BYU Football Offensive Coordinator Big Board: Who Replaces Jeff Grimes?

Jan 4, 2021, 10:47 AM | Updated: 2:04 pm
BYU Football - Aaron Roderick...
BYU passing game and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick talks with host Dave McCann during an interview on BYUTV during the BYU football media day in Provo on Friday, June 22, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – For the third time in the Kalani Sitake era, BYU football is in the market for a new offensive coordinator. Jeff Grimes is headed to the Big 12 to be the offensive coordinator at Baylor.

The last time BYU was in the market for a play-caller was challenging for the program after letting go of icon Ty Detmer. It’s a complete 180 when comparing the circumstances this time around, as BYU football finds itself riding high after an 11-1 season and fielding an offense that finished No. 3 in scoring this past fall.

Which direction does Kalani Sitake go with this search? Honestly, the answer on the surface would appear to be an easy one with the coaches Sitake has on his current offensive staff.

But like Grimes, some coaches on BYU’s staff could receive interest/offers from other schools. So it’s always good to have a big board of candidates on deck for any search, including this offensive coordinator position.

Here is a list of potential candidates.

BYU Football Offensive Coordinator Big Board

Aaron Roderick | BYU Passing Game Coordinator

Like Jeff Grimes, Roderick has been a key component in the “collaborative effort” that BYU has incorporated with its offensive staff the past two years. Roderick has offensive coordinator experience from his days at Utah and Southern Utah and is an ace in the development of BYU’s quarterback room and recruiting in Southern California.

Roderick should be the first coach that Sitake turns to in filling the void left behind by Grimes.

Fesi Sitake | BYU wide receivers

If Roderick is plan A, Fesi Sitake is not far behind. Sitake held the play sheet during BYU’s bowl win over UCF while Jeff Grimes was out and the Cougar offense tore apart the Knights.

Fesi and Kalani Sitake hold a close relationship as cousins, but they would be the first to correct you that they are brothers. The younger Sitake has experience calling plays when he was the offensive coordinator at Weber State from 2016-17.

Sitake’s leadership over the wide receivers has been impressive, highlighted by Dax Milne, who put together one of the best individual seasons by a wide receiver in BYU football history.

Steve Clark | BYU tight ends

When Jeff Grimes was hired in 2018, he set out to put together the best offensive staff BYU has ever assembled. He brought over one member from BYU’s previous offensive staff in Steve Clark, who, like Roderick and Sitake, has experience calling plays as an offensive coordinator from his days at Southern Utah.

When Clark took over BYU’s tight ends in 2016, the Cougars were limited at that position with little to no depth. Clark has developed the likes of Matt Bushman and Isaac Rex into stars within BYU’s offense.

Potential targets outside of the BYU staff

Alphabetical Order

The top candidates for this opening seem to be on BYU’s current staff. If Kalani Sitake goes outside of his current coaches, here might be some names to consider.

Jason Beck | Virginia Quarterbacks

Beck has continued his success of quarterback development in the ACC at Virginia. The former BYU signal-caller, who backed up John Beck from 2004-2006, was instrumental in developing former BYU star Taysom Hill.

At Virginia, Beck coached a pair of stars in Kurt Benkert and Bryce Perkins with the Hoos. He has one year of play-calling experience at Simon Fraser University.

Kelly Bills | Dixie State Offensive Coordinator

A former BYU player that played running back and special teams, Bills has two years of play-calling experience at Division-III Willamette (Oregon) and Division-II Central Washington. Dixie State will play this spring in its first year of FCS football. He might be too young for the position right now but could be a name to watch down the road.

Kevin McGiven | San Jose State Offensive Coordinator

McGiven has ties to Kalani Sitake. The two worked together at Oregon State and were also graduate assistants at BYU together under Gary Crowton. McGiven, alongside head coach Brent Brennan, has helped with a remarkable turnaround at San Jose State. The Spartans had an undefeated regular season and won their first Mountain West Conference title.

San Jose was No. 19 nationally in passing offense at 298.4 yards per game. In 2019, with McGiven calling the plays, the Spartans were 4th in passing at 338 yards.

Paul Peterson | Dixie State Head Coach

Peterson was viewed as a potential candidate for the OC job in 2017, when BYU was looking to replace Ty Detmer. The former Boston College quarterback is a gifted offensive mind who continues to rise in the coaching profession, moving from Snow College to the head coach at Dixie State, an FCS program.

Peterson’s teams at Snow College were some of the best in junior college football in scoring and total offense.

Dennis Simmons | Oklahoma WRs coach/Associate Head Coach

A teammate of Kalani Sitake’s in 1994 at BYU, Simmons is the associate head coach and wide receiver coach in the high-powered Oklahoma Sooners program. Simmons is one of the highest-paid wide receiver coaches in college football at $510,000 per year. That’s a similar price tag to what Jeff Grimes was making as an offensive line coach at LSU when he left for BYU.

Like Grimes, Simmons has never been a play-caller before. If given an opportunity, would he leave the Sooners for BYU?

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app

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BYU Football Offensive Coordinator Big Board: Who Replaces Jeff Grimes?