The beginning of the tumultuous 2020 year proved to be a fortunate situation for the continuity of the BYU football coaching staff.
The Cougars only had one coach depart (running backs coach AJ Steward went to Arizona) and BYU replaced him from on staff, promoting graduate assistant Harvey Unga to the position.
Things are going to be different in 2021, however.
That’s because Baylor head coach Dave Aranda announced Monday that it had hired BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes to fill the same role for the Bears.
“I am absolutely fired up about joining Coach Aranda’s staff and leading the Baylor offense,” Grimes said in a press release from Baylor. “I’ve known Dave for years and have always admired him as both a coach and person. There’s tremendous alignment between what Baylor University stands for and who I am at my core. I can’t wait to get back home to the great state of Texas and begin working with the tremendous student-athletes and coaches in the Baylor program. Sic ‘Em!”
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake complimented the work Grimes did for the Cougars in a tweet posted by the @BYUFootball Twitter account.
“Jeff did a tremendous job here at BYU as our offensive coordinator,” Sitake said in the tweet. “Grimey is an outstanding person and a great coach, teacher and leader. I appreciate everything he has done for BYU football and the young men in our program. We love and wish him, Sheri and their family the very best as they return home to Texas with this opportunity to work with Coach Aranda at Baylor.”
That puts BYU in a position to find a new offensive coordinator. The likely favorite is Cougar passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick, who was an offensive coordinator at the University of Utah earlier in his career.
There is also the possibility of a trickle-down effect as Grimes might look at adding current BYU offensive coaches like offensive line coach Eric Mateos to his staff in Waco, Texas.
Here is the complete release from Baylor:
“Jeff Grimes has been named offensive coordinator at Baylor, head coach Dave Aranda announced Monday. A 28-year coaching veteran, Grimes, who has led the BYU offense since 2018, was named a finalist for the 2020 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
“’First of all, Jeff is a high-quality person,’ Aranda said. ‘He is a family man. He is a true ball coach and a fundamental teacher of the game. He coaches a physical offense built on explosive plays in both the pass and run game. There is a strong identity in what he does. We will be building to that vision, and I know he will hold our staff and players accountable to that standard. I am excited to welcome Jeff, Sheri and their family to Baylor.’
“A native of Garland, Texas, Grimes directed a high-powered offense at BYU in 2020 that finished its season ranked in the top 15 in 10 different statistical categories including scoring (3rd, 43.5 ppg), total offense (7th, 522.2 ypg) and passing offense (8th, 332.1 ppg).
“The 2020 Cougars tied for the national lead in yards per play at 7.84, and led all of FBS in plays of 30 or more yards with 45. Overall, BYU scored 40 or more points nine times in 12 games.
“Under Grimes’ leadership, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and Manning Award, as well as a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. In 2020, Wilson passed for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and posted a 196.4 passing efficiency. He finished the year ranked in the top 10 nationally in 11 offensive categories.
“Led by All-American offensive lineman Brady Christensen, the BYU offensive line allowed only 12 sacks in 12 games, the eighth-best per game average in the country, and helped the Cougars to the fourth-most rushing touchdowns nationally with 34. Running back Tyler Allgeier rushed for 1,130 yards, the ninth-best total in BYU history and the eighth-best total by a FBS player for the season.
“Overall, BYU had four offensive players named to All-America teams in 2020, including Wilson, Christensen, and wide receiver Dax Milne. Additionally, freshman tight end Isaac Rex earned Freshman All-America honors from The Athletic.
“’I am absolutely fired up about joining Coach Aranda’s staff and leading the Baylor offense,’ Grimes said. ‘I’ve known Dave for years and have always admired him as both a coach and person. There’s tremendous alignment between what Baylor University stands for and who I am at my core. I can’t wait to get back home to the great state of Texas and begin working with the tremendous student-athletes and coaches in the Baylor program. Sic ‘Em!’
“Additionally, Grimes will coach Baylor’s tight ends. Shawn Bell, who is entering his fifth season on staff, will move to quarterbacks coach for 2021.
“In addition to his time as a coordinator, Grimes has extensive experience as one of the country’s top offensive line coaches. Since 2000, 16 offensive linemen that played under Grimes have been selected in the NFL Draft including three first rounders (Levi Jones, Nate Solder and Greg Robinson).
“He served as offensive line coach and run game coordinator at LSU from 2014-17. While in Baton Rouge, Grimes had three of his players selected in the NFL Draft to go along with nine earn All-SEC honors and four be selected as All-Americans (La’el Collins, Vadal Alexander, Ethan Pocic and Will Clapp).
“LSU’s offensive line helped pave the way for four consecutive 1,000-yard rushers in each of Grimes’ four seasons. In 49 games as LSU’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator, the Tigers had at least one running back reach the 100-yard rushing mark 34 times.
“He spent one season as run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Virginia Tech in 2013 following four seasons as offensive line coach at Auburn from 2009-12 that included the program’s second National Championship in 2010.
“During Auburn’s 2010 national championship season, Grimes’ coached an offensive line that helped set school records for total yards of offense (6,989) and points (577) for a second consecutive season. The Tigers were No. 5 nationally in rushing yards per game (284.8) and led the SEC in scoring (41.2). Auburn’s 2010 team set school records for rushing touchdowns (41), passing touchdowns (31), rushing yards (3,987) and had three offensive linemen earn individual honors.
“Grimes also had successful stints leading the offensive lines at Colorado (2007-08), BYU (2004-06), Arizona State (2001-03) and Boise State (2000). He got his start in collegiate coaching at Hardin-Simmons (1998-99), and also served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M (1996-97) and Rice (1995). Following the completion of his playing career he coached at Riverside High School in El Paso (1993-94).
“Grimes earned his bachelor’s degree in education from UTEP in 1991 and a master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M in 1997. He and his wife, Sheri, have four children, daughters, Bailey and Jada, and sons, Garrison and Greydon.”