No changes on O-line ‘necessarily’

Grimes reiterated that there will be no changes to the O-line....yet.

Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said he doesn’t know if there will be any change in his line this week, “necessarily.”

But he wants his starting linemen to remain mindful of what can happen if they don’t keep performing in practice and games.

“I told them a number of different stories about situations where we started with a season, something happened with a guy, he didn’t perform well,” Grimes said. “And it finally got to the point where he (ticked) me off enough that he was done right in the middle of a game and never to be heard from again.

“I’m not saying that’s going on here. I just wanted to make sure they were aware of the different things that could happen. If you don’t perform on Saturdays, there are other options.”

Grimes said the line play against Utah State on Saturday was “not very good,” and he saw two main problems among his linemen.

Some were awestruck by the big stage and too timid. Some were far too aggressive.

“You’ve got the start the block under control, then finish it mad,” Grimes said. “You can’t go mad from the very start and just knock somebody’s head out, because you get overextended and you wind up missing people.”

The good news, Grimes said, is his young linemen are fairly clean slates with a lot of time to learn.

And, repeating an adage that’s been flying around the athletic complex this week, the biggest improvement in a young team should come from Game 1 to Game 2.

“They’ll all be better because of the experience,” Grimes said. “Those moments of shared experiences — whether good or bad or some of both — that’ll develop cohesion within the group over time.”

Protect this house
Auburn played 11 different defensive linemen against Utah State on Saturday.

Defensive line coach Mike Pelton expects it to be that way for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a long season,” Pelton said. “You’re really getting into the physicality of the SEC, and they’ve got to grow up. I anticipate playing that many guys and giving them opportunities.”

Pelton said he doesn’t expect to make many changes across the front line.

But, after yielding 227 rush yards to Utah State in the opener, Pelton acknowledged teams down the road might be more willing to test the Tigers’ front four.

“To run the football on a defense, it’s kind of like challenging your manhood,” Pelton said. “When somebody basically takes it and stuffs it down your throat, it’s like coming into your house and beating you up in front of your family.

“You take it personal.”

Kickin’ it
Special teams coordinator Jay Boulware said senior Chandler Brooks served an important motivational purpose from Wes Byrum when Boulware took over two years ago.

Namely, waiting in the wings in case Byrum messed up. He’s doing it again for sophomore Cody Parkey.

“(Brooks) is really accurate on field goals,” Boulware said. “If Cody’s not good at field goals, we feel pretty good we can go into our bullpen and pull Chandler out. He’s got a knack for making field goals.”

Of course, not many people are complaining about Parkey’s kicking abilities right now, not after he netted touchbacks on four of his six kickoffs against Utah State.

Boulware said Parkey’s been doing that all summer. Of course, it did come as a bit of a surprise to the coach the first time the young kicker put one through the back of the end zone.

“It kind of blew me away, too,” Boulware said. “The first time I saw it, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ He’s been kicking the ball really well in his kickoffs.”

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