Rabalais: Jeff Grimes’ résumé seems strong enough for LSU

Photo courtesy of VIRGINIA TECH -- Virginia Tech assistant Jeff Grimes was hired as the offensive line coach by LSU. Show caption
Photo courtesy of VIRGINIA TECH -- Virginia Tech assistant Jeff Grimes was hired as the offensive line coach by LSU.

Everyone wants to know if LSU made a good move in hiring Jeff Grimes as its offensive line coach and running game coordinator.

Grimes has the résumé you want. He has a history of sending linemen to the NFL (which sends the kind of message recruits want to hear), he has experience in the Southeastern Conference at Auburn and he helped Virginia Tech put together one of the nation’s best running games last season.

Personally, I think back to the fact that he coached a superb offensive line at Auburn in 2010 that protected and opened holes for Cam Newton on the way to the BCS national championship. That was an experienced line that may have needed little coaching, but it isn’t dissimilar to the line he inherits with four returning starters at LSU.

Want a good test of how good a hire Grimes is? Let’s see if left tackle La’el Collins ends the 2014 season as he’s likely to start it: on some All-America teams. Let’s see how well the replacement for early NFL departure Trai Turner plays at right guard. Let’s see how well the Tigers protect and open holes for a young but promising offensive backfield.

Is Grimes a good hire? He has some tough standards to meet, but has been handed some excellent tools with which to work and a resume that says he should flourish. To whom much is given much is, and should, be expected.

Recruiting watch

That LSU could at most likely wind with only six players from The Advocate’s 2014 Super Dozen — and that’s if John Curtis’ Malachi Dupre and Kenny Young pick the Tigers — it speaks to the national scope of LSU’s recruiting efforts that the Tigers are still ranked from No. 3 to No. 8 by the four major recruiting services.

LSU has pledges from players like linebacker Clifton Garrett (the top prospect in Illinois), highly ranked safeties Jamal Adams and Edward Paris from Texas and four-star defensive end Deondre Clark from Oklahoma (though OU remains a big player for him).

It isn’t good LSU is losing out on great in-state talents like Cameron Robinson, Speedy Noil and Hootie Jones, but if LSU can replace those talents out of state it will all even out in a positive way for the Tigers. And I’m wondering if we are not seeing more of a national trend for recruits everywhere in the age of ESPN, Skype and Snapchat.

Going bowling, already

SBNation.com has released its apologetically titled “2014’s way-too-early college bowl (and Playoff!) projections.”

First off, SBNation, it’s never too early to talk about college football and bowls. Second, now that there’s a playoff, that goes double.

The website’s Jason Kirk projects LSU and Michigan to play each other Jan. 1 in the Capital One Bowl. It’s a possibility that’s been tantalizing the last few years because of two great story lines: 1) Les Miles is a Michigan man, right down to his maize and blue shorts, and 2) the Tigers and Wolverines (all together now) have never played in football.

LSU and Michigan could have met in a bowl game this season, but the Wolverines detoured to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl while the Tigers went to the Outback to play Iowa. The tepid ticket-buying response from LSU fans would likely have been much more robust if it had been LSU-Michigan.

We would like to see this matchup happen in the regular season rather than wait for the random possibility of a bowl, especially before Miles retires (whenever that will be).

In another interesting projection, Kirk has Louisiana-Lafayette in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma. Remember, the College Football Playoff committee will not only seed the teams for the two semifinal bowls — the Sugar and Rose — but for the four other CFP bowls that will host semifinals in coming years (the Cotton, Orange, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A Peach).

By the way, the Chick-fil-A Bowl by CFP rule must bring back its old Peach Bowl name. No going just by corporate names for the CFP.

I’m liking this playoff thing already.

Brando bolting

Long-time CBS Sports and former WAFB sportscaster Tim Brando has left the network after 18 years in what Sports Business Daily termed a mutual decision. Brando’s daily syndicated radio sports talk show is also leaving CBS Sports Network.

Brando was asked by WAFB’s Jacques Doucet (subbing for Matt Moscona on his “After Further Review” show on WNNX-FM 104.5) about the possibility that a gig at the SEC Network might be in his future. Brando was noncommital, but it certainly seems he and the network, which launches in August, would be naturals for each other.