Alex Grinch in Tune with Greg Schiano’s Plans for Buckeye Defense

Alex Grinch Greg Schiano Ohio State Football Buckeyes


How a college football defense performs in a given season hinges on a number of factors. Talent, depth, “system”, sheer luck, and many other tangibles and intangibles can spell success or failure.

One of the factors the Buckeyes are going to be dealing with this season is the meshing of the assistants, specifically defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and new co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.

As Ohio State showed in 2012 and 2013 with Luke Fickell and Everett Withers, if the defensive coordinators aren’t consistently on the same page, the opposing offenses are going to put a lot of points on the books.

When Withers moved on after the 2013 season, Urban Meyer hired Chris Ash to join Fickell as a co-defensive coordinator. Ash brought a more aggressive defense that Meyer wanted. It was also what the other defensive coaches wanted as well, including Fickell. That staff — which included anti-pacifists Kerry Coombs and Larry Johnson, were much more accustomed to dictating things, as opposed to having things dictated to them.

Now, the Buckeyes are once again adding a new pair of defensive coaches, but most specifically Grinch. As a co-defensive coordinator, he and Schiano will need to have a singular vision. Grinch believes he and Schiano have plenty in common when it comes to how they go about doing things and wanting things done.

“Very similar,” Grinch said. “You’re talking about — and maybe some people forget how successful coach Schiano is in a leadership role and as a head coach, and we’re talking about the ninth-ranked defense in the country a year ago. And so, to pick his brain and hear his coaching points, how specific he is in his teaching, again I think broad picture we’re very, very similar.”

There is no need for Grinch to reinvent Greg Schiano’s wheel, but that doesn’t mean he can’t perhaps add some racing stripes to the Buckeye defense along the way.

No matter what Alex Grinch ends up adding to the OSU defense, he will do it in conjunction with Schiano and the current players, and he doesn’t foresee any issues coming down the road.

“Any time you go into a new situation, minus when you’re maybe on a new staff or you’re in a new situation where you’re just flat out going to change everything, it’s my responsibility to learn the language, not the kids’ responsibility,” he said. “So that’s kind of been my charge, to make sure I’m singing the right song, as opposed to reverting back to old terminology. But big picture philosophically, very, very similar.”