New DC Alex Grinch blew away WSU in interview

YOU HAVE SPLASH HIRES, and then you have hires that become splashes. Alex Grinch might well end up belonging to the latter group, as a source with knowledge of the situation tells Cougfan.com that Grinch knocked the socks off of Washington State during the interview process.

New WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who comes to Pullman after three seasons as Missouri’s safeties coach, was “far and away as the most impressive interview” of the candidates Washington State spoke with, the source told Cougfan.com.

Grinch, known around coaching circles as a tireless recruiter, hit all the right notes during the interview process with his plan for the WSU defense, the source said. His detailed vision of an aggressive, attacking defense fit to a tee what Mike Leach was looking for.

Missouri ran a 4-3 base and because they had such good d-ends this past season, they didn’t need to dial up a bunch of pressures and blitz packages. But Grinch, like Mike Leach, is more of a multiple front guy (with an emphasis on an odd-number front) who wants to bring pressure, pressure, pressure.

That may technically translate to a 3-4 base at Washington State but it figures to be a blitz-heavy scheme and perhaps with a good-sized dose of a 52 look -- five linemen (with some DE/LB types on the edge) and two traditional linebackers back in the box.

Grinch, 34, is said to be an ultra high-energy coach -- and that's good because he will have long hours of work ahead of him to get the Cougs' defense turned around. While WSU’s defense certainly showed flashes this past season, the bottom line is they ranked No. 97 nationally and ninth in the Pac-12 in total defense. Two other key stats show the job that lies ahead: WSU ranked 10th in the conference in red-zone defense and last in the Pac-12 with a minus-17 turnover margin. Missouri's defense as a whole last year picked off 12 passes and had a plus-23 turnover margin.

Speaking of turnover margin, it is thought Grinch will likely coach the secondary – in addition to his time at Missouri coaching the safeties he spent seven combined seasons coaching the secondaries at Wyoming and New Hampshire.

While the focus on the back end will be on generating turnovers, the overarching goals on defense emphasizing getting off the field on third down and being a fundamentally sound, sure-tackling unit, the source said..

"He's a stud. One of the best teachers I've been around," his former boss at New Hampshire, Chip Kelly, now the Philadelphia Eagles coach. told Fox.com's Bruce Feldman on Wednesday.

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