The Oklahoma Sooners defense has arguably been the difference the past few seasons between reaching the College Football Playoff and winning a National Championship. Well now, Lincoln Riley believes he’s finally solved that side of the ball with new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who comes to Norman after stops at Washington State and Ohio State.
Riley spoke to the Tulsa World over the weekend and seemed more optimistic about his defense than he has in some time, saying, “I think there’s momentum. There’s hope. There’s energy. We’ve got a lot of (veteran defensive players) – guys who’ve been a part of good teams. They want to be the strength of this team. And then you’ve got some really talented newcomers who are excited about our direction, too. You can feel the momentum of the change. Alex and the defensive staff have done a nice job of building that momentum. You can see it starting to come together.”
Well, momentum, hope and energy are certainly good signs for an OU defense that hasn’t show much of those characteristics over the past half a decade or so.
The Sooners have lost four games the past two seasons and in each of those four their opponents scored at least 38 points. Also, despite having the No. 1 scoring offense in college football in 2018, Oklahoma’s defense ranked outside the top 100 (101st), which was actually a vast drop off from 2017 (68th).
If the Sooners are going to take that next step as a program and get to, if not win, a National Championship, the defense just needs to be serviceable. If Alex Grinch can do that, the OU faithful may just build a damn statue of the guy.
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