On the same night that news broke of Jeff Grimes' departure, LSU has already agreed to a deal with his replacement.
James Cregg, an assistant offensive line coach with the Los Angeles Chargers, has agreed to be the Tigers' new offensive line coach, a source confirmed with The Advocate on Wednesday night, just an hour after reports of Grimes' exit emerged.
Cregg, a native of Syracuse, New York, helped lead the Denver Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50 during his three-year run, 2014-16, in Colorado. Cregg spent five seasons coaching on staffs with LSU coach Ed Orgeron: 2009 at Tennessee and 2010-13 at Southern Cal.
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LSU expects Grimes to be BYU's new offensive coordinator, multiple sources confirmed, ending his four-season tenure at the school. The Tigers didn't wait long to pluck his replacement.
Cregg has had stops as a line coach at Colgate (2000-03) and Idaho (2004-06). He landed his first pro job as an assistant offensive line coach with the Oakland Raiders (2007-08).
Cregg spent four years (1992-95) as an offensive lineman at Colorado State, landing on the first team All-Western Athletic Conference as a senior. He was a freshman on the CSU team that beat LSU 18-17 in Baton Rouge in 1992.
Cregg and his wife, Dayna, have a daughter, McKenzie.
BYU has pursued Grimes for several days. FootballScoop.com first reported the move Wednesday night.
Grimes will remain with the Tigers through the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame on Jan. 1, a source confirmed. The 49-year-old was in his fourth season as the Tigers' offensive line coach. He also served as run-game coordinator.
Austin Thomas is leaving Baton Rouge for Knoxville.
LSU gave Grimes a significant raise and extension two years ago when BYU approached him about an open position on its staff. The program offered Grimes another contract boost this time around, but the draw of a coordinator role drew him away.
Grimes spent 2004-06 as BYU's offensive line coach. He was in the final year of a contract that paid him $550,000 per year. Grimes, a Texas native, joined LSU after the 2013 season following a one-year stay at Virginia Tech and a four-year run at Auburn. He is well respected as a line technician and a recruiter.
His departure comes at a precarious time. The inaugural early signing period begins next Wednesday, and the Tigers have four offensive linemen committed, including the top-ranked junior college tackle in Badara Traore.
KJ Malone isn't healthy enough to play this week if LSU had a game, he said, but he’s hoping to be ready in three weeks.
Also, three junior starters on the offensive line — center Will Clapp, guard Garrett Brumfield, tackle Toby Weathersby — are draft-eligible. They all revealed earlier Wednesday that they requested evaluation grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee.
Grimes leaves for LSU's season-opening opponent. The Tigers beat the Cougars 27-0 in a game relocated from Houston to New Orleans. BYU fired offensive coordinator and former quarterback Ty Detmer after this season.
Grimes has led something of a resurgence on the offensive line. In a stretch of seven years, from 2007-13, LSU had just two offensive linemen drafted — a startling number that caused a coaching change, many believe. Coach Les Miles replaced Greg Studrawa with Grimes.
Grimes has overseen a unit that has produced four NFL draft picks in the previous four years, excluding La’el Collins, a surefire first-round selection who dropped out of the draft because of a police investigation that resulted in no charges.