The wait for a defensive coordinator at Washington State looks like it's over after a month and a half as FootballScoop.com is reporting WSU is hiring Missouri safeties coach Alex Grinch as its defensive coordinator.
WSU has not issued an official confirmation, but FoxSports.com's Bruce Feldman said Mike Leach confirmed the hire.
Grinch has spent the last three seasons at Mizzou coaching safeties and spent the seven seasons before that coaching the secondary at Wyoming and New Hampshire in addition to be a recruiting coordinator during his time with the Wildcats. If you were hoping for a "young and hungry" guy, he certainly fits the mold: he's in his mid-30s and FootballScoop reports he's a great recruiter.
There's a catch though: Grinch has never been a defensive coordinator before. We aren't sure whether Grinch prefers a 4-3, a 3-4, etc. but I'm sure it's something that will be addressed pretty early on. What he'll do defensively is a complete unknown.
This is certainly in sharp contrast to the other guys who were presumed to be targets, such as Manny Diaz and Clancy Pendergast, who has about as much experience as you could ask for. Grinch has the reputation of being a great recruiter and he seems to be a good safeties/secondary coach, something I'm sure played well with Leach, who is well aware of the pile of young defensive backs on his roster.
Grinch's inexperience certainly doesn't mean he can't be successful, and we probably won't be able to pass judgement on that until at least about a third of the way through next season. That's what's leaving me uneasy. This is a really important year for WSU to take a step forward and entrusting the defense to someone who has zero experience running one is scary.
But Grinch gets a defense that has some talent up front, a fairly deep linebacking core and a defensive secondary that's begging for a really good coach which he seems to be. We'll have to do a lot of waiting and seeing on Grinch but fingers crossed he's everything Mike Leach wants him to be.