Grinch changing defensive mentality

 

By Michael Kinney

Oklahoma coach Alex Grinch doesn’t mince words. In his short time as the Sooners defensive coordinator, he has shown he is straight forward and will not lower his expectations for anyone.

That was the case Monday after the team’s first official scrimmage of the spring. Instead of throwing useless fluff comments, Grinch was said he was not happy with the way his defense performed. And went straight at their mentality for the practice.

“This was the first time we went out to the field, touched our toes and go play football. I don’t know if the bulk of the group handled that the right way,” Grinch said. “An immature competitor kind of waits, needs those periods to build towards a certain day. A mature competitor walks on that football field and says ‘this is the order for the day, this is the standard by which I play and I’m going to bring somebody with me. It’s not just about me, I’m going to play up to my capabilities and keep raising the bar every single day.’  An immature guy walks and there and says ‘let’s see how the day goes.’ We had too much of that.”

That was the message that not only came from Grinch, but also his players when they spoke after practice Monday. After being ranked No. 129 in defense last season, the players are buying into whatever Grinch is selling.

“We don’t want to be 129 this year, we want to be top 10, number one if we were going be honest. If we have a bad practice, he lets us know we’re looking like 129,” cornerback Tre Brown said. “That’s the past, and if we were a little better we would probably have a national championship right now so we’re just trying to focus on that and be better.”

One of the areas Grinch is emphasizing is creating turnovers. He wants the Sooners to striveto be playmakers.

“The anticipation of making a play is just not there for enough guys,” Grinch said. “I think being content with just being in the right place is too much of a standard, and you can’t play great defense doing that. If you’re not going to make a play, who is?”

Players like sophomore Brendan Radley-Hiles, who did not perform well in the previous system, seems to be anxious for the chance to prove themselves under Grinch.

“Coach Grinch is going to get the max potential out of you,” Radley-Hiles said. “He’s going to push you to it. You just have to be ready to embrace that and get ready to go with him/ I’m for it. I’m ready. I’m embracing that, this process. I’m eager to learn.”

The Sooners have less than two weeks before the annual Red and White Spring Game, which is set for 3 p.m. April 13 at Gaylord Family Stadium.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

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