USC football reportedly hires Oregon State’s Greg Burns as defensive backs coach

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football reportedly hired Oregon State defensive backs coach Greg Burns to fill the same position for the Trojans, bringing the Pete Carroll assistant back to Troy.

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USC football has filled yet another assistant coaching position, tapping a familiar face in Greg Burns to become the new Trojan defensive backs coach.

Scott Schrader of and Adam Maya of reported the hiring on Friday afternoon. The Oregonian also reported that Burns is no longer listed as an assistant on the Beavers’ website and has left the program.

Burns’ name may be familiar to USC fans. He coached the Trojan secondary under Pete Carroll at USC from 2002 to 2005. During that time, he fostered the careers of Troy Polamalu, Darnell Bing and others. He left the Trojans to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one season before beginning an odyssey in college football.

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In 2007, Burns coached defensive backs at Kansas State before joining Dennis Erickson at ASU from 2008 through 2011. He spent a season with Purdue in 2012, then UMass. In 2014 he landed on Sony Dykes’ staff at Cal where he remained until 2016.

Earlier this year, Oregon State brought in Burns as their secondary coach. In one year with the Beavers, there wasn’t much to write home about with regards to Burns. Before his arrival, Oregon State ranked 112th in defensive passing S&P+ and they remained 112th in 2018. They had just three interceptions on the year and only one of those was nabbed by a defensive back.

Now, his task will be replacing Ronnie Bradford, who worked primarily with the Trojan cornerbacks, as the USC defensive backs coach.

At USC, Burns will have a much more talented collection of corners to work with at least. The Trojans boast highly-touted high school recruits like Greg Johnson, Olaijah Griffin, Isaac Taylor Stuart and Chase Williams in their cornerback ranks. The class of 2019 will also introduce four-star corner Max Williams to the mix along with three-star Trey Davis.

However, depth will likely be a major concern with senior starters Iman Marshall, Ajene Harris, Isaiah Langley and Jonathan Lockett graduating.

At safety, the loss of Marvell Tell to graduation will be another concern, along with the departure of Bubba Bolden and Jamel Cook. There is promise in Isaiah Pola-Mao, Talanoa Hufanga and C.J. Pollard, but worrying depth as well.