It certainly has been an eventful Friday morning for the Ohio State football program as after reports of Justin Fields transferring to the Buckeyes to Michael Jordan declaring for the NFL Draft, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Alex Grinch is leaving the program after just one season with the Buckeyes to become the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, per Bruce Feldman.
Grinch will become the first Ohio State assistant coach to leave the program after just one season since 2001 as the 2017 Broils Award semifinalist is headed to Norman to join Lincoln Riley’s staff with the Sooners.
Whether this move is due to the fact that Ryan Day was not going to retain him on his staff or if he is leaving of his own will has not been made clear yet. One thing that is clear, however, is that the Buckeye defense struggled heavily in his only season in Columbus.
Appearing to be the replacement for Greg Schiano whenever he left Ohio State, Grinch had struggles with the safeties unit and defense as a whole as the Buckeyes gave up a whopping 403.4 yards per game this season – the worst statistical defense in the 129-year history of Ohio State football. Ohio State was ranked just 71st nationally in total defense and gave up 25.5 points per game, 50th in that category nationally.
The safeties played a big part in allowing those yards this season as Grinch played around with a rotation of Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint opposite of solid starter Jordan Fuller for a majority of the season before Brendon White finally entered that position in Ohio State’s ninth game of the season against Nebraska – all due to Jordan Fuller being ejected in that game – as White solidified his status as the starting safety opposite Jordan Fuller for the remainder of the season.
It’s certainly questionable why it took till late in the season for Brendon White to start at safety, but it will no longer be Grinch’s problem.
Grinch’s problem instead now will be to turn around an Oklahoma defense who gave up an average of 43.5 points in their final six games of the season, including getting decimated by Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
This will most likely not be the last coaching change that Ryan Day makes on his new staff as defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, linebackers coach Bill Davis and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa are all major assistants who are not expected to return next season.
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