CORVALLIS — Spending the season on the scout team was tough for Jalen Grimble.
He transferred to Oregon State from Miami last August after playing in 15 games over two seasons, so he was not used to being stuck on the sideline on Saturdays.
After a while, Grimble came to the realization that working on the scout team at defensive tackle every week was a good lesson.
He said the situation gave him the chance to reflect on football and its role in his life. A touted recruit out of his native Las Vegas, Grimble had taken the sport for granted and at times had not put forth the level of effort expected of him.
“It changed my outlook on it, it changed my work ethic toward it, it changed everything in me about football because it gave me the opportunity to practice but it let me know you have the opportunity to play but you don’t really have the opportunity that everybody else here has to be on the field,” Grimble said. “It kind of made me take a step back and look at everything I had done in the past and made me change my ways toward football.”
Grimble made an impression with his play on the scout team, often giving the starting linemen all they could handle.
Those linemen gave Grimble a good test every day and enabled him to hone his skill set.
“That’s a D-I (NCAA Division I) offensive line you’re going against,” Grimble said. “Some of them have NFL potential, so when they can go out in Reser (Stadium) or any other stadium and win games and I get four days out of the week to practice against these guys, it lets you know you’re blessed.”
Now that spring football has arrived, Grimble’s job is to get ready for the upcoming fall.
“Now that I’ve gotten here, it seems almost surreal because the season took so long to get over with,” he said. “And now that spring ball is here, I’m excited.”
As a transfer with game experience, Grimble should be able to step in and contribute.
“We expect him to come in like he’s a veteran and he’s done that so far,” defensive end Dylan Wynn said. “He’s definitely made an impact on the D-line.”
Expectations are high. He has the size and speed that defensive coaches covet in tackles.
At 6 feet 2 and 300 pounds, Grimble certainly has the size to play inside.
He also has those nimble feet that elite defensive linemen use to disrupt an offense.
Wynn said Grimble is able to use those physical tools.
“He definitely backs it up,” Wynn said. “He’s definitely faster than he looks, which is great and typical of a Division-I D-tackle. He’s explosive and he’s a playmaker.
“It’s everything. When you get up to this level, every tackle can make plays, every tackle is powerful, every tackle is fast. It’s how much more powerful are you than the competition? How much faster are you than the rest of the competition? Jalen definitely does that. He’s a great player and we’re definitely happy to have him on the D-line.”
Grimble has been working with the second team this spring.
Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva both played significant minutes last season and are the starters.
The Beavers rotate their defensive linemen, so Grimble figures to get plenty of opportunities to have an impact.
OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker said Grimble has lots of work to do but has been able to fit into the program.
“Frame of practice and the way we practice he’s done a good job, but he’s got to take off,” Banker said. “He needs to be a factor in a big way this year. He has that potential, but that’s what it is, potential. So we’ve got to make sure that becomes real.”