Auburn, Ala.--Auburn’s new offensive line coach, J.B. Grimes, says the players he will work with better be prepared to play fast, play hard and play tough as the Tigers re-install the offensive system they used when Gus Malzahn was Auburn’s offensive coordinator from 2009-2011.
Prior to working with Malzahn last season at Arkansas State, Grimes notes he had some experience playing with a fast-paced offense at the University of Kansas for two seasons, but it wasn’t the same high-tempo pace he found in Jonesboro when he teamed up with Malzahn for the 2012 season.
“It was not nearly as fast as we what we have been doing with Coach Malzahn,” the line coach points out. “We practice and play really fast.
“That is one of the things I was really impressed with in our first spring practice when we were there at Arkansas State--how fast and how these guys have got to be in great condition,” Grimes says. “You can’t have a bunch of fat offensive linemen out there running around and play in this system. You just can’t do it. They won’t last.”
Grimes says he didn’t inherit great talent at Arkansas State, but notes as the season progressed the offensive line group steadily progressed as the Red Wolves had a strong finish to the season on the way to winning the Sun Belt Championship.
Grimes is shown during the 2012 season.
Arkansas State passed the ball well, but was also very successful on the ground in 2012, something Auburn’s new offensive line coach says he likes.
“I have always believed you have got to keep a hard edge in the running game,” he says. “You have got to keep it physical.
“Football is a tough game played by tough people,” he adds. “We want to make sure we keep that if for nothing else for our offensive line, for our running backs and for your defense as well.”
The veteran coach, who is starting his 37th season in the business, and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee are the only two on-the-field assistants who made the move to Auburn from Malzahn’s staff at Arkansas State to Auburn.
The new Auburn staff finally got together as a group for the first this week. Grimes says he is impressed with the men he is working with and adds that he is also impressed with the campus and the city of Auburn, which he calls a “neat place.”
“The facilities are unbelievable,” he says. “The people here have been most welcoming. I have always admired Auburn from afar, even back when I was a young guy watching Pat Sullivan and those kind of guys play.
“I will be honest with you, I love the uniforms,” he adds. “They have great uniforms here. I have great admiration for what Auburn has been about all of these years.”
Grimes says Auburn reminds him of Blacksburg, Va., where he coached for five years on the staff at Virginia Tech. “I love those kind of communities,” he says. “I love the kind of togetherness that you have in communities like this.”
Commenting on the group of coaches he is working with, Grimes says, “Gus has gone and hired him a really good staff now,” noting that he has worked with Ellis Johnson, Charlie Harbison and Melvin Smith in addition to Lashlee and Malzahn. “I just have a lot of familiarity with these guys,” he says.
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