Oklahoma football made it to the College Football Playoff, despite having a pretty abysmal defense. The Sooners poached a huge name to shore up that side of the ball: Ohio State’s Alex Grinch.
Grinch will join Lincoln Riley’s staff after one year in Columbus.
He was paired with former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.
The Buckeyes’ defense didn’t exactly light the world on fire during the 2018 season, but it was better than Oklahoma’s. The more important job for Grinch, however, was his last stop at Washington State.
In Pullman, he helped give balance to Mike Leach’s team, taking the Wazzu defense from near the bottom of the FBS to a top 40 unit over the course of three seasons.
Alabama football is obviously focused on Monday’s national championship, but the Alex Grinch hire is huge news for the Crimson Tide too.
Grinch’s move from Columbus to Norman means a long-rumored move by Pete Golding.
The 35-year old Alabama co-defensive coordinator is a fast riser in the defensive coaching ranks, like Grinch. He had also been discussed as a potential replacement for much of the season, after Riley fired previous DC Mike Stoops.
Golding denied the Oklahoma rumors ahead of the College Football Playoff semifinal. From 247Sports:
“I’ve had no communication, especially with Oklahoma,” Golding said at Alabama’s Media Day. “You hire people, agents and things like that that take care of your business that allow you to do your job. Right now, I work for the University of Alabama, and I’m trying to do the best job I can to get our kids prepared for Saturday. So, my focus is at Alabama and nothing else.”
That put a bit of a damper on the Oklahoma Golding rumors, but he was appearing on lists for the opening as recently as this morning, including those by The Norman Dispatch. The Dallas Morning News called him a “leading candidate” just days ago, after his denial.
There are very few programs that can pry an assistant away from Alabama for what is a largely lateral move. Considering Oklahoma is reportedly doing that to Ohio State with Grinch, it stands to reason that along with his own contract extension, Riley got the go-ahead to pony up crazy money to fix the defense.
In that case, Saban and his program may have dodged a bullet, and should hold on to the exciting young Golding, whose defense improved significantly over the year, for another season.