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USC hires D'Anton Lynn away from archrival UCLA to be its new defensive coordinator

Southern California has hired D'Anton Lynn away from archrival UCLA to be Lincoln Riley's defensive coordinator.

Riley announced his choice Friday night to replace Alex Grinch, who was fired last month with two games left in USC's disappointing 7-5 regular season.

Lynn, the 34-year-old son of former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, transformed the Bruins' defense into an elite unit in his only season in Westwood.

UCLA went from 87th in the nation in total defense in 2022 to 11th this season, leading the FBS in rushing defense and finishing third in sacks. Just two weeks ago, Lynn's Bruins allowed only one touchdown drive by USC's powerful offense in the first 3 1/2 quarters of UCLA's 38-20 victory in the rivals' annual crosstown showdown.

Lynn spent the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach with five NFL teams, including his father's Chargers.

He has a massive project on his hands with Riley's Trojans, who finished the regular season 120th in the 130-team FBS with 438.8 yards allowed per game and 34.9 points allowed per game. The leaky defense sabotaged the efforts of Riley and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams with the Trojans' offense, which ranked fourth in the nation with 41.8 points game and 11th with 469.7 yards per game.

USC fell apart down the stretch, giving up more than 44 points per game while the Trojans went 1-5 to close the regular season. Grinch's first defense at USC also struggled repeatedly last year, but Riley stuck with his longtime friend and co-worker until the Trojans gave up 572 yards in a 52-42 loss to powerhouse Washington on Nov. 4.

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