Hire of J.B. Grimes as O-Line coach may be most important hire to date for UConn football.
TORRINGTON: Of all the coaches, newly returned UConn football head coach Randy Edsall has brought in, the one that may matter the most came on board on Monday with some serious credibility.
J.B. (John Bryan) Grimes has been hired to be the Huskies Offensive Line coach, an area of contention for the program for, well, a very long time.
It’s a given that no matter how good your skill players are, if there is nobody in front of them who can consistently open holes or keep a quarterback alive, you could put Dan Marino behind center and your offense might still rank last in the country, as they did this past season.
Grimes comes to Connecticut with an impressive resume that includes over 50 players who have become good enough at their jobs that they found one in the National Football League over his 34-years of coaching.
He is also the second hire to come out of the connection UConn Athletic Director David Benedict has in Auburn, following newly named offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee who was named last week.
Lashlee and Grimes run two parts of the offense that need to be in sync or nothing good can happen.
Grimes most recently worked at American Athletic League foe Cincinnati under Tommy Tuberville a year ago, and in 2014, Auburn led the nation in rushing with a 328.3 yards per game average.
Those numbers will certainly make former Ansonia great Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson happy. Heck, go over the 175 yards per game average and watch the energy and points total go up.
Of all the picks to date, the hiring of Grimes may be the most important.
Making the Huskies offensive line a solid force is priority number one, you would think and with several starters, including Ryan Crozier, Matt Peart, Trey Rutherford, Brendan Vechery, and Tommy Hopkins back for the Huskies that Grimes would not have to start completely from scratch.
UConn lost two talented linemen in Richard Levy and Andreas Knappe to graduation but have several talented sophomores in the stable as well.
Grimes has been with teams that have been to 19 bowl games over his career and coached the line for Auburn when they went to the 2014 National Championship game.
Auburn averaged 31.2 points per game in 2016, more than double the amount that came out of the UConn offense (14.8).
Say one thing about the work being done in Storrs this winter, it's got the fan base talking and that can't be a bad thing.