On Jan. 9, FBS programs will be allowed to have a 10th assistant coach on staff. According to Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, the Ohio State Buckeyes are zeroing in on Washington State’s defensive coordinator, Alex Grinch, for that spot.
While the head defensive guy in Pullman, Wash., Grinch turned the Cougars program around. Prior to his arrival in 2015, Wazzu’s defense was outside the top-100 in scoring and yards per play. Since Grinch, the Cougars are in to the top-50 of both categories—ranking 28th in yards per play.
Washington State’s bowl game opponent is Michigan State. So, he’ll get some experience (as well as a glimpse) of what he could be up against if he makes the trek east. The Cougars battle the Spartans in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28—one day prior to Ohio State’s matchup with USC in the Cotton Bowl.
Molding talent is something Grinch can do. In 2016, defensive back Shalom Luani and safety Jalen Thompson earned All-Pac-12 and True Freshman All-American honors from ESPN, respectively. Luani would go on to be drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2017 NFL Draft.
If Urban Meyer can land Grinch, he would be bringing him close to home.
Grinch is an Ohio guy; he attended Mount Union, and was a part of three Division III national championship teams (1999-2001). In college, Grinch wasn’t used to losing, as Mount Union went 54-1 over the course of his career. Also, Grinch picked up All-American honors as a safety in his senior season (2001). And according to Barnett, Grinch grew up just outside of Columbus in Grove City.
Getting Grinch would be huge for OSU. Current defensive mastermind Greg Schiano was initially in the running for, and was thought to actually have, the Tennessee job. However, Jeremy Pruitt got the position. It seems like a matter of time before another big-time school comes after Schiano. Could securing Grinch be a preemptive way to ensure the Buckeyes will have a top defensive mind on the sideline, regardless of what happens?
Or better yet: Could this set up Grinch to be the next head coach at Ohio State, a la Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma?