Oklahoma football fans have seen the worst three-year statistical run of defense in school history, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Sooners could be on the edge of a significant turnaround on that side of the ball.
It’s hard to deny that with Lincoln Riley dialing up historically-great offenses year after year in Norman, OU could be mentioned in the same breath with the Clemsons and Alabamas of the world if it weren’t for its defensive woes. Lincoln Riley has lost just four times since become the head coach in Norman and the Sooners scored 31, 48, 45 and 34 points in those losses.
Yet there are reasons to believe the Sooners can not only become a stout defensive team next year, but a pretty good one.
New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch
This is the most obvious change from last season. The Sooners waited for six years for Mike Stoops to turn the corner and get Oklahoma back to the elite level it enjoyed on that side of the ball for the early 2000s, but when the wheels finally came off in a 45-42 loss to Texas Stoops was let go.
What ensued was even worse defensively. Lincoln Riley’s mentor and journeyman defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil took the job in on an interim basis and the Sooners proceeded to allow 40 or more points in four of their last seven games, including 45 to Alabama in this year’s College Football Playoff.