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'It’s an inconsistent unit': What Sooners coach Alex Grinch said after OU's 35-23 win over Kansas

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Alex Grinch

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch during the game against Kansas State in Manhattan on Oct. 2.

No. 3 Oklahoma (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) defeated Kansas (1-6, 0-4) 35-23 in Lawrence on Saturday.

The Sooners’ defense gave up 412 total yards including 246 through the air. Sophomore defensive back Key Lawrence led the team in tackles with eight and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.

Here’s what defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after the game: 

On the defense’s inability to stop Kansas on third downs

“I think it kind of became the theme of the first half. The inability to stop or get stops in the run game, and that kind of eats away at you with some yardage to then create some situations in a second-and-medium or second-and-short. Then, you add penalties to that, with undisciplined football in the front, and all of a sudden you're handing a first down away or shortening the distance with multiple downs still yet to convert. I’m really disappointed (not stopping) the run there specifically early. Although, I don't know that we got a whole lot better as the day went on. Obviously, you got to give the opponent credit. … But, there's a theme forming over the last few weeks. The opponent makes plays, and we make plays. Then at some point there's a jockeying back-and-forth for who makes the most on the given day, and we're just not making enough plays defensively, specifically on third down. You’re just asking for long drives, and you’re just asking for momentum. It was very, very, very difficult for us to turn the tide momentum wise.”

On the disappointment of the defensive line at this point of the season

“There's a theme forming over the last few weeks, it’s an inconsistent unit. Whose fault is that? It's all of ours, obviously, specifically me. It does come down to practice, but that's where you attack those issues. It comes down to the plan, making sure from a coaching staff standpoint, that you're asking them to do the things that put them in a situation where they can be more successful. It's also having the awareness of every extra hat you put in the box and it limits you from a coverage standpoint, and making sure that we're taking care of some young DBs and so that’s some of the issues that you're faced with defensively. In the end what we need to do is we've got to find ways to make more plays.”

On Key Lawrence’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter

“Why aren't we seeing that more? No one talks about it more, we’ve got to do maybe less talking and more actually doing. But where are those snaps? Where are those game tackles with guys stripping at the football? What are we doing wrong as a coaching staff to not convince guys of the impact of those plays because we keep seeing the impact once we do that. Why is that not happening more? And maybe the second guy in the pile might be the first guy, but just all the way down to the ground just dying for that football and the impact. You want to get off the field, make a play. In the end, that's where you’ve just got to hope that the opponent messes up. So thrilled that Key stepped up, if I think about the guys who have stepped up over recent weeks, that list is very short, which means we’ve got to do a better job of preparing the guys, but he’d be one of the guys at the top. He stepped up in his role as well as some guys who are out in the secondary, and made a huge play in that game today. We need to make more of them.”

On Lincoln giving the team off on Monday

“It's a question you gotta ask yourself, and anytime you do anything different on game week you may and maybe don't get the ultimate result that we want. But we didn't play the standard in which we expect ourselves to. Now, we go back and say ‘okay, what didn't work over the week of preparation?’ I think when you're on your eighth straight ballgame, you're trying to take advantage of the mental aspect of things and trying to your back a little bit from the physical standpoint. To get guys to the dance, (we’re) making sure guys are healthy as we go through this thing. Obviously, there's a huge responsibility on everybody's part and that means Tuesday and Wednesday in particular are critical for us from a preparation standpoint.”

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