August 12, 2013
Grimes still juggling along the offensive line
Football Camp: Behind The Scenes

BLACKSBURG – Tech offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and several other assistant coaches met with reporters Monday. The Hokies did not practice on Monday, but still had meetings.

Grimes said he felt any concern over all the shuffling on the offensive line was a little overblown. He continues to juggle guys in different spots, trying to find the best combination while also developing depth.

“I think, sometimes, a little bit too much is made of a certain five developing cohesion early on,” Grimes said. “Chances are you’re not going to play with that same five all year. So I think there is a lot of value to being able to rotate different guys in there. Even during the season when I know who my five are, I’m still times when I’m shuffling around a little bit. My starting guard might be my backup center, so there are times when I might be injecting guys into the lineup with the first group during the season because they’ve got to get used to playing together.

“There is some value to getting all five of those starters to jell. But that isn’t at the top of my priority list right now.”

Grimes added he wasn’t worried about his players learning different positions as opposed to just one position. The guys doing the most moving around are Mark Shuman, Caleb Farris and Augie Conte.

"The way I coach, I coach them to know all the positions anyway,” he said. “We take tests all the time, and they have to fill in every person – the tight ends, the fullbacks – and they’ve got to make all the calls. They’ve got to draw in all the responsibilities. I ask them to know more than just their position regardless for that very reason, so guys aren’t confused when you move them around a little bit.

“The bottom line is you’ve got to get your best five guys on the field as an offensive line coach. If a guy is our backup left tackle, but our ninth-best player, then I’ve somehow got to find a way to get a guy on the field in front of him.

“Is it a little harder for them when they’re playing more than one position? Yes, it is. But it also helps. If a guy has been playing tackle and you move him in to play guard a little bit, because of the nature of the position inside and the size of the players he’s going against, he has to get his pads down a little lower, so that may help him in the run game. It also gives him a better broad picture of what you have to do on offense. If a guy has been playing guard and has to slide over and play center, then he has a little better understanding of what the center has to do and how he can help. There’s give and take.”

Grimes said he thought his group had gotten much better since the spring.

“We’re not anywhere near where we want to be or need to be,” he said. “But there’s definitely improvement. Some guys definitely more than others.”

The bottom line – expect Grimes to continue moving guys around for the next week to 10 days before the Hokies start working on their game plan for Alabama.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

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