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OU football: What defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after Sooners' 48-0 win over Missouri State

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Alex Grinch and the defense

Defensive coordinator and safeties coach Alex Grinch talks to the Sooners defense during the Sooners' season opener against Missouri State on Sept. 12.

The Sooners (1-0) defeated Missouri State 48-0 in their season opener in Norman on Saturday night.

OU's defense shined, completing its first shutout since Alex Grinch took over as defensive coordinator, while only allowing 135 yards of offense.

Here's what Grinch had to say after the game:

On Defensive tone

“I thought you saw an excited football team, and obviously specifically on the defensive side of the ball. I thought the guys were excited to have an opportunity to play, which they should. And we always talk about fast starts to any game but, in addition to that, obviously when you're talking about the first opportunity to play under the lights (in a) real game account. And so, what (we were) pleased (with) certainly with the start just was the overall energy. I thought in some early non conference games a year ago, It was very disappointing in our lack of energy in terms of our ability to sustain that over the course of four quarters. And so (it) just credits the guys in terms of maintaining that along the way so (we were) pleased with that.”

On front seven

“I thought it was good. (it was) an opportunity to get a lot of guys in the game and I know we've talked before (about) one of your biggest frustrations as a coach is you give a guy an opportunity and they don't take advantage of it. So it was good, some young guys (had their) first opportunity to be Oklahoma Sooners and play again in a real football game. So I just thought overall, I haven't seen the numbers and all that but (they were) just active and that's where we need to be. The level of competition increases from here, but just to see guys displaying the brand that we want to play down in and down out again is encouraging for week one.”

On redshirt freshman defensive back Jeremiah Criddell

“He did a nice job. Jeremiah's a guy that redshirted for us a year ago and has made some real, real good strides over the course of an offseason. We can talk about the offseason ‘till you’re blue in the face but he did and (had a) good fall camp to kind of back that up. I think he's a guy that is itching for those opportunities, and I think he only gets better from here and that was a good starting point for him, and a guy that you know we need to get some meaningful snaps out of this year.”

On junior defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey

“What I've seen is, not just tonight but over the course of all of camp, (he’s) just very active, and you know he displays a quickness — A powerful, physical game to go with that. In a lot of ways he's only scratched the surface in terms of what he's going to be. And so I think it's exciting. And I know he's one of those guys that's going to see some valuable, valuable reps to see on film when we get back in the meeting room on Monday, and get a chance to improve from what I think is sometimes minimized. Those early games over the course of a season which again, you know for us this year is just the one (non conference game) but you finally get to see something new. You play the same offense day in and day out and obviously we were very fortunate because we see so much from our offense, but all of a sudden, today we get two-back I-formation,  we get very limited reps of that over the course of a fall camp and so you see different plays, different schemes, different ways that an offensive line would protect in the pass game or block in the run game and so for all those guys up front,  It's very valuable reps, especially for a guy being a first year guy in the program. 

On redshirt junior defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas

“The one thing that stands out is he’s a guy that when we have an opportunity to jockey guys around in the secondary, but in the front we say ok Isaiah Thomas can play on the end or nose. He could play tackle, he played some interior for us tonight and played on the edge the bulk of last year. You only do that with guys that can handle it. You only do that with guys that you trust. You know that they’re going to give whatever they lack in the number of reps at that particular position, they’re going to make up for it with just your effort. Isaiah is one of those guys for us and I’m a big fan of him. Because you tell him today you’re going to be a defensive end, tomorrow you’re going to be a defensive tackle and he shakes his head and all he does is do it to the best of his ability so you can’t have enough of those guys on your team.”

On using players in different positions

“What comes to mind is Tre Norwood at  corner and safety, we kind of planned on that as we went through our practice reps this past week in particular. But throughout the secondary kind of really moved some checkers around, Pat Fields (Patrick Fields) at nickel, Delarrin (Delarrin Turner-Yell) at free safety, Bookie (Brendan Radley-Hiles) at strong safety, just kind of looking at all the different ways that you may be affected. Bryan Mead at defensive end Believe it or not, but just in any conceivable way that we thought we could possibly be affected.”

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