No. 6 Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) defeated rival No. 11 Texas (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) 34-27 on Saturday. In what was expected to be an offensive shootout, fans were instead treated to a defensive battle through four quarters. The Sooners' defense had undoubtedly its best performance of the season, garnering nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss, the Sooners' most sacks in a game since 2005.
Here's what defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after the win:
On LB Kenneth Murray's performance
"You see a guy playing fast, you see a guy playing confident. Coach Odom does a great job with that linebacking core. Doesn’t have to be a blitz for him to be active, be active in the backfield. We have some leaders on defense, you circle him, you circle Nev and some of those guys. In big games, your best players have to make plays. There’s no other way around it."
On if Kenneth Murray taking inspiration from past OU Butkus winners
“I think he has. It also speaks to the eliteness of this program. I think when you have visuals like that at any position, but obviously specific to Kenneth (Murray) at linebacker. To say do it like them in a different age might be different from a technique standpoint, but certainly there's a visual for that. You come to Oklahoma to play a certain brand of football and you come to Oklahoma to play in these types of games. The best defensive player for Oklahoma should be in the conversation for national awards. If you can do it on offense, don’t tell me you can’t do it on defense. I think he’s just one of those guys, credit goes to coach Odom in a lot of ways instilling that in him. Today was exciting to see that. As a defensive coach, when that play breaks down, you know I'm looking for (number) 9. You know, go save the day, bud.
On the defense taking control of the game
"You saw a group of guys playing down hill, playing fast, playing aggressive. When you do that, you give yourself a chance to be successful. Football is hard, but the complexity of it kind of gets dumbed down when you play with extreme effort ... Certainly think you saw a group of guys that maybe gained confidence as the game went on, but you also saw that when you make plays you’re a good defense."
On the secondary's performance
"We wanted to play aggressive coverage. Some of the things that happen when you do that obviously are pass interference calls ... I rounded up our DB’s yesterday and said, 'If we don’t get a couple PI calls, we’re not playing good enough football.' I put that on me, I think we got a couple too many. In any event, you gotta be aggressive. What’s the alternative? If the alternative is not better than being aggressive, then let’s not go down that road."
On nerves and excitement heading into first OU-Texas game
“What happens in regards to the stage is that football breaks out. I don’t think it's different in that way, I don’t think I’m different then most coaches in that way. It’s such a historic rivalry, you know the buzz coming in through the fair. I don’t know what else to compare to that. It’s certainly thrilling to have an opportunity to be a part of it as a coach. All of those things are the reason why you do this at a place like Oklahoma. In the end, from a football standpoint, so much of the emphasis was to focus on us."