Wesley McGriff wants to be fast, aggressive and simple at Ole Miss
Wesley McGriff officially became Ole Miss’ new defensive coordinator Friday. While it has been frequently referred as his first time as a defensive coordinator, his resume shows that he held the time at Kentucky State from 1995-99. During that stint, he won the AFCA’s NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998.
Coaching an SEC West defense in 2017, however, will be a whole different animal. On a Friday conference call, McGriff described describe the new version of the LandShark defense in three words: fast, aggressive and simple.
“In order to be fast, aggressive and confident you have to be simple and that was realized before my eyes this past season with Coach Steele,” McGriff said. “It may have looked like we had multiple defenses and multiple fronts and coverages, but a lot of them were the same. We really did a tremendous job of installing concepts.
“When you take your journey throughout the profession and you see playbooks that are so thick that it will take you almost two semesters to get through them and you’re only playing 12 or 13 games in a season, it’s just entirely too much defense. Nowadays with offenses going multiple formations you can only have so many defenses you can install. So yes sir, we’re going to err on the side of being simple.”
The “simple” element of McGriff’s plan has head coach Hugh Freeze’s approval.
“His knowledge and his plan, I like it in that it’s simple,” Freeze said. “He’ll let our kids play, not think. Don’t give up the deep ball, don’t give up explosive plays and stop the run. He’s playing physical and fast and he’s got some every day drills that I think will improve us.”
“(I liked) the hunger, the energy, the desire to want to be with people that he fits with. He loved his time here obviously, but to get to where he wanted to go he felt like he had to move around. I just felt like when somebody really wants something, really wants to be somewhere, and really has a hunger to accomplish something, he obviously knows this is his big chance. We’ll be locked together in this endeavor.”
McGriff, who replaces the retired Dave Wommack, is remaining on the job as Auburn’s secondary coach through the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl game between the Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners.