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Lang's World: Sending my (un)official application for Oklahoma's defensive coordinator vacancy

by Lang Whitaker | Grizz Gaming GM

MEMPHIS – As much as I’ve enjoyed my time here at Grind City Media, I feel like honesty is the best policy, and that being said, I’d like to confirm that the rumors are, in fact, true.

I have my eye on another job. I hope The Powers That Be here in Memphis will not mind my public acknowledgement that I am interested in moving on, and there’s a job out there that just opened up which I strongly believe would be a perfect fit for my skillset.

Now, I will admit right away that I do not have much background as a college football coach. In fact, probably my most applicable experience is in playing the dynasty mode of NCAA Football 14 video game, which I feel provides a pretty accurate simulation of the total college football experience. And not to brag, but I did win several virtual titles over the years.

I would like to throw my hat in the ring to be the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma. If you missed it, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley dismissed Sooners defensive coordinator Mark Stoops over the weekend, not long after the Sooners gave up 48 points to the Texas Longhorns. This after giving up 33 points the week before against Baylor, and 21 the week before that to Army and 27 the week before that against Iowa State.

And this isn’t anything new. Last season, the Sooners were eliminated from the college football playoffs after giving up 54 points (in double overtime) against Georgia in the Rose Bowl. They also had games last season where they gave up 52, 41, 35 and 31 points, and somehow still managed to win.

It’s not like they’re rolling paper cutouts of defenders out there. Oklahoma consistently brings in top-ranked recruiting classes, players who are athletic and fast and should be able to provide at least some sort of token defensive pressure to opposing offenses. They just haven’t been able to slow anyone down.

At the same time, it’s not like Oklahoma plays a bunch of bad offensive teams. To the contrary, it seems like most of the teams they play are among the country’s most explosive offensive teams. Nobody is expecting OU to throw shutouts week after week. But can’t they just keep it a bit more manageable?

So the more I thought about it, maybe looking to apply pressure is the wrong way to go about fixing Oklahoma’s defense. What if, instead of trying to blitz and attack, you just played the most basic defense possible. I’m calling upon my NCAA 14 days here, but whenever I play someone who can light up the scoreboard, I focus on just trying to slow them down as much as possible. I won’t stop them, I know. But maybe I can just make drives last as long as possible and limit them to a few more field goals than they want to kick. I’ll run a Cover 3 and try to keep offensive players in front of me (OK, not an 8-yard cushion) and let my offense outscore teams.

This is perhaps not a groundbreaking strategy, but my OU defense literally could not be worse than what has been in place for the Sooners all season, a sieve that has allowed the opponent to score 100-percent of the time they’ve been in the red zone this season.

Oklahoma announced some temporary replacements today, which doesn’t mean my chances are over just yet. Coach Riley, I’d love to hear from you. But if not, well, I get it. I’ll just be over here racking up titles in NCAA 14.


This has nothing to do with college football, but I wanted to put this out there: My son had his fall break from school last weekend, which coincided with an invite for me to speak at a conference in San Francisco, so we made it a family trip to Cali.

And as great as it was to spend a few days in the Bay, we had an incredible time at Yosemite National Park.

It is mind-bogglingly beautiful and huge, and every time you turn around, you get another look at a mountain or cliff or waterfall or valley and it’s all just breathtaking. And the best part is you can do it for cheap – it’s $35 for a seven-day pass into the park, and then you can camp out if you want, or drop some serious coin and stay in the Majestic Yosemite Lodge.

If you, like me, have been paying taxes your entire life, you’ve basically been paying to keep these parks clean and in shape. So take advantage of them while you can.


Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has been trotting out all kinds of trick plays the last few years, and this weekend he pulled out all the stops on a fourth-down possession. This is sort of a spiritual successor to Mike Leach’s crazy Washington State formation earlier in the season. But on this one the center hikes the ball to what looks like a tight end, who then spins and runs an end around. I had to watch it a few times to figure out exactly what was happening...


Georgia Tech beat the heck out of Louisville this weekend, 66-31. Many Atlanta football fans have a deep-seated hatred for Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, dating way back to when he ditched the Falcons.

But more than that, there is apparently a long-running feud between Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and Louisville defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder over the efficacy of the triple-option. This article from SB Nation does a terrific job of detailing all the previous shade, and there’s plenty of it, including a phone call where Johnson said he wanted to “beat the hell” out of VanGorder.

Well, he did this weekend. To me, the best part of the whole thing is that Georgia Tech scored 66 points with just 12(!) passing yards. And as a Falcons fan, the other satisfying part of this whole thing is that Petrino took another L.


If you don’t think the balance of power in college football still rests in the SEC, check this out…


I had to blow this crazy play up and watch it on full screen to really figure out what happened, and I’m still not entirely sure what happened. The dude on Cal went from making a brilliant play to stop a score to making a play that helped Arizona score.


Hit of the week comes from this Clemson wide receiver, who makes the big catch in the end zone and then lays out the defenseless safety. Wait, what?


Move of the week goes to Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, who is out there breaking ankles...


We’ve been putting out a Grind City Media pick’em poll each week, which usually goes out on the GCM Twitter account late in the week. Last week’s games included a few doozies, and several of us -- ahem, me -- finished under .500 for the weekend.


Before we announce this week’s picks, I thought I’d drop the updated overall standings here as we head into Week 7...

  1. Devin Walker -- 41-18
  2. Chris Vernon -- 40-19
  3. Jon Roser -- 39-20
  4. Lang Whitaker -- 39-20
  5. Eric Hasseltine -- 38-21
  6. Michael Wallace -- 37-22
  7. Alexis Morgan -- 29-30

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Lang Whitaker are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.


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