Oklahoma Sooners’ assistant coaches receive extensions

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As each college football season comes to a close and another one dawns, it is not just the roster that is evaluated. Coaches are as well for the optimization of talent. The Oklahoma Sooners made a statement about their assistant coaches, granting many a contract extension at the Board of Regents meeting per Sooner Scoop staff writer Bob Przybylo.

Offensive line coach/co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh, inside receivers coach/co-offensive coordinator Cale Gundy, cornerbacks coach Roy Manning, running backs coach DeMarco Murray, inside linebackers coach Brian Odom, defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, outside linebackers/defensive ends Jamar Cain and director of sports performance Bennie Wylie all received extensions through 2023.

Defensive coordinator/safeties coach Alex Grinch and assistant head coach/passing game coordinator/outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons both received contract extensions through 2024.

In addition, Gundy was given a $20,000 raise and Simmons a $90,000 raise.

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Locking up Alex Grinch for several years is key for the program’s success. Grinch significantly improved the defense over the past couple of years in Norman. The unit went from being the laughingstock in the Big 12 to one of the best in college football. A testament to the energetic man with the headset. Grinch took over as defensive coordinator/safeties coach in 2019 and revamped the group. The defense improved from a total defense ranking of 114th in 2018, 38th in 2019, to 29th in the nation in 2020. That is telling. The squad also drastically improved in rush defense (2018-59th, 2019-32nd, 2020-9th), interceptions (2018-112th, 2019-100th, 2020-3rd), and sacks-per-game (2018-74th, 2019-34th, 2020-7th).

His “Speed D” is built on playing aggressive, downhill, high-effort football to generate turnovers. In his hybrid 3-4/4-2-5 system, the defensive line operates in a one-gap, quickly penetrating and attacking style at the line of scrimmage. The dominance from the front frees things up for the linebackers and nickel backs. On the back end, Grinch prioritizes stopping the run, moving guys around in the box to disrupt tempo. His developed unit has poised Oklahoma for their next national title.

On the opposite side of the ball, Bill Bedenbaugh has created the protective wall surrounding Oklahoma’s high-profile quarterbacks. He continuously produces elite offensive lineman entering the NFL draft and primes them for success at the next level. Whether it be the team’s bread and butter- the counter pull, pass protection, or run blocking, the guys in the trenches perform at a high level under Bedenbaugh’s tutelage. His O-Line has paved the way for two Heisman Trophy winners and one runner up. Without the big guys up front doing their jobs, Oklahoma’s explosive offensive attack would be nonexistent.

He led the 2018 Oklahoma offensive line that was recognized as the nation’s best with the reception of the Joe Moore Award. The Sooners led the country in total offense (570.3 yards-per-game), scoring offense (48.4 points-per-game), rushing yards-per-carry (6.6) and yards-per-play (FBS-record 8.6). Bedenbaugh was a finalist in 2017 and semifinalist in 2018 for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. He has established himself as one of the best talent producers in the country and Oklahoma took notice with a well-deserved contract extension.