New football assistant coach sits down with CP
Jeff Grimes joins the CU football team as assistant coach, running game coordinator and offensive line coach. He took the time out of his busy schedule to talk to the Campus Press about his relationship with Coach Hawkins, how he mold the offensive line, and what he sees for CU in the future, among other things.
The Campus Press: Why did you choose to accept the job offered by CU?
Jeff Grimes: A number of reasons. One is Coach Hawkins is not only, I think, one of the best head coaches in all of college football, but he’s a great guy too. He’s a good friend of mine and I’ve wanted to have the opportunity to work for him for a while and it just hasn’t quite worked out to be the right time until just now.
So the first reason was Coach Hawk, and I also know a lot of other guys on the staff too. I worked with (Offensive Coordinator) Mark Helfrich at Boise State and Arizona State. He’s a great trainer and I think the world of him. But the other reason was it was an opportunity for me to do something that I felt would give me a chance to advance my career. I’ve been a line coach for 14 years, and I’ll still be coaching the offensive line, but I’ll also have the title of assistant head coach and running game coordinator. So I felt it would give me more responsibility and a greater degree of influence on the team as a whole and the opportunity to do some things in the role of assistant head coach that would maybe prepare me for another role later on down the road. I have goals beyond just being a position coach and felt this was an opportunity to advance me in that way.
CP: How’s your relationship with Coach Hawkins?
JG: Oh, great. He and I worked together at Boise State in 2000. Our careers took us in different directions the last few years, but a lot of times in coaching when that happens you lose touch with people. But with Hawk that never happened and we maintained our friendship.
I’ve always been impressed with him because he’s always been the same guy. Since I knew him when he was an assistant and we worked together at Boise State until he was the head coach at Boise State and one of the hottest coaching names in the country being courted by schools all over the nation and then now as the head coach of Colorado, he’s always been the same guy.
He’s as humble and genuine of a person that I’ve ever known. He’s one of those guys that as a head coach would still call me most of the time. When somebody’s a head coach you have to call them to get their attention and hope that they call you back, but he’s always worked just as hard to stay in touch with me as I have him, so I feel we have a great friendship and a great working relationship.
CP: With spring practice coming up in less than two weeks, what do you hope to accomplish with the offensive line there?
JG: Well, to me the first and most important thing with the offensive line is to develop the right mindset. And by that I mean I want guys to be hard-working, blue-collar tough guys that are going to enjoy getting their nose dirty. Playing on the o-line is different than playing most other positions because you’re not going to get your name in the paper. Nobody’s going to talk about the great block you made. They’re going talk about the run by the running back or the pass by the quarterback or the touchdown reception, but what we do is really the start of everything, and guys have to take a great amount of pride in the fact that it’s a humble job but it’s probably the most important job.
I’m going to try and sell them on that, and to be effective as an offensive line you have to have hard-working guys and tough guys because what we do in the trenches is not for the meek of heart. It’s like going through a bunch of car wrecks, over and over again, for about three hours straight.
CP: How excited are you to coach these true freshmen coming in?
JG: It’s kind of like Christmas when you’re opening up a bunch of new toys when you have new players coming in. I’ve seen those guys on film and I’ve had conversations on the phone with them, and I’m looking forward to it. They’re all planning on coming out here for the summer and getting started and trying to make a play for this thing, so I think it’s going to be a great experience.
CP: In addition to offensive line coach and assistant coach, you’re also CU’s first-ever running game coordinator. What does that title entail?
JG: I think every system has to have an owner. Within the program, somebody has to take ownership of recruiting. Even though all of us recruit, somebody needs to oversee it so that it’s staying organized, administered, and attended to the right way on a consistent basis. So that’s a natural function of an offensive line coach. I’ll certainly have a lot of input in what we do in terms of the running game.
I think it also means that there’s a greater level of ownership by me in terms of coaching the running game. It matters to me that all of our guys on our offense are good blockers. Everyone on the offense, besides the quarterback, has to block for everything to go.
CP: What do you think of CU’s football program as a whole right now?
JG: Well, I think this program is just a notch away. What’s unusual about Colorado’s team last year is that they went 2-10, but they were right there in every game. Most of the time when a team only wins two games, they are getting blown out six or eight of those games. There was none of that. Every game they were right in and had a chance to win, so I think that says something about what we do have here.
A lot has been made of what we don’t have, I think that says something about the talent and competitiveness of the guys that are on the team right now, but I think with just a few more plays here or there and another year within the system. I don’t have any idea how far this team could go because I think a lot it is based on how hard they’re willing to work, and what price they’re willing to pay between now and the start of next season, and only time will determine that. But I think it’s a great program and the kind of place where all the pieces are here in order to have that kind of success. If it weren’t that way, the history and tradition wouldn’t be as great as rich as it is.
For more from Coach Grimes, be sure to listen to the podcast on this page where he talks about the lack of depth at the offensive line, how CU’s three promising tailbacks fit into the scheme and his expectations for this upcoming season.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Evan Acker at firstname.lastname@example.org.