No. 4 Oklahoma (2-0) defeated Western Carolina (0-2) 76-0 on Saturday night in Norman.
The Sooners’ defense completed a shutout and forced three turnovers while allowing only 178 yards. Here’s what defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after the game:
On improvement from Tulane performance
“I think probably in a lot of ways we played better when you reference the level of competition. But, also against that certain level of competition you should play a certain way, and I’ll rewind the clock to prepare over the course of the week. I thought it was better, regardless of the opponent. I don't believe as coaches we changed this week and the thing that changed over the course of the last five days or so was our players.
“We prepared with an intent, we were willing to do the hard stuff over the course of the week. You're not always, obviously, guaranteed to reap the benefits on Saturdays, but this time out we were. I think the key thing that we walk away from the game with is knowing that we got a lot of guys opportunities to play, some by design, some obviously as a result of the score.
"And that these are games that we didn't have last year, and that's something in these first two weeks, and maybe it almost bit us a week ago, and I gotta admit that we didn't have these non-conference games, obviously we had one week and then that leads into a bye and then you’re right in to the conference slate and if memory serves me that didn't go real well for us early.
“And so, I think, taking advantage of these two weeks before Nebraska, and we know what's coming, the level of competition rises, that's why you come to Oklahoma. But, to achieve the opportunity to get a lot of guys playing time over the last two weeks has been good.”
On the 2021 signing class exceeding expectations
“I think several of them are. I think that Latrell McCutchin is coming on, practicing better that way. Ethan Downs, we've been really excited about since day one. Danny Stutsman is another one and Clayton Smith played quite a bit of football already, which has been good. Again going back to that point, there were very few opportunities to get some of those freshmen a year ago, you mentioned those redshirt guys, you’re sitting there four or five weeks into the season and you haven't seen them play games.
“One of the lessons we learned over the COVID year was you get better, playing football, playing games, and obviously you get better practicing, there's no doubt about it. But, I think if you look across the country, those teams that didn't get a chance to play a lot of games rarely exceeded expectations. You get better playing the game, it's 85,000 people, it's different than practice. It just is."
On Perrion Winfrey’s growth this season
“I think the biggest thing, though, was that he was a disrupter toward last year, but didn't have a lot of production. I think he was disappointed by that. I think we expect more from him that way to not just get in the backfield, but to make plays. You know if you're senior we know it's a contract year for you. And when I say that bluntly, it's a contract year.
“There's no other way to describe it. And so, you have to make sure that production is shown, not just at times, or in moments, but a level of consistency that way. I think he's just becoming more of a consistent guy. As a junior college guy that comes in and out again during 2020, you don't get to work with them nearly as much as you otherwise would have.”