five for both scoring and total defense in multiple seasons.

    That’s a stark contrast to the USC defense under Alex Grinch. During the 2023 college football season, the Trojans allowed 34.9 points per game while ranking 122nd in the country for total defense. The team gave up 438.5 yards per game, leading to a 7-5 record and the Trojans being unranked in the final AP Poll and College Football Playoff rankings.

    Even in the 11-3 campaign of 2022, the defense was the clear weakness for USC. While ranking third in the country for scoring offense, the defense gave up 29.2 points per game and ranked 94th in the nation for scoring defense. Stopping the run was a significant problem, as demonstrated often during the past two seasons with Grinch at the helm of the defense.

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    With the hiring of Lynn and Entz, the Trojans have recognized that simply being able to outscore an opponent isn’t the recipe for a successful college football team, as alluded to during head coach Riley’s announcement of the hire of the North Dakota State head coach on Sunday.

    “Having a championship-caliber staff is instrumental to the success of our team,” said Riley. “By welcoming Matt Entz, a championship-winning head coach and outstanding defensive mind, we are bolstering our defensive staff. He is going to be an excellent addition to the USC football program.”

    Entz’s defensive mind runs through his entire college football coaching résumé.

    When he takes up the job of linebacker coach for the Trojans on completion of his current command, he’ll be reprising a role held first at Wayne State from 1999-2009. Entz also worked with the linebacker unit while serving as the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State.

    He’s earned several nation accolades while acting as the linebacker coach at different spots. Entz was the AFCA DII Assistant Coach of the Year in 2008 and was named the FCS Coordinator of the Year following the 2018 season.

    Under his command, several players have earned All-American recognition, with eight players leaping the FCS to the NFL via the draft and others holding program records for defensive production.

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    Capable of extracting individual excellence while galvanizing a group of players to team success, Entz is the perfect remedy for the woes that have ailed the USC team in the past two seasons under Riley.

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