I think if the culture is right, then the guys will correct those things in the months leading up to fall practice. And they will. We’ve got good kids. —BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes
PROVO — Dissect the coachspeak “accountability” phrase and what does it look like?
It’s part self-policing, part taking do-overs, part getting yelled at, with a sprinkle of punishment. It’s the business of not letting things slide.
In BYU’s spring camp, just like at other football practices from coast to coast, this Cougar staff wants accountability and new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes broke down why that is so important after Monday’s session.
Four days after the offense enjoyed a heyday against the defense, it regressed a little on Monday with mistakes, as a challenged defense made more plays.
“There were still too many mental mistakes,” said Grimes. “Not getting off on the snap count, we had two false starts today. We had one fumble. We just want to eliminate those mistakes. If we don’t beat ourselves, we have the chance to play with anyone.”
Grimes said 15 practices during the spring is not enough. He’d take 15 more if allowed, but correcting mistakes and holding players accountable is at the center of what he’s trying to do. He calls it establishing a culture.
It’s a matter of eliminating negligence, staying focused and being answerable for mistakes.
“I think if the culture is right, then the guys will correct those things in the months leading up to fall practice," Grimes said. "And they will. We’ve got good kids. What we try to do in spring is set the standard, teach them what the acceptable level is. Once we do that, they know how to hold themselves to that acceptable standard.”
Veteran quarterback Tanner Mangum, who’s been through three offensive coordinators during his BYU career, said comparing them all is tough.
“But the coaches are holding us to a high standard," he said. "They’re not going to let us get away with lackadaisical effort or missing assignments or fundamentals. It’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. It’s making us come out every day with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and focus, and concentrate throughout the entirety of practice.”
Mangum said it could be doing a play over and over again until it is done right. “It is doing up-downs and conditioning and things like that, and letting us know by sometimes yelling and getting in our face, but it’s for a purpose. They know we’ve done it before and if we mess up on the basic things it’s a lack of focus.”
Micah Simon says he’s seen the strides the offense has made. It is capable of putting stress on a defense — if executed.
“It will be upon the players to take it upon themselves and take into the next few months,” said Simon, an emerging leader of the offense.
“If you have a dumb mistake that shouldn’t happen, you’re immediately held accountable. You’re taken out that play," he said. "You might have to do up-downs so you focus. We aren’t letting anything slide this year. It feels great, we know we can do great. It’s not just from the coaches but it’s from each other holding each other accountable.
"You can’t slack off any play. You have to be ready every play. You focus on the play at hand, not the one in the past or what is coming up. This goes the same for the film room, everything from techniques to what specifics are needed on that play.
"It’s all about pushing one another to another level,” said Simon.
And another level is definitely Grimey’s task at hand.