Randy Edsall has added another set of coaches to his staff, bringing in J.B. Grimes as the offensive line coach in addition to Aaron Smith for wide receivers and Eric Klein as strength & conditioning coach.
James Crepea of AL.com was the first to report the news about Grimes.
Grimes comes to UConn from Cincinnati, where he was let go with the rest of the staff when Tommy Tuberville was fired. Before then, he held the same position at Auburn under new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee from 2013-2015. He has spent his entire career as an offensive line coach, making stops at Arkansas State, Kansas, Mississippi State, East Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Arkansas. He has sent over 50 players to the NFL.
Grimes while certainly have his work cut out for him at UConn. The Huskies have been struggling with offensive line play for years, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry last season. They were the worst rushing offense in the American, averaging just 117.33 yards per game.
Over the three years during Diaco’s tenure, the offensive line barely improved and was consistently a liability. They ranked in the bottom four of the conference in sacks allowed every year despite having continuity at most of the positions.
In 2015, Grimes dealt with a health scare and needed a cancerous spot removed from his tongue. However, that couldn’t keep him off the football field as he was back coaching just six days after the procedure. Gus Malzahn described him as “the toughest coach in football” according to AL.com.
Smith, a 2006 UConn graduate, comes to the Huskies by way of Albany, where he held the same position from 2013-2016.
Welcome back to UConn! Aaron Smith wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator pic.twitter.com/LRihQn3PRs— UConn Football (@UConnFootball) January 16, 2017
While Noel Thomas is gone, Smith will still have some solid receivers to work with, including Hergy Mayala, and Tyraiq Beals.
The final addition, Klein, has 15 years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach, holding the position most recently at Minnesota, where UConn’s Beth Goetz was deputy athletic director. He has also worked at both Northern and Southern Illinois.
Welcome to UConn! Eric Klein, Director of Football Strength and Conditioning pic.twitter.com/Kqtb0ZydmO— UConn Football (@UConnFootball) January 16, 2017
Grimes signed a one-year contract for $250,000. Smith also signed a one-year deal, this one for $145,000, and Klein’s two-year deal has a base salary of $220,000.
With these additions, the only coaching positions still open are defensive line and special teams coordinator.