Late Thursday night, Auburn stunned many/most by officially announcing the addition of longtime Georgia assistant Rodney Garner as Gus Malzahn‘s defensive line coach.
A day later, or a day earlier as the case may be, the other side of the line has been officially addressed as well.
In a press release sent out Friday morning — after it was apparently also announced Wednesday — Malzahn reconfirmed (?) that he has hired (very) veteran collegiate assistant J.B. Grimes to be the Tigers’ new offensive line coach. Grimes has spent more than 30 years as an assistant at the collegiate level, including last season in the same position with Malzahn at Arkansas State.
“J.B. is a tremendous coach who is one of the nation’s top teachers at the offensive line position,” Malzahn said. “He has an incredible resume coaching the position and has taught countless players at the NFL level. He played a vital role in our team’s success this past season and we’re fortunate to have him join our program at Auburn.”
Grimes has prior experience in the SEC, with stops at Mississippi State as OL coach (2004-08) and at Arkansas twice — first as a grad assistant (1981-82) before the Razorbacks’ move to the SEC and then as a full-time assistant coach (1989-92) before, during and after the transition from the SWC.
In addition to that SEC experience, he also served on staffs at Kansas, East Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri and Delta State dating back to 1979.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to coach at Auburn and join Coach Malzahn’s staff,” Grimes said. “I’ve always admired Auburn football having coached in the Southeastern Conference and even when I was younger watching Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley play. It’s a special place with great history, traditions and fans. I’ve known Gus for several years and have admired the things he’s done as a coach. We did some great things this past season at Arkansas State and I look forward to doing the same at Auburn.”
Grimes and Garner become the fourth and fifth assistants added to Malzahn’s staff, leaving four more openings to fill.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.
In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.
This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.
It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.
The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.