After a very disappointing season last year, the BYU football team looks to turn things around as they prepare to take on Arizona on Sept. 1 to open the college football season.
After one of the worst offensive years in program history, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake made a bold move by firing Ty Detmer — the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner — and replaced him with former LSU offensive line coach and running game coordinator Jeff Grimes.
Now the question remains, can Grimes save Cougar fans from last year’s stunning debacle and misery by putting together a great offense and sending players to the NFL?
I believe so and here’s why.
Grimes is arguably one of the best offensive line coaches in all of college football. The fact that BYU landed him should give Cougar fans a lot of hope going into the season.
While Detmer was a big name and provided a lot of hype when he was hired, the fact that he didn’t have coaching experience at the NCAA level showed. Although an amazing player, it doesn’t always translate to the coaching level. Add the fact that Grimes has been in the college football business for two decades — with a number of top teams — should help alleviate any growing pains early on.
Former BYU standout Ray Feinga, who played three years in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, was excited to see Grimes come back to the program and believes he has what it takes to turn the Cougars around.
“I’m really pumped up and excited for the program to have Jeff back,” said Feinga. “He’s really a motivator. When he was with us he was really into technique. Most times a coach has one or the other, but he has the whole package. He knows the game and the game plan and he is really smart. His football IQ is off the charts.”
The fact that Grimes has already coached before in Provo should help calm the nerves of anxious Cougar fans. During his short time at BYU under Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall, Grimes helped turn the football program around. The year he left for Colorado before stops at Auburn and LSU, the Cougars had a balanced offensive attack which helped them finish the 2006-07 season with an 11-2 record, and finish ranked No. 14 in the country.
It seems no matter where he goes, Grimes continues to leave places better than he found them. Before he was hired at LSU, the Tigers — with all of their 4 and 5-star recruits — had just two offensive lineman drafted over a seven-year period.
However, since his time at LSU, Grimes has seen five players drafted and would have had a sixth if La’el Collins didn’t drop out of the draft do to a police investigation that resulted in no charges. Collins was a projected first-round pick. The fact that he almost tripled the number of offensive lineman drafted in nearly half the time, speaks volumes about his coaching ability.
BYU got them a hell of a Coach in getting @coachgrimey !
— KJ Malone (@Kj63Kj) December 15, 2017
This past season, LSU’s Garrett Brumfield and Toby Weathersby were draft eligible and requested evaluation grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. Will Clapp was also a finalist for the Rimington Award which is given to the best center in college football. Clapp was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFL Draft.
While the talent level is a bit different at BYU, especially coming from the likes of Auburn and LSU, Grimes has made it clear that it’s not going to be a problem saying; “We have plenty of talent right here.” The fact that he took the job should give Cougar fans plenty of optimism and confidence in 2018.
After fans experienced three consecutive losing seasons under the Crowton era, Grimes came in and helped turn the Cougar football program around. Now Grimes looks to put the Cougars back into the national spotlight as well as sending a number of players to the NFL.