Lincoln Riley is in the midst of preparing for Saturday night’s Orange Bowl against No. 1 Alabama, his second College Football Playoff semifinal in as many years as a head coach. Should his Oklahoma team stun the Tide, the focus would then (obviously) move toward the national championship game against either Clemson or Notre Dame.
But once OU’s season ends, whether it be midnight on Saturday night or not until after the title game on Jan. 8, Riley’s focus will move toward the most pivotal decision in his young career as a head coach — hiring a new defensive coordinator.
When we first wrote about Riley’s defensive coordinator search earlier this month, the focus was centered on two candidates in Alabama co-defensive coordinator Pete Golding and Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
Since then, sources have indicated that Golding will not be the hire, turning the focus toward Grinch.
Golding publicly stated Thursday he has had no contact with Oklahoma.
Alabama co-DC Pete Golding says he has had no communication with Oklahoma. Just looking forward to the game. #Sooners
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) December 27, 2018
To reiterate: nothing is imminent at this time. Oklahoma plays Saturday, and Ohio State doesn’t play until Jan. 1. Oklahoma could play again a week after that if the Sooners win the Orange Bowl.
But if a meeting between he and Riley goes well, the job could be Grinch’s if he wants it.
Update: Bruce Feldman of the Athletic is now reporting Grinch is indeed the hire.
BREAKING: #OhioState’s Alex Grinch is expected to become the next defensive coordinator at #OU, per source. He was a semifinalist for the 2017 Broyles Award. Grinch worked wonders at WAZZU turning a defense ranked outside the top 100 into one ranked No. 34 by the time he left WSU
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 4, 2019
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.