Grimes Crosstraining Several Linemen

Jeff Grimes demonstrates a technique/BSN

One of offensive line coach Jeff Grimes' many duties this August is to figure out where several of his new offensive linemen fit best. However, Grimes doesn't want to label anyone too strongly, too soon. Instead, he's crosstraining several players who he thinks could play two positions.

In the early going, freshmen Mike Iltis, Kai Maiava and Shawn Daniels have been getting reps at both guard and center. Others, like Matt Bahr, Blake Behrens, Ethan Adkins and Ryan Miller have been working at both guard and tackle. Sophomore Devin Head has been playing both guard and tackle.

"I try to cross train guys as much as possible," Grimes said Tuesday. "Your goal is to get the best five guys on the field. There are some guys who are a little bit more limited — maybe some guys are more of a tackle or more of a guard — but some guys have the ability to play tackle and guard, or guard and center.

"So that if a guard goes down, you don't necessarily put the backup guard in, you put the next best linemen in. That might involve playing a little bit of musical chairs. So early on, especially, I'm trying to cross train guys."

Grimes is doling out praise sparingly concerning his newcomers. He's been very careful not to single any one of them out as being ahead of their classmates. He said, "They're all trying, but they're all lost," noting it's going to take a while for them to catch up mentally with what's transpiring in practice.

"But I love the fact they're eager and working hard," he added.

Grimes said he may start narrowing some of the new linemen's focus, in terms of position, after the first three practices in pads, the first of which comes Friday.

"With linemen, until we put the pads on it really doesn't mean a whole lot," he said.

The team's first full pads practice is scheduled for Friday. It's also the first time the entire team will practice together. The first scrimmage is set for Sunday at 10 a.m. at Folsom Field. The scrimmage is open to the public.

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