Oklahoma football: Sooners hire a new defensive assistant

Oklahoma football now has filled its two open coaching vacancies with the hiring of Jamar Cain to coach the outside linebackers.

Cain comes from Arizona State, where he served under head coach Herm Edwards during the 2019 season as the defensive line coach. Arizona State was 8-5 last season and defeated Florida State 21-14 in the Sun Bowl. A large part of that success was because of the improvement year over year in the Sun Devils run defense.

Before Cain arrived at Arizona State, the Sun Devils ranked 74th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (170.5). Last season Arizona allowed an average of 125.1 yards on the ground every game and ranked 24th among NCAA FBS teams.

Prior to taking the job at Arizona State, Cain coached the defensive line for two seasons at Fresno State and spent three seasons before that working with defensive ends at North Dakota State, a national powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The Sooners’ new defensive assistant replaces Ruffin McNeill, who has elected to step away from college coaching for the time being to take care of his elderly father.

Although Cain and OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch have never worked together on the same staff, they do have a connection through the University of Wyoming. Both Grinch and Cain were assistants at Wyoming under head coach Dave Christensen, but at different times.

Grinch was the defensive backs coach at Wyoming from 2009-11; Cain coached the defensive line at Wyoming in 2013 and eventually became interim defensive coordinator.

From Cain’s background, it is apparent that he has excellent experience working with multiple defensive positions. He also played defense collegiately, as a defensive lineman, beginning at Sacramento (California) Community College and for two seasons at New Mexico State.

This is what head coach Lincoln Riley had to say about his new hire in a press release issued by the OU athletic department:

“He’s a talented coach who gained tremendous experience early in his career. He’s a dynamic recruiter and has a great record of developing defensive talent at each of his stops.”

Sounds like a perfect fit to help recruit and build up Oklahoma’s talent and skill level on the defensive side of the ball

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