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BYU OC Jeff Grimes Believes This Offseason Could Help The Cougars In The Fall

May 8, 2020, 10:43 AM | Updated: Jun 3, 2020, 12:52 pm
byu offseason...
Offensive Coordinator, Jeff Grimes talks with friends and media after a walkthrough in their indoor practice facility in Provo on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – It hasn’t been all bad during these past two months without sports. Absolutely we’d prefer that COVID-19 was never a thing, but people are finding ways to make lemonade out of lemons.

One of those people is the current offensive coordinator for the BYU Cougars, Jeff Grimes.

If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll see him hiking various trails in the Wasatch mountains. You may even run into him on your next trail hike. He’s becoming an avid hiker.

BYU Could Benefit From Offseason Like No Other

Grimes believes that if there is a college football season, BYU will be in a position to do special things because of the overall experience of the players.

“For the first time since I’ve been here, we will now be playing with a majority of upperclassmen,” Grimes told Mitch Harper and me on Cougar Sports Saturday. “We’ve had some upperclassman sprinkled in here and there, but we’ve had a lot of guys that are freshman and sophomores playing the last two years.”

Studs like Matt Bushman, Khyiris Tonga, James Empey are a few players returning with NFL aspirations. The only position on the field that is hurting with experience might be the wide receiver group, but the addition of Neil Pau’u will help ease the pain of losing three productive senior wide receivers from a season ago.

“This year we have a lot more juniors and even a few seniors,” said Grimes. “I think the fact that we will be playing with more upperclassman than underclassman, and the fact that those guys have played now just gives them a new level of belief.”

The great mystery is the shape and condition of returning players. It hasn’t been easy for any athlete to stay in shape with no gyms available since mid-march.

There’s only so much to gather from Zoom meetings, but there’s a sense amongst coaches that this team will be ready to go once it’s determined that college football is safe to resume.

“My hope and belief is that this time will actually be a positive for us,” said Grimes. “We will be able to come out of this better than were, and maybe relatively speaking, better than some other teams that come out of it.”

This could be a tremendous opportunity for BYU if football is indeed played on time. The University of Utah is rebuilding seeing seven players drafted in the NFL.

BYU Football Needs Offensive Improvement

The experience could prove to be more valuable than normal this upcoming season and although the record didn’t indicate significant progress last season, the offensive statistics tell another story.

BYU finished 28th in total offense, 40th in third-down conversion percentage, and tied for 35th in total first downs. All good indications of offense that is ready to break out.

Where the Cougars need to improve the most, however, is points scored, where they finished tied for 67th at 28.5 points per game. That’s just not enough points in today’s game to win more than seven games.

“There are a lot of things we can point to that say we are on the right track,” said Grimes. “This year we should make another sizable jump in terms of our total yards, and points put on the board.”

In order to be a top 25 scoring offense, they’ll need to average over 34 points a game. The last time they achieved that level of success was back in 2014 when the offensive averaged 34.8 points per game behind Christian Stewart, who took over for an injured Taysom Hill in week five versus Utah State.

Whenever practice resumes, and we all hope it can resume safely this summer, the Cougars will be ready to hit the ground running.

“I think we will be in as good of a place as anybody will be because I think that much of our guys,” Grimes said. “I think the character of our team is going to show up.”

You can hear Cougar Sports Saturday each and every Saturday on KSL Newsradio from 12 until 3 pm MST.

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