That old softie, Jimmye Laycock, nearly went Roy Williams when the topic of Jonathan Grimes and his career came up after William and Mary's 25-23 season-ending win at Richmond.
Grimes logged his third consecutive 200-yard rushing game and concluded his remarkable career with the school single-season rushing record, as well as career rushing yards, all-purpose yards and most of the first-place votes for the hardest working man in Tribe show business.
Laycock was asked during the post-game presser if he could put Grimes' career in perspective.
"We don't have enough time," Laycock replied. "I'd love to, but I couldn't do it justice trying to do it and capsulize it here right now. A phenomenal, phenomenal career."
Laycock paused and began to tear up before choking out, "We'll miss him, we'll miss him." He lowered his gaze toward the table at which he sat and composed himself as reporters asked questions of surrounding players.
Grimes is clearly one of Laycock's all-time faves, not just because of his productivity, but his work ethic, ceaseless motor, professional approach and attentiveness as a student as well as an athlete.
Grimes was typically reluctant to talk about himself or his accomplishments after rushing for 205 yards and, as usual, attracting the bulk of the defensive focus.
"The O-line was fired up all game," Grimes said. "That just made my job a little bit easier."
Grimes rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown in the first half, as he averaged 6.7 yards per carry. Richmond contained him a bit better in the second half, as he ran for 72 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per carry.
Typically, Grimes blamed himself for not taking better advantage of some of the one-on-one matchups and making tacklers miss in the second half.
Still, he gained tough yards throughout the second half, particularly on the Tribe's winning touchdown drive. He ran for 34 of W&M's 74 yards on the drive and caught a pass for 10 yards when the Tribe faced 2nd-and-13 at midfield.
Grimes saved the best for last this season. He ran for 640 yards in the Tribe's final three games and finished as the CAA's rushing leader (1,431 yards, 130.1 per game) ahead of Towson's Terrance West (1,242, 124.2) and Delaware's Andrew Pierce (1,279, 116.3). He was the conference's runaway leader in all-purpose yards (2,510, 228.2 per game).
The disappointing part was that two of Grimes' three vintage performances came in losses. Saturday's result prompted a bit of spin from him and Laycock.
"We're very pleased to end the year -- it's been a while since we ended the year with a win," Laycock said. "Even though we're not in the playoffs, but that's one of the drawbacks of the playoffs: Sometimes you don't get a win at the end of the year, and at least we got a win this year."
Indeed, though 2003 was the last season W&M finished the season with a win -- playoff losses and regular-season losses to Richmond in non-playoff years accounted for the season-ending streak -- no one in the Tribe camp would suggest that a Richmond win at the end of a 5-6 season was more desirable than a postseason appearance.
It was simply a nice way to end a disappointing season. Time to move on. Unfortunately for the Tribe, without one of the best players in school history.
From the Tarpit: Fond farewell for William and Mary's Jonathan Grimes
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