Weber Brings Wisdom and Experience

With outgoing offensive line coach Jeff Grimes off to Colorado, many of BYU's talented core of offensive linemen are sad to see their old coach move on. However, those feelings are tempered with optimism and excitement following their second day under new offensive line coach Mark Weber.

The old Boy Scout saying of leaving things better off than when you arrived certainly held true with former BYU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. BYU's offensive line is tough, talented, seasoned and technically sound to the point that the most difficult task in store for Coach Weber could be to determine who starts or not come Sep. 1.

"He's a bit different than Coach Grimes in that way," Ray Feinga said. "I think Coach Weber is more kick back but can get on you when he needs to. It may just be because we already know a lot and so he doesn't have to get on us as much, but he isn't as uptight as Coach Grimes was at practice. He understands when to use his energy to make a point."

For senior center Sete Aulai, his personal relationship with Coach Grimes made it tough to swallow when he learned of his position coach's decision to move on.

"Man, it's really hard to replace someone like Coach Grimes," said Aulai. "That guy has done so much for us as an offensive line and personally for me as a center. I've gotten so much better at recognizing the defensive pass blocking and run blocking, and everything that you see me doing now Coach Grimes has taught me. I respect him so much for that and it sucks that he's gone but that's just me speaking selfishly because I had gotten so close to him that it's hard to see him gone. Colorado is lucky to have him.

"With Coach Weber, I do see some similarities between him and Coach Grimes. Both coaches strive for perfection out of all of us, but Coach Weber has an easy job because as an o-line group we're already good. I'm not trying to say that because I'm conceited but because we really are a good o-line group because of what Coach Grimes has taught us.

Feinga, a junior offensive tackle, feels Weber draws from his wide range of experiences when approaching his new Cougar unit to build upon the foundation left by Grimes.

"He brings a lot of experience," said Feinga. "He's also brought some new techniques for us to learn that I think will help out a bit. He sees what is already here and what we're doing and is trying to add to that."

"Coach Weber said when he got here from North Carolina that he's never had as many guys as he's had here that are as talented and ready to go as we are," said Aulai. "He said he's never had a group like we have here anywhere else. He said when he went up to North Carolina he had to re-teach them how to do everything. He had to re-teach them how to step and how to punch without lunging and all that stuff. With us he doesn't have to do that here because we already know all of those things, and he respects Coach Grimes for that.

When Coach Hill came to BYU to replace Coach Mitchell, he implemented new techniques and drills he felt would help the secondary improve. In watching Coach Weber work with his new core of offensive linemen, many of the same techniques that Coach Grimes did are still being implemented.

"Coach Grimes was a smart coach but Coach Weber is smart in recognizing where we're at and not trying to change too much. He brings a lot of experience with him coming from different teams, so he knows what's out there and what works and what doesn't work. I think he can help us go up to the next level.

"Coach Weber said he didn't want to change everything we know because we are so use to doing those things and we do those things really well," Aulai said. "He's adjusting to us and is also putting in some of his stuff too which is pretty obvious. I don't mind and I don't think anyone else does either. I really do like it because we are getting the best of both worlds."

However, there are new pad drills and one-on-one and two-on-one technique drills that Coach Weber has brought on campus. Weber is drawing from his past experiences to mesh some new techniques to further complement what's been developed. The new drill techniques were easy to spot.

"The new technique drills he does are geared towards finishing by us doing a little extra," said Feinga. "Everything we do is to finish every time we do drills and scrimmages. I think it will help us be better downfield finishers."

"He stresses, like other coaches, for us to finish," said Aulai. "Unlike Coach Grimes he really does it. For example, after we run a drill we have to run an extra three yards just to finish the guy off that we are working against, and that is one thing that is different between Coach Grimes and Weber. Also our warm ups are different when we're doing the bags, but I lucked out because I had to go take some snaps with the quarterbacks. I was kind of happy about that."

Many of the new drills that Coach Weber has his players doing seem to be designed to help the offensive linemen be more aggressive down field. This would also explain the "finish" emphasis in the drills by doing a little extra follow-through within the workouts.

"Yeah I think so," said Aulai. "It wasn't like we weren't aggressive or physical before but he knows we are and wants to put that out there even more. He knows the rest of the nation understands that our o-line is physical and aggressive but he wants to put it out there more for everyone to see. I'm excited to have Coach Weber and he's a really good guy. I'm excited to see what he does later on. It kind of sucks this is my first and last spring camp with him because I'm excited to see what else he does with this o-line."

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