OU football: Sooners' Alex Grinch remained unwavering through difficult performances and was rewarded with a strong showing vs. Baylor
NORMAN — Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s smile beamed as he left the field Saturday in Waco, Texas.
After the frustrations of the previous two games — with his group giving up 48 points against Kansas State and 41 to Iowa State, not to mention 31 in the first half to Baylor — Grinch let his frustrations go in the joyous celebration that followed the biggest comeback in Sooners history.
But while there were surely plenty of frustrations, Grinch didn’t let on to his players, either during the midst of any of the last three games or in the lead-up.
“Adversity has always been a big thing with him,” linebacker DaShaun White said, adding that Grinch remained positive while trying to find buttons to motivate.
He sends his players inspirational quotes regularly. He prophetically showed them footage of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI comeback in the days before his own team, like the Patriots, fell behind 28-3 early before coming back to win.
“It’s just stuff like that — giving us answers to the question, ‘What do you do when your back’s against the wall?’” White said. “It’s simple, just do your job as hard as you can.”
While his players felt a sense of calm coming from Grinch, that doesn’t mean there weren’t different emotions bouncing around in Grinch’s head when he was working on how to fix it — including this week, when he evaluated what went wrong in the first half as Oklahoma allowed 238 yards and 31 points as much as what went right in the second half when the Bears had just 69 yards, were scoreless and turned the ball over twice.
“It's hard film to watch. It's embarrassing. It's on me,” Grinch said. “We have to be better that way. But fortunately, we had a tremendous second half. It's hard to do what these guys did in the second half.”
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Grinch’s unwavering belief in what he’s building defensively has been in place from the moment he arrived nearly a year ago, and it’s that belief that helped him stay even keeled during the recent struggles.
“We’ve been talking about adversity since we got together back in January because you know it’s coming,” Grinch said. “We’ve talked about playing with elite effort, going back to winter workouts. I think part of it is understanding these are the ingredients to play elite defense, we believe in them, we believe in them to our core and what we need to do as we look at it is how do we get it out of them? Not just during the course of a work week but how can we find a way to be more consistent on Saturdays.”
But he’s not going to do anything other than keep on that path after the way Saturday’s game ended.
“Obviously that search continues,” Grinch said.
TCU at No. 9 OU
When: 7 p.m., Saturday
Where: Owen Field, Norman
TV: Fox (Cox 12)
Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7