Oklahoma (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) lost to Kansas State (1-1, 1-0 Big 12) in its Big 12 opener on Saturday.
The Sooners' defense gave up 31 points in the second half, and was torched by senior quarterback Skylar Thompson for the second year in a row.
Here's what defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after the game:
On lack of takeaways:
"I'm missing on it somehow and so I've got to go back to the drawing board and say 'why are we not able to do it? Why do we continue to look at plays being made or a fourth quarter game.' It feels awfully long to us to play some semblance of a standard for 60 full minutes and I think that I bring that up because I think takeaways are obviously a huge element to that if you're taking the field just hoping that enough plays are being made to get you off the field and ultimately the offense is scoring enough points and maybe that mindset contributes to the lack of those plays being made but they win you ballgames. They lose you ballgames obviously and I'm not getting the job done.”
On performance in second half:
“I thought there's a couple plays that are alarming plays. They cost you points and just absolutely critical errors on our part. To come through concept, to turn a running back loose down the boundaries is obviously unacceptable and now we're out of the backfield but yeah we had seen on film and practice several times. To see that turn into an explosive play and we can say we practiced and did all of that stuff but it doesn’t really matter, we didn’t get it executed. I think it's a four quarter football game. One of the things we talk about all the time is the only quarter you can win the game is the fourth quarter but we can talk about it until I'm blue in the face when I get it done as a coach.”
On possible fatigue on defense:
“I would like to say no. I think as you evaluate things, I don't think that we played an extensive number of reps, certainly until maybe the fourth quarter. A couple more drives there but you're talking about in individual plays. A bad play can happen, it shouldn’t turn into a scoring play. I don't think I would circle that, obviously I would change my tune if you're watching the video and you see guys not straining the ball and all those things but no, I wouldn't circle that.”
On wide open receivers on defense:
“Yeah not a consistency that way. There wasn't one individual position or one individual play that was the one that got us. The first touchdown was a one-on-one coverage on a 3rd & 18 which is unacceptable and poor technique and they make a play and we don’t. Like I mentioned, I go right out of the backfield versus the man free concept, you really got to have two guys on the back but support safety would suggest that it would be one of the safer calls versus that individual play, but it doesn't matter when you get it done. The busted coverage and the cover three concept that we kind of match man, as opposed to playing our deep third technique. So no, all individual issues and obviously all poorly coached.”
On struggling to put teams away:
“Yeah, I think it's obvious, it's glaring, and you emphasize it, you talk about it and you make the guys aware of it, you try to create those situations, obviously, in practice, you don't hope for better results in the future and kind of throw your hands up and say, well, we just didn't get it done. It's something that we got to continue to evaluate and do a better job of. Why does 60 minutes just feel so long to us? Why can’t we perform at a certain level for stretches? Elite teams and good defenses, which clearly we're not able to have a result. They'll let one play beat you, don't let one play turn into two. Having energy, regardless of what's going on, can create their own emotion, can create their own energy. It all comes back down to coaching and that it is something that you can't ignore. It's a results business. The facts are the facts. We've talked about how the film suggested we are incapable as a coaching staff to get our guys to do it and so we’ve got to do a better job.”
On covering long receptions:
“I think the inevitable part is when a team starts making plays, they say the momentum isn’t real, but it’s very real. You have to make sure you give the necessary weight to those individual plays and say that they’re just that. You don’t look at it through any other lens than, ‘those two events happened, how are we going to respond to it?’ There’s a pretty good bet that when you go back to it, you say, ‘We need to be more consistent, we need to do our job.’ And often times, especially on [70 to 80-yard receptions] and credit goes where credit is deserved, however in most particular instances, you say, ‘we had an issue.’ So you have to have the mental resolve to say, ‘our issue is us and the people who ultimately need to get things fixed is us.’ We need to put the finger back on us as a coaching staff and players. And again, whatever momentum was given away at that point was certainly gift-wrapped by our defense."
On positive aspects of the game:
"In this moment of time, to find a lot of positives would be really reaching. It's a four-quarter football game. And we talked about it all week: the only quarter you can win a game is the fourth quarter, don't make evaluations, we can say whatever we said. It takes some positivity. I told them that type of stuff. And that's not what good coaches do. And obviously, our messages are not getting across. And so we have to do a better job as a coaching staff, but now it's tough to find positives right now. And I certainly think there were probably some guys who had individual good performances, and you can find stretches of time. But no, it's a results business and we failed."
On fixing problems by OU's next game:
"When you watch that play in real time, you say, well, it's fixed. You know, the moment it happened. Because all the easier things that happened on the day are the things that we messed up. And it's individual guys, making sure that they're dialed in. ... So there are a lot of things to fix over the course of the game. Why is it that a busted coverage takes place in that moment, for instance? Why didn't that happen in the first half when things were going well? And what is that mental aspect of things that we're missing on? Are we giving in when things get hard? Are we losing focus in some of those moments? Are we playing the right guys? Obviously, no. And most importantly, though, as we, attack the film when I go upstairs right now is, ‘what are we missing as coaches that we're not able to get our message across and ultimately get it executed?’"