Grimes discusses recruiting strategy and his OL

Jeff Grimes talked about his recruiting strategies as well as his offensive linemen on Monday.

Jeff Grimes

On recruiting: “Nowadays, recruiting has sped up so much…I’m a guy who works a whole lot better when I can focus on one thing at a time.  So I’m a much better recruiter in the spring and the summer than I am during the season.  I’m a lot better coach if I don’t have to worry with a lot of recruiting.  I’m not a real big multi-tasker, but you have to to a certain extent.  I like to be in a position where we can get all our guys, or most of our guys, committed before we get to the season.  And obviously you have to hang on to them until Signing Day because you never know what can happen, someone could come in and try to steal them from you.  But I’m really happy this offseason in terms of the progress that we’ve made in recruiting.  It was a good first step.”

On moving towards the north for offensive line recruiting: “What I really tried to do this spring is locate the guys who are within a reasonable drive.  If you get much beyond a five, six, eight, nine hour drive…that’s a bit of a stretch when a lot of other good schools are probably closer.  But anybody who is within a reasonable day’s drive, if he’s good enough to play for us, I’m going to evaluate those guys and try to recruit them.  Recruiting New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, all the states that are fairly close to us, it makes a lot of sense.  I’m going to try to recruit the best guys I can wherever they are.”

On recruiting nationally at Auburn: “What happened at Auburn is after the National Championship, we knew we were going to sign a big class, and we got a little bit more exposure obviously and more interest from kids, so we made a concerted effort to recruit a little bit more nationally.  We signed seven offensive linemen in that class.  If you aren’t trying to sign that many then you don’t have to go as far.  Part of it depends on how many guys you are trying to sign in a given class.”

On what he tries to get his players to focus on in the offseason: “Well, our strength coaches do a great job trying to get them stronger, trying to get their conditioning right, and all that kind of stuff.  Each guys has specific things that I try to address.  [For example] you really need to work on your upper body strength, or you really need to work on your lower body strength, you need to focus on your quickness, you need to focus on your flexibility, gain 10 pounds, lose 15 pounds, whatever the case may be.  We can’t work with them during the summer, so they have to do all of that stuff on their own.  We just try to tell them the things that they need to do, and give them a general blueprint.  What you really need is for the older guys to be in a position to help the younger guys.  Hopefully that happened to a certain extent this summer.”

On Brent Benedict dropping weight, and whether Grimes felt he had to get better with lateral movement: “Yeah, I think he recognized that his strength is not an issue.  He’s a guy that has great strength, great weight room numbers.  What a lot of people don’t recognize about the offensive line is that they talk all the time about strength and straight speed, but it’s so much lateral movement, change of direction, body control and balance, that’s so much part of the game because typically the guys you are trying to block are quicker and more athletic than you are.  You’ve got to balance that strength and size and mass with the right amount of lateral movement, redirection and flexibility, and quickness.”

On how set he is with his lineup: “I’m not settled at all, and I really like it that way.  I told them in our first meeting that nobody has a position, nobody has earned anything yet, and everybody still has an opportunity to win a job.  I don’t necessarily have a specific deadline that we have to have our starting unit by the end of week two or three or whatever.  I’m just going to let it play itself out until the best five prove that to us.”

On whether he has a specific type of skillset that he prefers: “Well, for what we’re going to do we need guys that are athletes at every position.  We don’t want guys who are 335 and can knock everybody off the ball, but who can’t move laterally, can’t move their feet, can’t pass block, can’t get out on the screens, can’t block DB’s on the perimeter.  We need guys who are athletes.  I look for that with all of them.  Obviously each position has a little bit different skillset in terms of the techniques they have to utilize, but they’ve all got to be athletes.  That’s the biggest thing.”

On whether he feels like he has all his guys in their long-term spots, such as Mark Shuman at guard: “No, that will probably change every day to some extent.  There will be some guys changing positions.  One guy might go with the second group today, and he might go with the first group tomorrow.  That will alternate, there will be a little bit of musical chairs going on.”

On when he wants to get that lineup somewhat set: “Not necessarily a specific date.  Obviously the sooner that happens, the better in terms of continuity of the group.  But, there’s a bit of a misconception with that, I think, because you’re probably not going to go the whole season with just five guys playing together.  So I think there’s a lot of benefit to guys sliding in and playing with the first group who haven’t been as much, because that’s going to happen during the season.  It may happen in the third quarter of the Alabama game, it may happen in the second quarter against UVA, that kind of stuff is going to happen throughout the season, so you’ve got to have that kind of mixing and matching and guys getting comfortable with each other.”

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  1. I love that he is willing to get different players in the mix and not just get the same 5 guys on the field. Always thought we do a poor job of getting our backups in and would love to see more “backups” in as that in the long run is how you build a great line.

  2. Appears to coach to reality of the game. He does not have a starting O line per say, but he is training the OL to be inter changeable. I like it.

    1. In Grimes We Trust! When he succeeds, the team succeeds.

      Now – don’t we have any other pictures of the guy? We’ve seen this one more than George on the dollar.

      1. I thought the same thing. Is the center pointing to the wrong guy, and Grimes wants him picking up someone else.? I have seen the picture so much I am starting to read things into it that probably don’t exists.

        1. In my head, the caption for that picture goes like this: “No, not him! Go tackle that guy right over there…the one sitting in front of that computer screen.”

  3. Finally VT got a OL Coach ! Just get out of his way and let him Coach , And Yes, I think he’s here for the long haul. Thanks for the good interview and article.

  4. This guy just exudes competence. I like reading his interviews because he knows what he wants to do and he states it clearly.

    1. He is truly the great communicator, with no disrespect intended for Ronald Reagan, haha!

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