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    Alex Grinch lauds Isaiah Thomas, defensive line.

    Alex Grinch lauds Isaiah Thomas, defensive line, third down success ahead of Sooners at Texas Tech



    Alex Grinch’s Speed D played its most complete game of 2020 against TCU Saturday thanks to the efforts of defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas and crew and staunch third down coverage.

    In a Wednesday press conference, Grinch was high on Thomas, his defensive line and Speed D’s minimal third down allowances as the Sooners (3-2, 2-2 Big 12) prepare to face a Texas Tech offense that ranks No. 28 in the country in third down conversion percentage. The Red Raiders (2-3, 1-3 Big 12) are also No. 31 in the nation in total offense, producing 430.8 yards per game.

    Here’s what Grinch had to say ahead of OU’s road matchup against a potent offense in Lubbock:

    Isaiah Thomas’ emergence

    The redshirt junior Thomas has been a pleasant surprise for the Sooners thus far in 2020, amassing 13 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hits.

    Thomas has already played considerably more crucial snaps in 2020 than he did last season and he’s shown versatility playing on the interior line and outside. Grinch said Wednesday Thomas has been the brightest star for Speed D this season following an adjustment in mindset.

    “I think it's changed for him, because I think obviously, you look up and you're the old guy. You're kind of a rotational guy, you play some snaps, and he had some effort plays for us a year ago, and works hard and all those things, and found himself probably in that 10 to 15 snap range a game. ... And then (he) had an opportunity just with some attrition, and some of the things we've already mentioned in terms of opportunity presented itself in fall camp to get more reps. And also the ability just as a worker, a team guy, the opportunity to play a couple different spots. And I think he's gained confidence from that, both on the interior of the defensive line and on the edge. And what you've seen is him make an impact kind of wherever we put him.

    “All he does is do exactly what he's being coached to do, and does it to the best of his ability as hard as he can possibly do it. It's amazing how guys have a tendency to be productive when those things take place. And so (he’s) a leader by example, but again, he's certainly a dynamic guy for us up front and has been probably the MVP of the defense up until this point.”

    Defensive line’s improvement

    Overall, OU’s defensive line led by Thomas has been much better than expected this season despite the absence of 2019 sack leader Jalen Redmond (opt-out) and top edge rusher Ronnie Perkins (suspension).

    Wednesday, Grinch credited outside linebackers and defensive ends coach Jamar Cain and defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux with putting the right pieces in the right places. He also praised the players for buying in and holding up to their end of expectations.

    "It's one of those things, as you looked at it, we felt like we had a pretty good combination of athleticism with size. You didn't have the experience that we lost from a year ago, and then you mentioned some of those names that we expected to have and so obviously not available for us. And so then, it certainly creates some interesting conversations as a defensive staff saying, ‘OK, how can we manipulate the guys that are available ... And that's Coach Cain, that's Coach Thibodeaux, that's myself, the whole defensive staff having conversations about ‘OK, well how can we not not force feed certain individuals into roles that they're otherwise not gonna be successful at, but finding the best mix of guys.’

    “(We) obviously added a couple junior college guys that we've talked about this year in (Joshua) Ellison and Perrion (Winfrey) as immediate impact guys, because we did lose so much in our front. And then the responsibility part is obviously (Coach Thibodeaux) coaching them up to a level that they could produce for us, and them doing their part attached to that. So no, (I’ve) been pleased, and I still think it's one of those things that we haven't seen our best yet in our defensive front. ... There's still some plays that we're leaving on the field. We’re not going to make them all, but I think it's something that is going to be critical to our success over the last half of this year, specifically this weekend.”

    Third down conversion percentage

    Oklahoma currently ranks No. 12 in the nation in third down conversion percentage on defense. Speed D has stuffed 44 of 63 third down conversion attempts by opposing offenses, holding to foes to just over a 30 percent success rate.

    Grinch said his unit has entered those situations with a plan and executed its plan to the best of its ability this season, creating better opportunities for stops or turnovers.




    http://www.oudaily.com/sports/ou-foo...28ef25658.html

    #2
    He's a Bad Boy

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      #3
      Imagine that DL with Redman and Perkins

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        #4
        the dline has been the brightest spot for me so far this year. we get quite a bit pressure, more than what I thought we would and solid in the run game.

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          #5
          Originally posted by smalls View Post
          the dline has been the brightest spot for me so far this year. we get quite a bit pressure, more than what I thought we would and solid in the run game.
          Makes me wonder why we were running drop eight coverage against KSU. The three DL have been pretty good but KSU just put another blocker in to make a 6-on-3 advantage, waited for the DBs to drift back and ate us up with their screen pass game. It’d be interesting to see in a rematch scenario what Grinch would’ve called differently.

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            #6
            Originally posted by 49cent View Post

            Makes me wonder why we were running drop eight coverage against KSU. The three DL have been pretty good but KSU just put another blocker in to make a 6-on-3 advantage, waited for the DBs to drift back and ate us up with their screen pass game. It’d be interesting to see in a rematch scenario what Grinch would’ve called differently.
            I agree. I almost put that in my post. was going to say they look good as long as they are not in a 3 man front but that's not up to them.

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              #7
              Originally posted by 49cent View Post

              Makes me wonder why we were running drop eight coverage against KSU. The three DL have been pretty good but KSU just put another blocker in to make a 6-on-3 advantage, waited for the DBs to drift back and ate us up with their screen pass game. It’d be interesting to see in a rematch scenario what Grinch would’ve called differently.
              In defense of the coaches, with this group (missing Redmond and Perkins) I imagine that it took them a bit to realize exactly what they had up front. And the players themselves have really gotten better over the course of the season.

              As you suggest, if we play them again I bet we see a different game plan.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ruprecht View Post

                In defense of the coaches, with this group (missing Redmond and Perkins) I imagine that it took them a bit to realize exactly what they had up front. And the players themselves have really gotten better over the course of the season.

                As you suggest, if we play them again I bet we see a different game plan.
                We had a few lightbulb moments where Grinch brought heat on the KSU QB and he looked like any other run of the mill Purple Kansas QB. It’s like we just took our foot off the gas and thought we could keep scoring on KSU as long as we made them sustain time-consuming drives.

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                  #9
                  This is a good feeling. We have some high quality depth in the young guys, and we have experienced, talented guys we can still add. What a great place to be in.

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                    #10
                    I wished that he wouldn't have extolled their greatness so soon. Karma is a bitch, as we've seen.

                    That 4th and 2 they scored on in the second looked like coaching/alignment problems. Maybe he should comment on fixing this, too.

                    or tackling
                    Last edited by ab5sr; 10-30-2020, 09:20 AM.

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