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Grimes: O-line ready to play like alpha dogs

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247sports.com

J.B. Grimes: Auburn offensive line ready to play like alpha dogs

ByBrandon Marcello

5-6 minutes

SCOTTSBORO, Alabama — J.B. Grimes is not going to blow smoke screens to hide what’s happening on the field and in the offensive line’s meeting room at Auburn.

He said it in May of 2018 when he knew he didn’t quite know who would be starters, and whether they were ready to play in the SEC, let alone in the season opener against top-10 Washington.

“I knew it was going to take a while,” the veteran offensive line coach said Thursday. “When we played Washington, I really didn’t know what we were going to get.”

Slowly and surely, however, the offensive line improved. The Tigers failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in a decade. Injuries at both guard spots, along with flipping and switching of Kaleb Kim and Nick Brahms as starters at center because of injuries didn’t help matters.

But then Kim got healthy, and five players started to click along the offensive line.

“It actually took a little longer for me to get those guys playing as a cohesive unit, but around Game 7 we started playing pretty well and we had great carryover in the spring,” Grimes said before speaking to the Jackson County Auburn Club. “I thought those guys competed well and obviously every day we’re going against a very, very good defensive line — one of the best, if not the best, in the country. I’ll be honest with you: I felt like we held our own. We’ve gotten better.”

Simply put, a year under Grimes has made a heck of a difference. All five starters return along the offensive line, with one player he believes could be a first-round selection (left tackle Prince Tega Wanogho Jr.) leading the group. Facing off against one of the better defensive lines in the country has proven to be difficult and the ultimate learning experience.

“The biggest thing is the cohesiveness of the unit,” Grimes said. “We know we clearly have five starters right now and those guys take a lot of pride In knowing that. It’s clear and present. We know who the five starters are, and they take a lot of pride in the fact that, hey, we’re gonna line up, and guess what? We’re on scholarship, too. I know how it is out there when you have a bunch of alpha dogs on defense. They’re gonna try to go to the bathroom on every fire hydrant in town. The deal with me is, as far as being a line coach, you know what? We have some alpha dogs on our side of the ball, too, and we’re gonna play that way.”

Grimes believes three other players have a shot at making the NFL after the upcoming season: guard Marquel Harrell and Mike Horton, and right tackle Jack Driscoll.

Grimes is in the second year of his second stint coaching Auburn’s offensive line after leading the unit during Gus Malzahn’s first three seasons as the head coach (2013-15). The group was labeled as the strength of the offense by Malzahn after spring practices, a sentiment since echoed by offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham.

“Of course, from this time last year, it’s like night and day — and it should be,” Malzahn said. “They’re all back. Chemistry is extremely good. It really gave us a chance to be a lot more aggressive and do some different things and try some different things up front (in the spring).”

“I really like this offensive line, now,” Grimes said. “The guy that really kind of stepped forward in my mind, especially from a leadership standpoint and directing our offensive line and being vocal was Kaleb Kim. He stepped up and had a really good spring.”

Kim was benched early in the season due to injury, but returned to the lineup in late 2018. The Tigers’ offense improved, and Grimes knew one thing from that moment forward in late 2018: he wasn’t messing with his starters.

“We’re settled in,” Grimes said. “We have anointed Kaleb Kim. He is the guy. And we’ve told him that. You know what, that probably helped his confidence, it helped his leadership, being vocal and directing us. I was really proud of him in the spring.”

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Auburn rushed for 100 yards or more in each of its last four games, the best stretch of the season. For a time, it seemed like Auburn was finally back in its run, play-action groove. Auburn rushed for only 167.5 yards per game, which ranked 10th in the SEC for the season. It was the worst average of Malzahn’s tenure as head coach.

The question now is whether Auburn can return to rushing for 250-plus yards per game, a staple under Malzahn. The Tigers have ranked in the top half of the league in every season but 2018 under Malzahn. They have led the SEC twice and the country once during that time, too.

28COMMENTS

Might Auburn be on track to return to the past? The schedule and opposing defensive lines will be difficult in the fall.

“But I think we could be one of those that could be in the top two or three in the league in rushing,” Grimes said.

">247Sports

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19 minutes ago, aubiefifty said:

“It actually took a little longer for me to get those guys playing as a cohesive unit, but around Game 7 we started playing pretty well and we had great carryover in the spring,” Grimes said before speaking to the Jackson County Auburn Club. “I thought those guys competed well and obviously every day we’re going against a very, very good defensive line — one of the best, if not the best, in the country. I’ll be honest with you: I felt like we held our own. We’ve gotten better.”

Awesome.  Figured it out by Game 7.  Kudos CJBG, well done.

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53 minutes ago, aubiefifty said:

Grimes believes three other players have a shot at making the NFL after the upcoming season: guard Marquel Harrell and Mike Horton, and right tackle Jack Driscoll.

Interesting that he did not list Wangoho.  I hope that is not an indication that our LT is not up to the challenge

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32 minutes ago, LKEEL75 said:

Interesting that he did not list Wangoho.  I hope that is not an indication that our LT is not up to the challenge

I thought he said Wanohgo was a first round guy in his opinion!

Edited by toddc
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Good to hear so much praise for Kim.  

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3 hours ago, toddc said:

I thought he said Wanohgo was a first round guy in his opinion!

Yeah I read over that apparently...

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On 5/10/2019 at 11:48 AM, Auburn Kev said:

 

Great!  We have 2 of the top 4 tackles in the SEC.  Guess there really are no excuses this year.:-\

Edited by oracle79
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On 5/10/2019 at 11:48 AM, Auburn Kev said:

 

I’m assuming this is the “non-bama” OT list, since everyone knows they have the best of everything at every position.  🤮

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17 minutes ago, AUpreacherman22 said:

I’m assuming this is the “non-bama” OT list, since everyone knows they have the best of everything at every position.  🤮

That’s for returning tackles not counting who’s gone to the league like Williams did

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Just now, Sizzle said:

That’s for returning tackles not counting who’s gone to the league like Williams did

I was just being silly.  

It seems like the media will promote their 3rd stringers as potential AAs.  After all, they were 5* HS guys. 🤷‍♂️

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On 5/10/2019 at 10:07 AM, dyehardfanAU said:

Awesome.  Figured it out by Game 7.  Kudos CJBG, well done.

It took that long to flush Herb Hand. Hand left a BIG pile of 💩

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1 hour ago, SumterAubie said:

It took that long to flush Herb Hand. Hand left a BIG pile of 💩

JBG recruited most of them.  Chicken Salad, Chicken s*** and all that jazz.

Edited by dyehardfanAU

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3 hours ago, dyehardfanAU said:

JBG recruited most of them.  Chicken Salad, Chicken s*** and all that jazz.

So what does the recruiter have to do with the coaching they rec'd from Hand?

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On 5/11/2019 at 8:20 PM, AUpreacherman22 said:

I was just being silly.  

It seems like the media will promote their 3rd stringers as potential AAs.  After all, they were 5* HS guys. 🤷‍♂️

Yeah you’re right. They have a 5* tackle coming in. I’m surprised they didn’t just throw his name on there even tho he hadn’t even stepped on campus yet

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I would imagine with Troxell out for the season, Alec Jackson will need to fill those shoes as a solid backup at the tackle position.

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9 minutes ago, doc4aday said:

I would imagine with Troxell out for the season, Alec Jackson will need to fill those shoes as a solid backup at the tackle position.

The guy that's never played OL? 

tenor.gif

 

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11 minutes ago, bigbird said:

The guy that's never played OL? 

tenor.gif

 

I thought he was moved from the DL to the OL as a tackle. Maybe I got it wrong. Who would you say are our best choices as back up tackles?  Thanks and do not eat my last piece of pie! 😁

BTW...if you eat at Cracker Barrel, try their butter milk pie....good stuff for glutons like us! My 6-5 1/2 & 185 frame can stand all of the sweets I can eat!

Edited by doc4aday

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14 hours ago, SumterAubie said:

So what does the recruiter have to do with the coaching they rec'd from Hand?

No idea why he facepalmed you.  You are spot on with what he said.  I think the guy is just wanting to complain about everything Auburn related.

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19 minutes ago, doc4aday said:

I thought he was moved from the DL to the OL as a tackle. Maybe I got it wrong. Who would you say are our best choices as back up tackles?  Thanks and do not eat my last piece of pie! 😁

 

He was moved to tackle this off season, but he hasn't played their before. To think he will have an impact this year would be a stretch.

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19 minutes ago, doc4aday said:

I thought he was moved from the DL to the OL as a tackle. Maybe I got it wrong.

We ran out of race horses, so now we call our fastest plow horse a race horse. 

(He might end up being good at it. We need to recruit more tackles out of high school.)

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7 hours ago, bigbird said:

He was moved to tackle this off season, but he hasn't played their before. To think he will have an impact this year would be a stretch.

😎 all is well in the land of waterfalls!  To tackle or not to tackle is the question of the day!  I cannot eat any of the apple pie due to chemo nausea but hope for better days ahead. Trying to keep a good sense of humor through it all.

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19 hours ago, abw0004 said:

No idea why he facepalmed you.  You are spot on with what he said.  I think the guy is just wanting to complain about everything Auburn related.

Dye is definitely a full blown negabarner but is also accurate most of the time. Another side effect of the HC doing a mediocre job. 

It's been discussed ad nauseum. We have not recruited OL well as long as Gus has been here. Our guys didn't get good coaching while Hand was here but had we recruited adequately in 2014-15, our guys would have looked much better for most of last year.

Also, notice who our 2 best linemen are. A DL and a transfer. 

Last thing. I was very careful with my verbiage above not to place all the blame at Grimes's or Hand's feet. 

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20 hours ago, McLoofus said:

We ran out of race horses, so now we call our fastest plow horse a race horse. 

(He might end up being good at it. We need to recruit more tackles out of high school.)

Hey man, remember when Lindsay Lohan found Herbie in the junkyard and then won the race with him?

giphy.gif

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1 minute ago, The Freak said:

Hey man, remember when Lindsay Lohan found Herbie in the junkyard and then won the race with him?

giphy.gif

So this is a really good post, but you're gonna reference a pre-trainwreck Lohan movie and not include a Lohan gif?!?

Image result for lindsay lohan herbie gif

(I chose this one over others because I'm a gentleman.)

 

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