Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's first game with the program will be against a team with an elite quarterback and a new head coach.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen is entering his first season at the helm of Houston after spending eight seasons at West Virginia and is bringing senior quarterback D'Eriq King, who threw for 2,982 passing yards and 36 touchdowns in 2018, to Norman in less than two weeks. With a new leader and returning talent among the Cougars, Grinch says he can't go in thinking he knows the outcome for his first game.
"What you don't want to imply is that you know exactly what you're going to see here in a couple of Sundays. I think that you go down a bad path when you do that," Grinch said after practice Tuesday, Aug. 20. "Certainly you gotta lean on the video that you can find to suggest what you're going to see. ... Not to say that we're playing West Virginia next Sunday."
Added to the challenge of studying Houston is junior cornerback Tre Norwood's season-ending lower body injury, a subject Grinch touched on at Tuesday's practice. With Norwood's absence, the cornerback unit has to compete for the vacant spot. It's been a little over a week since the injury, and Grinch says the situation has "caught a couple guys off guard."
Grinch mentioned sophomore Brendan Radley-Hiles, junior Tre Brown, redshirt junior Jordan Parker, redshirt freshman Miguel Edwards, freshman Jaden Davis and senior Parnell Motley, who Grinch said has "come a long, long way" in camp.
"I think at its best, it has been (his defense's most competitive group), and at its worst, it's been similar to the other spots," Grinch said. "Probably the most improved group on the defense."