Two-Minute Drill: Updates from OSU Assistant Alex Grinch

Alex Grinch


COLUMBUS — New Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Alex Grinch met with reporters for the first time. He provided updates on himself, his players, and his first couple of months as a Buckeye coach. Here are the highlights.

+ He had success at Washington State, which opened up other opportunities. Then you add up those pluses and minuses of other opportunities, but you’re never thinking about the next job, only the job you’re doing at the time. When you have an opportunity to take a phone call from Ohio State, “you have to have your antennas up.” There is the elite of the elite on this campus.

+ He prefers to have a defense that can mix things up between personnel. At Washington State he was 60/40 being in a 4-man front.

+ Grinch is a Mt. Union alum and says he is the least successful Mt. Union player in the coaching profession. Mt. Union taught him about elite football and preparing and competing. “You get your undergrad in coaching at a place like that.”

+ Being a Grove City native, “Ohio is home.” His wife is from Alliance. They haven’t lived in the state in 16 or 17 years. “We vacation in Ohio.” He grew up as a Buckeye fan. His grandparents were season ticket holders. He was born at the OSU hospital.

+ “My role here is to help in any way I can in terms of adding value to the defensive side of the ball and recruiting.” Whatever titles you’re given, your job is to exceed the expectations of the head coach.

+ Grinch has used a brand of football that is aggressive and downhill. Try to get as many guys in the backfield as you can. That style of play is evident here at Ohio State. There are more similarities than differences. The best defenses in the country get into the backfield and it’s from style of play, being fast and aggressive.

+ Safeties are meeting and they have rehearsed calls and things of that nature, but there’s no football out there yet. That starts next week. The safety room is an impressive group of guys. The film suggests that Jordan Fuller can be an elite defender this year.

+ He learned attention to detail from Mt. Union and discipline in “absolutely everything that you do.”

+ Grinch has an opportunity to learn under two coaches like Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano, which just doesn’t happen. “It’s absolutely thrilling.” He is looking forward to learning from everyone on the staff. This is an elite group of coaches. He’s been around long enough to know that this doesn’t happen often.

+ Grinch took the role knowing that Greg Schiano may not be back.

+ The initial phone call to recruits gets returned a lot more at Ohio State. You have a great brand to sell, but you also have to produce.

+ Grinch will be working with the safeties. He has a very similar philosophy with Greg Schiano on the secondary. Schiano is very specific in his teaching, which is similar to Grinch’s approach. “It’s my responsibility to learn the language, not the kids’ responsibility.”

+ What is it like to work under Urban Meyer? There is an attention to detail and discipline here as well. There is a sense of urgency and intensity that he has only felt as a part of new staffs in the past. There is no sense of this is just another year or this is just another month. There is always a high bar to reach. There is a 1000% urgency to improve every day. “You can feel it.”

+ What did he bring to Washington State? At a program like that, you have to demand effort. Nobody has a monopoly on effort. You may or may not have as much talent, but if you have a group of guys with fanatical effort, you can accomplish a lot. You have to be adaptable as well, and make sure what you’re doing is repeatable.

+ What he has learned from being at different places is that there is a lot of different ways to do things. The leader has a foundation or philosophy, and when it works, things are good. He has been fortunate to be around strong leadership throughout his career.

+ There is no comparison between Mike Leach and Urban Meyer in terms of the day to day, “I’ll leave it there.” There are multiple ways to do things, and Leach and Meyer are proof of that. He is indebted to Leach because he has been good to him over the years. He hired him as a defensive coordinator, which takes a lot of faith.

+ Grinch wasn’t naive enough to dream of coaching at Ohio State. Number one, you just want to get a job. You want to climb the ladder wherever it leads. “The dreams kind of go away once you realize how hard this business is.”

+ Being from the area should translate to recruiting, but “it’s tough to gauge that.” There’s a good product here to sell, so it does a lot of the work, and has done very well without him.