Tuesday night was a relative news dump in the world of Auburn football, namely in the realm of members of the program departing.
First, punter Arryn Siposs decided to declare for the NFL Draft, which is an interesting move. Siposs was pretty solid this season, averaging 43.8 yards on 61 punts, but he wasn’t exactly spectacular. Furthermore, punt defense was a big issue early on and nearly cost Auburn the Oregon game. Either way, we’ll wish him the best, and he’s clearly grateful for the time he spent on the Plains.
The only other punter that Auburn had on the roster this season was Patrick Markwalter (he has two first names as his last name, crazy!), a freshman from Atlanta. We’ll see if someone steps up in the spring to take on the role of punter.
What’s likely a more impactful departure came earlier this evening:
Auburn OL coach J.B. Grimes is leaving the program. @ITATJason was the first to report.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) January 8, 2020
Gus Malzahn: “J.B. has decided to move on and pursue other opportunities. I appreciate everything he’s done for Auburn. J.B. and his wife Jennifer will always be a part of the Auburn family.”
J.B. Grimes will not be returning as offensive line coach. This move is something that was likely mutual after the struggles on the front line this season, and both Grimes and Gus Malzahn had to know a change needed to be made. Auburn couldn’t run the ball in losses to Minnesota, Georgia, and Florida, and the offensive line play overall regressed from Herb Hand’s tenure. There was word on the street that Eli Drinkwitz had interest in bringing Grimes along now that he’s the head coach at Missouri, and it would be beneficial for everyone if that happened.
Now, as for a replacement, there’s one great candidate already on the staff. Kendall Simmons returned to an off-field role this season for Gus Malzahn, but he seems poised to be a perfect choice to impart his Super Bowl pedigree of knowledge onto the next group of Auburn offensive linemen. His entry into the coaching ranks would add another familiar face to a staff that already includes former Tiger favorites like Cadillac Williams, Kodi Burns, Travis Williams, and Rodney Garner.
We’ll see if that becomes the move, but it would be the easy one, and most likely the right one.