Provo • How prepared was new BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes in his introductory news conference Saturday morning at LaVell Edwards Stadium?
Clean shaven and looking almost presidential in a dark suit and light blue dress shirt, Grimes answered most of the questions reporters had before they even had a chance to ask them.
He addressed early in his presentation the type of offense he will run at BYU, while not providing anything specific. As he draws upon 25 years in the coaching business, it will be creative and filled with variety, while fitting the personnel in place, he said.
“We will put together the best system for BYU,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. … I believe in being creative and giving the defense a lot to look at. I believe in a lot of variety. I believe in balance.”
Having never been an official play-caller, he quickly moved to relieve fears by saying he has been called upon by a coordinator for a play that will work “in conference championship games or national championship games,” alluding to his time as an offensive line coach with Auburn when the Tigers won the national championship in 2010.
“I’ve been in plenty of situations where it was, ‘Hey Grimey, give me a call.’ I’ve done that everywhere I’ve been,” he said.
In introducing Grimes to the media, coach Kalani Sitake said the former BYU offensive line coach (2004 to 2006) gets the most out of his players, both on and off the field.
Sitake did not take questions, but Grimes said no decisions have been made yet on position coaches who will be retained or replaced. Grimes is replacing two-year offensive coordinator Ty Detmer, who was relieved of his duties two days after BYU beat Hawaii 30-20 to finish the season 4-9.
“We are going to take our time and get the right guys,” Grimes said.
Grimes said he will return to Baton Rouge shortly and will coach in LSU’s bowl game Jan. 1 against Notre Dame. Then he will start at BYU, a place he said he always has loved — except when he was a player at UTEP and the Cougars always were beating the Miners.
“It is the right time for my family [to come to BYU],” he said. “The timing is right for BYU to have a guy like me in this position.”
As for his goals in the next few months before spring ball begins in March, Grimes listed four.
First, he said he will work to “get the best offensive staff that BYU has ever had.”
Second, he will make a big effort to get to know the current players on BYU’s roster. Borrowing a line from Pat Dye, who he worked with at Auburn, Grimes said: “You can coach them just as hard as you are willing to love them.”
Third, he will get to know the recruits, especially the offensive recruits, that BYU hopes to sign Wednesday when the early signing period begins.
Fourth, he wants to beat Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl. “I had four great years there [at LSU],” he said. “I want to go back and finish the job I started.”
Grimes said he didn’t seek the BYU job and told Sitake when he first was contacted that BYU first would have to get permission from LSU coach Ed Orgeron. Grimes said he didn’t know Sitake well because when Grimes was in Provo, Sitake “was at that other school” as a Utah assistant.
When they finally did talk, the phone call was so lengthy that Sitake quipped he hadn’t spent that much time on the phone with one person since he was in the ninth grade.
Grimes clicked off the names of players he coached from 2004 to 2006 at BYU who reached out to him when they heard he was being considered, including Jake Kuresa, Eddie Keele, Dallas Reynolds and Ray Feinga.
He said he talked to more people about the BYU job than in all his other previous jobs combined.
As for the pressure to return BYU’s offense to its glory days, something that Heisman Trophy winner Detmer couldn’t do, Grimes said that’s the least of his concerns.
“We are going to be too busy building a great offense to worry about pressure from outside sources,” he said.