Field report: The USC football veteran is excited about one last chance at success under Lincoln Riley

Tuesday ND

football | November 23, 2022

Andrew Vorhees has seen everything. USC’s starting left guard has played at the collegiate level since he was a true freshman in 2017.

The Trojans’ most experienced offensive lineman had a decision to make Lincoln Riley first arrived in Southern California last November. Vorhees could have gone to the NFL after already making his mark at the college level, but instead chose to return for his sixth year at USC.

“I find [it] sent a message to the entire list about how serious the boys inside the walls were about getting this thing right,” Lincoln Riley said after USC’s practice of Notre Dame Week on Tuesday.

It may have been overlooked at the time, but it was a pivotal moment for Riley and the culture he sought to establish for the USC football program.

“I’ll always look back and remember that,” Riley said. “I didn’t know that much at the time because I saw and met him one day and at that point I had met about 5,000 people in the last 48 hours. So I probably didn’t realize how big that was back then, but that was important. It set the tone in many ways.”

After many years in Cardinal and Gold, Vorhees and his veteran offensive lineman Brett Neilon play rivals Notre Dame in their Coliseum final on Saturday. Two Trojans that are so dedicated to their university are a long time coming.

“The boys were good players for us and they were good leaders,” Riley said of Vorhees and Neilon. “You wanted this [season’s success] happen.”

The sour taste of USC’s 4-8 record in 2021 played a role in Neilon’s return to his sixth and final season. According to the center, it was an opportunity to “right the wrong.”

“Certain teams really cheered us on last year and didn’t respect us, even at our home stadium,” said Neilon. “I think that just strengthened the bond between the guys who stayed here and then I think maybe it had a trickle down effect on some of the new guys.”

It’s a unique and specific connection that motivates and connects the Trojans left over from last year. Especially for longtime veterans like Vorhees and Neilon who wanted one last chance to experience new levels of success in Cardinal and Gold.

“It’s been fun to see the guys enjoying some of these moments, all of them, but especially those who have been here a while,” Riley remarked. “You know their appreciation for what this team has accomplished, what they have led and what they have certainly made a huge difference. You can tell it means a lot to them.”

Notes from USC’s Tuesday practice during Notre Dame week:

  • Lincoln Riley on Tuesday gave his scouting report on Notre Dame’s defense, which has not allowed more than 400 yards in total offense this season:

    • “Not only do I see a lot of weaknesses in the group,” Riley said. “They have people who can rush the passer, they played well in secondary, they intercepted balls and were good in third place. They’re a good defense, they’re a challenging defense With a group like this, the margins are slim. You have to play at a high level and I’ve said that before when we’ve played against a good group, but it shows.”

  • The head coach has stressed that USC wants to play a full 60 minutes of football on Saturdays. Riley updated where the team stands with this goal:

    • “I think we did a few things the other night and then the last couple that makes you pretty excited about where we’re going,” Riley said. “There are many ups and downs everywhere [the process] but i see [our] mentality ahead. I see us finding some cool ways to win and obviously beating some good opponents with some more here on deck. That’s the plan and that’s what we’re working on out here and I think this team is very serious about making it happen.”

  • wide receiver Jordan Addison shared what makes quarterback Caleb Williams different when it comes to its ability to lengthen a piece:

    • “Just the will to want it. Only his will,” Addison said. “He wants to extend the game, so he will. He’s not just going to sit there and see no one is open and take a sack or throw it away. He’ll make a difference and that’s just the playmaker that he is.”

  • defensive back Max Williams shared his scouting report on Notre Dame’s offense:

    • “They’re a physical offense,” Williams said. “They want to let the ball go and then they really focus on finding ways to get the ball there [Michael Mayer]. He’s a great tight end. So just find ways to stop the run and be physical, master physicality. We want to get more physical, so just find ways to get off the field.”

Quick hits with Keely:

Media availability on Tuesday:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *