Washington State Cougars defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has been steadfastly silent as his name has surfaced in connection with a job with the Ohio State Buckeyes, but today he was finally made available to the media following the Cougs’ practice in advance of the Holiday Bowl.
His answers won’t inspire confidence that he’ll still be on the WSU coaching staff on Friday.
After starting off the session with a couple of questions about the game, the first question related to his job status came from the Spokesman-Review’s Theo Lawson about two minutes into the interview: “Talk about distractions. Obviously, during the offseason, can be coaching changes, reports of coaches leaving. Your name has been linked to the Ohio State job. How have you handled that with the team and personally, too?”
Grinch: “The thing that people don’t realize outside the program is we spend a year’s time to prepare for the 2017 football season, so to ask these players and these coaches and myself, you know, to fast forward through a chance to win a 10th football game — that hasn’t been done in 15 years at Washington State, I believe, don’t quote me, but I believe it’s four times in the history of the school — um, you know, it, uh, um ... anything you devote your life to over a year’s time you’d really like to focus on that time in particular and the next one being 48 hours from now, so, uh no — no distraction. There’s too much going into this one to take away from it.”
After a few more questions about the game, KREM’s Darnay Tripp followed up, “Getting back to what Theo asked earlier, the unfortunate side of it is those coaching rumors do happen this time of the year as you are preparing for this game. And there were reports of you going to Columbus. Has that been the case, and how do you handle that when you are trying to wear both hats?”
Grinch: “What you do is you focus on the guys you’ve just spent three years with, guys you’ve just spent you know, going back to — people aren’t in the indoor, in the bubble at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in January, they’re not at Midnight Maneuvers, they’re not at spring football, they’re not hanging out with us in Lewiston, Idaho, for a fall camp, or for 12 weeks and the adversity that comes with that. So, it’s very difficult from a coaching standpoint to just ignore those things. Again, especially when you put yourself in a position to play in a major bowl game, nine wins, a chance to win a 10th, which I believe puts us at 27 wins over the last three years, so, again, from a distraction standpoint, all the other stuff takes place after your season.”
Lawson: “Do you expect to be back next season?”
Grinch: “Thanks guys.” [Walks away]
Yep. He gone.