Mike Jinks reportedly hired as new USC running backs coach

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Michael Reaves/Getty Images /

Mike Jinks is the next USC running backs coach according to a report. The former Kliff Kingsbury assistant fits exactly what the Trojans needed.

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Less than a week after securing Kliff Kingsbury as USC football’s next offensive coordinator, head coach Clay Helton has made his next hire on the offensive side of the ball: Mike Jinks. It comes in tandem with new defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a, according to a report from USCFootball.com’s Gerard Martinez.

Jinks most recently served as the head coach of Bowling Green, where he led the Falcons to a disappointing 7-24 record, before being sacked midway through the 2018 season.

What makes him interesting are his ties to Kingsbury. He coached running backs with an assistant head coach title under the new USC offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, where Jinks oversaw the Red Raiders’ most run-heavy seasons of the Kingsbury era.

Running back DeAndre Washington twice rushed for 1,000 yards under Jinks, including 1,492 in 2015, while leading the Big 12 in total offensive touches. He’s the only Texas Tech rusher to hit quadruple digits since Mike Leach brought the Air Raid offense to Lubbock in 2000.

It’s an extremely valuable feather in the cap for Jinks. The Trojans have a wealth of talent in the backfield, including juniors-to-be Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai. Both are expected to be key weapons in Kingsbury’s attack, despite an anticipated onslaught of pass attempts.

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For USC overall, Jinks is yet another strong hire in a pivotal offseason for the Trojans under Clay Helton.

Two of the three new assistants have head coaching experience and none had previous ties to Helton, his family or USC. Given the absurdly insular nature of the athletic program, it’s exactly the strategy Helton should be deploying, especially after athletic director Lynn Swann called for drastic changes to the program’s culture when he announced Helton’s return for 2019.

With Kingsbury, Kauha’aha’a and Jinks all on board at Troy, the focus becomes who USC will target and/or hire to backfill the positions vacated with the firings of defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford and wide receivers coach Tee Martin.