Knowing Jeff, he’s a top-notch individual. I knew the offensive linemen I played with loved him as a coach. I thought he was a great addition to our entire team. He fit. —Former BYU QB John Beck
PROVO — Following two weeks of precious little news about BYU’s search for a new offensive coordinator, multiple sources broke the silence Wednesday night, reporting that Louisiana State offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is heading to Provo.
Grimes would be returning to BYU for a second tour of duty, this time as the offensive coordinator, as first reported by FootballScoop.com.
BYU associate athletic director Chad Lewis hailed the move on his Twitter account: “Coach Grimes is a great hire for BYU. He has toughness, experience, respect and smarts. Welcome back to Provo!”
No official word has come from the school.
Grimes, who has been the offensive line coach and run-game coordinator at LSU since 2014, would become an offensive coordinator for the first time at the collegiate level, replacing Ty Detmer, who was relieved of his duties last month.
Grimes was the offensive line coach at BYU from 2004-06 under former head coaches Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall.
Former BYU quarterback John Beck played for the staff that included Grimes.
“Knowing Jeff, he’s a top-notch individual. I knew the offensive linemen I played with loved him as a coach. I thought he was a great addition to our entire team. He fit,” Beck said. “He was my O-line coach for three years. I knew all the places Jeff went. Anytime you get a chance to be on the staffs that he was on in the capacity he was in, he’s very capable in what he does. For me, what he does is going to be expanded.”
Beck said the fact that Grimes would come to BYU indicates his strong desire to be a coordinator.
“For someone like him who had worked his way to an LSU, one of the biggest SEC schools, to leave there to come be the offensive coordinator at BYU, that tells me it was always in his plans to be an offensive coordinator,” Beck said. “He’s somebody that’s coming with an offense that he probably has taken bits and pieces of from everywhere he’s been. Now it’s his time to run what he’s always wanted to run.
"You don’t leave an LSU — he’s probably going to be paid less money. I would say for the last handful of years, his plan was to become an offensive coordinator somewhere. His input was always extremely valuable in the way he saw the run game at BYU. One of the things he did so well was the way he communicated on the sidelines with the players. Not every coach has the ability to communicate well. That’s one of the things I could feel on the sideline.”
Apparently, this isn’t the first time BYU has tried to lure Grimes back to Provo. According to The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Grimes received a hefty raise, and a contract extension, when BYU approached him about an open position on its staff in 2015. That was the year Kalani Sitake was hired as the head coach.
The Advocate reported that Grimes was in the final year of a contract worth $550,000 per year.
Last September, Grimes, 49, had a firsthand look at BYU when the Tigers blanked the Cougars in New Orleans, 27-0. Grimes reportedly will remain with LSU through its bowl game. The Tigers face Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl Jan. 1.
Does the fact Grimes has never been a play caller concern Beck?
“BYU’s bringing him in knowing this will be his first time. When you do that, you have to be willing to spend a little time on the learning curve. But what I will say is that Jeff probably has called some plays in the run game,” Beck said. “What usually happens on the sidelines is the coordinator goes to the O-line coach and asks what runs to be used in a situation. Jeff’s made play calls in the run game before. Whoever he brings in, whether it’s a quarterbacks coach or a passing game coordinator, he’s got to bring some people in around him that he feels comfortable with to help build that pass game.
“If he’s been planning on being a coordinator, I promise you he’s been preparing himself for coverages, schemes and concepts, all those things in the pass game,” Beck continued. “Jeff is not the type of person that would not prepare himself. He’s going to come in as best prepared as he can possibly be. The only thing he’s not going to have is the in-game experience and practice experience of actually coordinating the passing game. He’ll be prepared with what he wants to do. There will be a period of how he adjusts. That’s part of the process.”
When BYU announced that Detmer was being relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, the day after a season-ending victory at Hawaii, the rest of the offensive coaching staff remained under contract. The new offensive coordinator will be making decisions about who will be on the offensive staff next season.
According to FootballScoop, BYU is expected to add another coach to the staff in addition to Grimes.
Beck said that current BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark was on the staff in Provo when Grimes was here.
“He knows Steve but I don’t think he knows (wide receivers coach Ben) Cahoon or (running backs coach Reno) Mahe,” Beck said. “It might be a mix of some carryovers that he knows and people he can bring with him.”
Before joining the LSU staff, Grimes was the offensive line coach at Virginia Tech. Prior to that, he filled a similar position at Auburn from 2009-2012.
Grimes left BYU after the 2006 season for Colorado, where he was the assistant head coach, offensive line coach and run game coordinator in 2007-08.
Before arriving at BYU, he was a graduate assistant at Rice (1995) and Texas A&M (1996-97). He was the O-line coach at Hardin-Simmons (1998-99) and Boise State (2000). Grimes was also the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Arizona State (2001-03).