OU football: Sooners' strong pass rush helping to create turnovers on the back end
NORMAN — For much of Alex Grinch’s first season and a half as OU’s defensive coordinator, the Sooners’ lack of turnovers were a focus.
They struggled to produce takeaways in 2018 under Mike Stoops and then Ruffin McNeill, and then continued to struggle under Grinch.
But Grinch’s group has produced a turnover in four consecutive games, with seven of the eight takeaways during that time coming on interceptions.
OU hasn’t forced a turnover in four consecutive games since the last four — including the bowl — of the 2017 season. The Sooners haven’t intercepted a pass in that many consecutive games since five consecutive games with an interception at the end of 2015.
While the secondary is the ones getting credit for this rash or turnovers — all but one of those seven interceptions during this stretch have been by defensive backs — OU’s ability to get pressure up front has played a big role also.
“Getting pressure on the quarterback which results in him to be off on his throws, to make bad decisions and then that falls on us in the back end to take advantage of those opportunities and make them pay for it,” said Tre Norwood, who has had three interceptions during this stretch.
Grinch: Not rushing to be head coach
With Shane Beamer having been hired as South Carolina’s head coach, Grinch appears to be the most likely on Lincoln Riley’s staff to get the next shot as a head coach.
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Grinch said Wednesday that while he aspires to be a head coach at some point, he doesn’t feel like he has to rush.
“Ultimately, that’s what you want to be. You want to be the best coach you can possibly be,” Grinch said. “I aspire to be the best coach in America. Believe me, people let me know all the time that I’m not. If you do that, you may have some opportunities.
“They’ve got to be the right opportunity. The nice thing about being at Oklahoma, you don’t have to get the classifieds out and look for opportunities.”
Beamer will always be tied with Hall
After the Sooners’ first touchdown of the 2019 season, Beamer celebrated Hall’s first career touchdown by sharing a headbutt with H-back Jeremiah Hall.
Hall was wearing his helmet. Beamer didn’t have any such protection and wound up needing stitches before returning to the sidelines.
“It was everywhere when it happened,” Hall said. “It was on ESPN, it was on Bleacher Report, Sooner Sports Daily. They talked about it, you guys talked about it. So whenever I think about my coach, that’s definitely a top memory that comes to mind.”
Beamer’s impact on Hall has gone far beyond the cranial kind.
“He’s truly one of the most caring and genuine coaches I’ve ever met,” Hall said. “He’s helped develop me as a player. He’s not the type of person to micromanage. He kind of just lets me go out there and play.
“I’m sad to see him go, I truly am. But at the same time I couldn’t be happier for him. His happiness is important to me.”
Jones put on scholarship
Spencer Jones is listed as a wide receiver on OU’s roster but he’s had an impact all over the field.
His primary contributions in games have come on special teams, where he’s served as the Sooners’ holder this year after playing in every game last year on special teams. In 2018, he was the Sooners’ defensive scout team player of the year after transferring from Liberty.
Now, according to his Twitter, Jones is a scholarship player for the Sooners.
“Thank you to (OU football) and (Lincoln Riley) and the rest of the staff for making my dreams come true,” Jones tweeted.