UPDATE: It’s official. Alex Grinch is now the defensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma.
Riley made the following comments in OU’s release:
“I have a lot of mutual contacts and people I trust in the business who have worked with Alex, and they all speak highly of his ability to not only be one of the best schematically, but also a guy who will help build the culture that we want and expect here at Oklahoma on the defensive side.”
”He’s a very diligent and very, very involved recruiter. His specialty has been the secondary, but he’ll certainly be involved in all aspects of our defensive recruiting. He’s a personable guy and has an outstanding track record in that area. It’s something he’s very invested in and he fits with the standard that we’ve created here. Recruiting is going to be at the forefront of everything we do. Alex certainly agrees with that and fits in perfectly.”
In Grinch’s quotes, he explained the ties to Lincoln Riley and the Air Raid tree as well as his plans for the defense.
“Coach Riley and I have a number of mutual friends, I’m definitely in the ‘air raid’ tree, just on the defensive side of the ball. I’m not sure there’s a better fit for an offense and a defense. I believe this is what Coach Riley is looking for. I also believe what we do works.”
“The scheme is designed to let players play fast. It’s a downhill approach. We work into gaps in our front and speed is our calling card. Today’s offenses are built on space and speed. You have to combat that with speed of your own. With speed on defense, it affords you the opportunity to run a multiplicity of coverages and fronts.”
“I have great respect for the Big 12. The offenses are explosive. To a degree, that same approach has become America’s offense. Offenses now feature run-pass options combined with tempo. That’s the challenge we face and we look forward to meeting it.”
ORIGINAL: It’s been three months since Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley relieved Mike Stoops of his defensive coordinator duties, but he has reportedly found a replacement in the form of Ohio State Buckeyes co-DC Alex Grinch, per Bruce Feldman.
BREAKING: #OhioState’s Alex Grinch is expected to become the next defensive coordinator at #OU, per source. He was a semifinalist for the 2017 Broyles Award. Grinch worked wonders at WAZZU turning a defense ranked outside the top 100 into one ranked No. 34 by the time he left WSU
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 4, 2019
Prior to his lone season in Columbus, Grinch became one of the hottest defensive commodities on college coaching during his three seasons of work as Washington State’s defensive coordinator. Prior to his arrival in Pullman, the Cougars finished the 2014 season ranked 101st in defensive S&P+. By the time he was finished, Wazzu was ranked 29th on that list.
Still in his thirties, Grinch will provide a young and energetic presence at the helm of the Oklahoma defense, something that has been sorely needed. Oklahoma clearly needs a culture chance on D, and this has the makings of a perfect match as far as that’s concerned. He’s also someone who has demonstrated an ability, while in Pullman, to construct a defense capable of getting enough stops in spite of perhaps not matching the talent of the opposing offense. Finally, he’s proven that his defenses can produce solid numbers while paired with a fast-paced offense (Mike Leach’s offense in this instance).
Alex Grinch’s 2017 defense at Washington State:
*28 turnovers forced (15 INT, 13 fumbles)
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) January 4, 2019
It’ll be interesting to see who is retained on the staff, but regardless, this feels like a fresh start for a unit that has been so vexing in recent years.