Happy Friday, friends and fans!
Just when you thought the Oklahoma Sooners could coast into the meat of the offseason with no more worries about coaching changes, OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s name is suddenly making appearances on several short lists for the Washington State job. As the Cougars’ former DC, an established connection is there, but honestly, how likely is it that this even happens? I’ll go ahead and tell you right now — it is quite unlikely.
Where does WSU turn for its next coach? He’s guaranteed* to come from this list!— #NERDBALL STAN ACCOUNT (@CougCenter) January 9, 2020
*Not guaranteed at all but it’s a good list ok? https://t.co/9rDRQR7V88
To be clear, there are no reports of interest nor a serious offer from Wazzu’s side that would otherwise propel any further developments in motion. For now, it’s pure speculation and list forming. From an outsider’s perspective, it also appears that Grinch is satisfied with his current position at Oklahoma, and intends on completing his mission to restore the Sooners’ defense to its former glory. In spite of what happened in Atlanta, he’s off to a promising start.
Mike Leach left big shoes to fill in Pullman when he moved to Mississippi State, but I think it’s safe to say they won’t be filled by OU’s DC any time soon. The timing just doesn’t feel right, and if Grinch continues to improve the defense like he already has over the next year or two, there will almost surely be plenty of opportunities with his name on them should he decide he’s ready to become a head coach.
Now onto this week’s Friday edition of Hot Links! Bruce Feldman isn’t as high on Oklahoma in 2020 as I am, Sooner softball is picked first in the Big 12 preseason poll, Westbrook gets a phenomenal tribute video from the Thunder and more!
- Speaking of Alex Grinch, now that he is entering his second season at Oklahoma, he’s transitioning to phase two of his defensive rebuild process. The Sooners have to replace a bit of key experience throughout the starting 11, but through recruiting and development, the pieces are slowly but surely coming together, writes SoonerScoop’s Bob Przybylo.
- FOX college football analysts Joel Klatt, Matt Leinart, writer Bruce Feldman and coach Urban Meyer discuss Feldman’s too-early top 10 in 2020, and he sees Oklahoma as the No. 9 team going into next season. Personally (and I know I’m super biased), I think OU doesn’t belong anywhere near the bottom of the top 10. I’m feeling more of that 5-7 range. Also, Klatt mentioned Sam Ehlinger when he was talking about quality QBs, and I feel like that’s being a bit generous.
Who are the teams to watch in 2020? @BruceFeldmanCFB names his way too early Top 10 and @joelklatt, @MattLeinartQB and @CoachUrbanMeyer pick their teams to watch next season ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/cDexfH27M8— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) January 10, 2020
- Senior forward Kristian Doolittle is doing work on the court so far this season, and he’s statistically producing at a clip unlike any other major-conference player in D-I. As long as he continues to play at this high of a level, the Sooners should be able to compete in just about every game they’re in.
.@kristiandoolit1's rise to dominance continues.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 10, 2020
He is the major-conference player averaging at least 1️⃣7️⃣ points, 9️⃣ rebounds and 1️⃣.5️⃣ assists.
Doo and the crew are at Iowa State on Saturday night at 7 CT. pic.twitter.com/ilWmJRSqRP
- Speaking of Sooner hoops, OU moved up to No. 10 seed status in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology update. At 11-3 on the season and 2-0 in the deep Big 12, it’s no wonder Oklahoma is trending up.
- OU Softball returns less than a month from now, and this week the Big 12 preseason poll was released. Of course, Oklahoma was a near unanimous pick to win the league for a ninth consecutive season. Patty Gasso has built a finely tuned machine in Norman, and her peers and competitors have taken notice. Boomer!
- OU Insider’s Joey Helmer has footage of four-star WR signee Marvin Mims and four-star commit DE Reggie Grimes from their practices at last week’s Under Armour All-American event.
Around the Sports World
- Russell Westbrook is without question the most beloved player in Oklahoma City Thunder history, and even though he’s now with the Houston Rockets, there’s not an ounce of love lost for Zero. In case you missed it on Thursday night, check out this incredible tribute for Russ West as he made his return to OKC. I saw this live, but I didn’t think it would get me twice. Welp, I’m all blurry-eyed now. What a beautiful video.
Russ returns to OKC. Here's our tribute video he watched in the arena tonight. pic.twitter.com/tNsf3J8nGe— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 10, 2020
- It was a night full of wins for Thunder fans. As OKC was in the midst of pounding Houston, 113-92, former teammates Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant were on Twitter throwing verbal slaps at each other until Perk bodied KD with the cold hard truth. Hey, he only said what everybody already knew. Now any of you want to see a dead body?
That’s fine!!! You worked that hard and still had to go join a 73-9 team. Truth be told you don’t even feel like a real Champ, you have hard time sleeping at night huh knowing that you took the coward way out!!!— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 10, 2020
- The Texas Longhorns will now have to work in a new cornerbacks coach as Jason Washington has been let go. This news comes two days after safeties coach Craig Naivar was also dismissed. Including the loss of DC Todd Orlando, this Longhorns defense is going to have to adjust to some major changes this offseason.
Texas defensive backs coach Jason Washington will not be retained for the 2020 season, according to my sources. Rutgers cornerbacks coach Jay Valai is the leading candidate to replace Washington.— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) January 10, 2020
basically turning over everyone but the head coach. https://t.co/rvyXaI0QZZ— bomani (@bomani_jones) January 10, 2020
- The No. 6 Baylor Lady Bears destroyed No. 1 UConn in Hartford, 74-58, putting an end to a 98-game home winning streak for the Huskies. Wow, I did not see this one coming.
Stick to Sports!
- Nick Offerman (Parks & Rec) and Sonoya Mizuno (Crazy Rich Asians) star in ‘Devs’ — an upcoming miniseries for FX on Hulu. Written and directed by Alex Garland, who’s known for sci-fi thrillers like Annihilation and Ex Machina, “Devs follows the story of a young software engineer who investigates the secretive development division of her employer which she believes is behind her boyfriend’s murder.” The season one premier is set to stream on Mar. 5.
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