AUBURN, Ala. — J.B. Grimes hasn’t been shy during his return to Auburn football this spring. The Tigers newish offensive line coach arrived and made his presence felt once again.
“He went through and like watched all our film,” guard Mike Horton said.”And was like, ‘OK, this is what we we’re terrible at and this is what we need to get better at.'”
Now Grimes and his room are concentrating on one thing: Details. It’s the biggest difference Horton sees so far in working with Grimes and playing for Herb Hand last season. Details come first. The scheme will come into play later on.
“That’s all he focuses on right now, just the little things,” Horton said. “He focuses on footwork, the small things, the details first before we even look at scheme or anything. That’s his biggest point … Spring is just a time to grow and get better.”
Auburn had its first in-pads practice on Tuesday and will go live for the first time on Thursday, according to several players.
So far offensive linemen who were recruited by and previously played for Grimes have been re-familiarizing with his terminologies while newcomers have simply been getting acquainted with Grimes’ style and approach.
“Some of the techniques are a little bit different,” Gus Malzahn said. “The guys have responded very well. I feel real good about, I have said this before. J.B. is one of the better teachers, just true teachers, that I have had in 28 or 29 years of coaching. He is a true teacher.”
Malzahn indicated that under Grimes there will likely be less mixing and matching along the offensive line, at least at first.
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Horton said he and Grimes have only had one conversation about him maybe trying his hand in another spot, but the junior anticipates spending most of his time at guard.
“I know he is real big, especially when they are young, trying to put them in one position and give them some confidence, the continuity of working beside each other,” Malzahn said. “I think right now with the makeup with have, the inexperience we have, I think that is definitely down the right path.”
After a less-than-ideal start last fall, Horton said the room can feel a sense of urgency under Grimes. Only he, Prince Tega Wanogho and Marquel Harrell have started games. That leaves just a few months for Grimes to get players like Calvin Ashley, Kaleb Kim and others ready to go.
Horton admitted he never thought he’d see Grimes again, but emphasized “it’s good to have him back.” Even with all the attention to detail and adjustments, Horton and his teammates are enjoying spring thus far.
“He’s funny. He’s always telling jokes,” Horton said. “If you ask any of the guys we laugh before we go out to practice the most I feel like, out of any group. He’s always telling jokes. Just a funny guy.”