Two names have risen to the top of Oklahoma’s wishlist as the Sooners’ new defensive coordinator next season — Ohio State’s Alex Grinch and Alabama’s Pete Golding, per reports from Football Scoop.
Oklahoma’s defense was historically bad this season, the worst in College Football Playoff history in fact at 108th nationally, and the Sooners tried to initially correct the issues at the midseason junction after firing Mike Stoops following a loss to Texas at the Cotton Bowl in October.
Under interim DC Ruffin McNeil however, Oklahoma’s defense struggled mightily, giving up 36.7 points per game over its last seven contests.
Grinch is finishing his first season on the Buckeyes’ staff and is expected to be retained by new coach Ryan Day, who is taking over the program following Urban Meyer’s retirement after the Rose Bowl. Grinch, who came over from Washington State after the 2017 campaign, could be waiting his turn to be the lead defensive coordinator in Columbus should the Buckeyes part ways with Greg Schiano after a disappointing season on that side of the ball.
Golding is Alabama’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach and helped direct a defense which led the SEC this season in sacks, tackles for loss and red zone defense. Golding, who was hired prior to last season’s College Football Playoff, has already reportedly turned down one major offer this month, saying no to Ole Miss coach Matt Luke to become the Rebels’ new defensive coordinator.
Per Football Scoop, Saban will do his best to keep Golding, who helps DC Tosh Lupoi with the Xs and Os aspect of game-planning, insinuating a raise and extension could be in order. BamaOnline reported Tuesday Golding to Oklahoma isn’t happening right now.
From Football Scoop:
Remaining in the good graces of Lord Saban is a smart career move for obvious reasons in both the long and short terms, and sources told FootballScoop that Saban plans to make moves necessary to keep Golding in Tuscaloosa.
Grinch and his wife are both Ohio natives, and the 37-year-old left his post as Washington State’s defensive coordinator with the understanding he’d been next in line to run Ohio State’s defense if and when Schiano left Columbus. Considering Schiano is in his third year at Ohio State, the feeling is that his time in scarlet and gray has run its course.
Alabama on Tuesday lost offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who accepted the head coaching position at Maryland. Saban is no stranger to replacing assistants. In fact, out of 10 assistants, only offensive line coach Brent Key held the same position he did in 2017 entering this season.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has had to fend off NFL interest in recent weeks, saying Monday he was happy in Norman.
“You know, if I didn’t have a job that I thought was a long-term deal that we could win and be very successful at that is absolutely a destination coaching job, one of the best coaching jobs in the world regardless of sport, I would maybe have a different answer,” Riley said. “But I’m extremely fortunate that I’m in a place, I’m at a place like that right now, and so absolutely I don’t have that obligation.”