Is Special Teams Coach Really Necessary

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Oct 7, 2012
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#1
I didn’t want to detract from the always excellent Sunday Morning Coaches thread and I figured this topic might need a thread of its own.

So we all agree that Special Teams cost Pokes two wins, although a little more defense in Waco would have sufficed, and OU prolly coulda kicked a game winning FG if Pokes were up by 1 with a minute left. In which case, we’d be talking about defense again this morning. But I digress......

1. Why DONT we have a ST coach or coordinator?

2. If we did have a ST/Coordinator, what would he be doing different that would have made a difference in last couple of games?

I’m really interested to hear from you guys that said you were kickers at one time. And do you have any eligibility left?
 
Aug 16, 2012
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#3
Not going to be the popular answer, but all the special teams coaching and instruction in the world is not going to get a kicker/punter to do their job when the time comes. Look at it like a golfer. Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Sean Foley, David Leadbetter or any other of hundreds of top-flight swing coaches are hired by pro golfers yet week after week, it is the golfer who has to do everything right and week after week, every golfer screws up some times. Does a guy miss a cut because of lack of coaching? Hardly. That being said, a coach is instrumental in coverage schemes but it essentially comes down to a basic philosophy of staying your lane. Even then, it is up to the players, as we saw yesterday when #24 stays his lane yet forgets the cardinal task at hand....tackle the guy with the ball that is standing two feet from you.
 
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#4
Like @OSUinTX said, the coordinator is more for coverages/returns and special plays for onside kicks/fakes. Kickers are all about mental fortitude and executing a repeated stroke over and over.

Everyone clamors for a ST coordinator because we consistently suck in kick/punt coverage coverage. We also haven’t returned a kick in a long time.

One thing of note is that a lot of big time teams put starters on ST. We don’t do that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

steross

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#5
Not going to be the popular answer, but all the special teams coaching and instruction in the world is not going to get a kicker/punter to do their job when the time comes. Look at it like a golfer. Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Sean Foley, David Leadbetter or any other of hundreds of top-flight swing coaches are hired by pro golfers yet week after week, it is the golfer who has to do everything right and week after week, every golfer screws up some times. Does a guy miss a cut because of lack of coaching? Hardly. That being said, a coach is instrumental in coverage schemes but it essentially comes down to a basic philosophy of staying your lane. Even then, it is up to the players, as we saw yesterday when #24 stays his lane yet forgets the cardinal task at hand....tackle the guy with the ball that is standing two feet from you.
Gundy says the same thing and there is some truth to it.
But, who recruits kickers and punters? It seems in the past we were great at bringing in very good kickers and punters and now we are not. Why has that changed? Do the kickers and punters consider that we have relegated their place on the team to not even worthy of a coach?
And, while, like golfers, kickers have to go do it themselves, a good coach can help them to break the slump that they are in or stop a couple of misses from becoming a full-fledged slump.
 

RxCowboy

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#6
All I can tell you is that special teams have consistently hurt us all year this year, and cost us the game yesterday. I have to believe that if we have an adult paying attention to what special teams are supposed to be doing that they will be better than if we do not.
 

Rack

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Oct 13, 2004
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#7
Not going to be the popular answer, but all the special teams coaching and instruction in the world is not going to get a kicker/punter to do their job when the time comes. Look at it like a golfer. Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Sean Foley, David Leadbetter or any other of hundreds of top-flight swing coaches are hired by pro golfers yet week after week, it is the golfer who has to do everything right and week after week, every golfer screws up some times. Does a guy miss a cut because of lack of coaching? Hardly. That being said, a coach is instrumental in coverage schemes but it essentially comes down to a basic philosophy of staying your lane. Even then, it is up to the players, as we saw yesterday when #24 stays his lane yet forgets the cardinal task at hand....tackle the guy with the ball that is standing two feet from you.
Without a golf coach OSU would have ZERO golf titles. Kids are not pros when they arrive in Stillwater for college.
 

Jostate

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#8
Coaches like to talk about the importance of Special teams but actions speak louder.

Can you imagine not having a Defensive coordinator?
 
Aug 16, 2012
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#9
Coaches like to talk about the importance of Special teams but actions speak louder.

Can you imagine not having a Defensive coordinator?
Having a DC is a horrible analogy in regard to blaming missed kicks on the lack of a ST coach.

Despite the apparent belief here, special teams coaches do not teach a kid how to kick. They learned that long before they got here and those good enough to make a D1 team know better than any coach why one kick is successful and another is not. A kicker has one job. Kick the ball through uprights. A coach can tell them where they would like a kick-off or punt placed, but as far as mechanics, a coach can only offer advice on how to tweak a kick to achieve a result. A grad assistant can log and video practice kicks for immediate and later analysis just as well as a coach. A GA can identify when a kicker is planting too close, initiating the upper or lower leg swing too early/late, wrong foot angle, wrong swing plane, etc. based on what has worked for said kicker in the past.

Agree or not, all the coaching in the world cannot get the kid to do what he is supposed to every time. Think Gundy has not worked with TC so he can become more accurate? Think long balls (that frequently miss badly) or an out pattern on the goal line (thrown behind the receiver) has not been worked on over and over and over? Think TC has not hit Wolff on that sideline throw dozens of times in practice yet he still skipped it to him? It comes down to the kids who are far from perfect. Think Amendola kicks this crappy in recent practices??? I highly doubt it. Want a specialist for a kicker? Get a shrink who can get his head right.

The golf coach analogy is poor as well and indicates a lack of knowledge about golf. Golf is not standing at a ball and smacking the snot out of it. The ball travels in different horizontally arced paths, different heights, different spins, different hand position, club head position, different angle of attack, not to mention game management and what is involved around the greens. That is why there is a golf coach. No golf coach at OSU has EVER taught a kid how to swing. They have taught them how to adjust their swing when they need to achieve certain results. Proof in point is Matthew Wolff who has one of the most unusual swings in the game. Think Bratton is trying to teach him how to swing? Hell no.
 

steross

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#10
Having a DC is a horrible analogy in regard to blaming missed kicks on the lack of a ST coach.

Despite the apparent belief here, special teams coaches do not teach a kid how to kick. They learned that long before they got here and those good enough to make a D1 team know better than any coach why one kick is successful and another is not. A kicker has one job. Kick the ball through uprights. A coach can tell them where they would like a kick-off or punt placed, but as far as mechanics, a coach can only offer advice on how to tweak a kick to achieve a result. A grad assistant can log and video practice kicks for immediate and later analysis just as well as a coach. A GA can identify when a kicker is planting too close, initiating the upper or lower leg swing too early/late, wrong foot angle, wrong swing plane, etc. based on what has worked for said kicker in the past.

Agree or not, all the coaching in the world cannot get the kid to do what he is supposed to every time. Think Gundy has not worked with TC so he can become more accurate? Think long balls (that frequently miss badly) or an out pattern on the goal line (thrown behind the receiver) has not been worked on over and over and over? Think TC has not hit Wolff on that sideline throw dozens of times in practice yet he still skipped it to him? It comes down to the kids who are far from perfect. Think Amendola kicks this crappy in recent practices??? I highly doubt it. Want a specialist for a kicker? Get a shrink who can get his head right.

The golf coach analogy is poor as well and indicates a lack of knowledge about golf. Golf is not standing at a ball and smacking the snot out of it. The ball travels in different horizontally arced paths, different heights, different spins, different hand position, club head position, different angle of attack, not to mention game management and what is involved around the greens. That is why there is a golf coach. No golf coach at OSU has EVER taught a kid how to swing. They have taught them how to adjust their swing when they need to achieve certain results. Proof in point is Matthew Wolff who has one of the most unusual swings in the game. Think Bratton is trying to teach him how to swing? Hell no.
You are going to have to show me where anyone said anything about having a coach to teach a kicker how to kick. That is about as dumb as saying that we need a quarterback coach to teach a quarterback how to throw a ball.
Now, adjusting the throw/kick/swing is part of coaching. As is dealing with the issues that come up in a season such as missed passes/ missed kicks/ the yips etc. Sure, a GA could do it for any position. Heck, volunteer dads with little experience do it for pee-wee leagues. But, a proper coach should be able to do things better.
And, no the golf coach analogy does not indicate a lack of knowledge about golf. But your post shows a lack of knowledge of what makes a successful coach of any type.
 

RxCowboy

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#11
These are the teams that have been in the College Football Playoff since its inception. Now granted, there has been some turnover at Oregon and Florida State since they were in the playoff, but still, isn't that where we want to be? Most of them have coaches that serve in multiple capacities including ST coordinator, similar to the role DeFo had when he was here. But, still, there isn't a single one that doesn't have a special teams coordinator or has a grad assistant coordinating special teams.

Alabama
Jeff Banks Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends

Georgia
Scott Fountain Special Teams Coordinator

Clemson
Danny Pearman Special Teams Coordinator & Tight Ends

Oklahoma
Jay Boulware Special Teams Coordinator / Running Backs

Washington
Bob Gregory Asst. Head Coach/Special Teams Coord./Inside Linebackers Coach

Ohio State
Kerry Coombs Cornerbacks Coach, Special Teams Coordinator

Michigan State
Paul Haynes Secondary/Special Teams Coordinator

Florida State
Alonzo Hampton Special Teams Coordinator

Oregon
Bobby Williams Special Teams Coordinator

Just thought I would check a few NFL teams, and all of them have a special teams coordinator.

Agree or not, all the coaching in the world cannot get the kid to do what he is supposed to every time.
No, but good coaching can make some things better. You can take the exact same group of kids and give them a crappy coach and give them a good coach and you will be able to tell the difference. Otherwise firing a coach would make no sense.

We need a special teams coordinator.
 

RxCowboy

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#12
You are going to have to show me where anyone said anything about having a coach to teach a kicker how to kick. That is about as dumb as saying that we need a quarterback coach to teach a quarterback how to throw a ball.
Now, adjusting the throw/kick/swing is part of coaching. As is dealing with the issues that come up in a season such as missed passes/ missed kicks/ the yips etc. Sure, a GA could do it for any position. Heck, volunteer dads with little experience do it for pee-wee leagues. But, a proper coach should be able to do things better.
And, no the golf coach analogy does not indicate a lack of knowledge about golf. But your post shows a lack of knowledge of what makes a successful coach of any type.
Heck, I went to clinics to make myself a better little league coach. There's a difference between guys who care about teaching the kids and making them better and the beer swillers.
 

snuffy

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#13
These are the teams that have been in the College Football Playoff since its inception. Now granted, there has been some turnover at Oregon and Florida State since they were in the playoff, but still, isn't that where we want to be? Most of them have coaches that serve in multiple capacities including ST coordinator, similar to the role DeFo had when he was here. But, still, there isn't a single one that doesn't have a special teams coordinator or has a grad assistant coordinating special teams.

Alabama
Jeff Banks Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends

Georgia
Scott Fountain Special Teams Coordinator

Clemson
Danny Pearman Special Teams Coordinator & Tight Ends

Oklahoma
Jay Boulware Special Teams Coordinator / Running Backs

Washington
Bob Gregory Asst. Head Coach/Special Teams Coord./Inside Linebackers Coach

Ohio State
Kerry Coombs Cornerbacks Coach, Special Teams Coordinator

Michigan State
Paul Haynes Secondary/Special Teams Coordinator

Florida State
Alonzo Hampton Special Teams Coordinator

Oregon
Bobby Williams Special Teams Coordinator

Just thought I would check a few NFL teams, and all of them have a special teams coordinator.


No, but good coaching can make some things better. You can take the exact same group of kids and give them a crappy coach and give them a good coach and you will be able to tell the difference. Otherwise firing a coach would make no sense.

We need a special teams coordinator.
Your list says it all IMO, we need a special team coordinator.
 

RutherfordFan

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#14
I didn’t want to detract from the always excellent Sunday Morning Coaches thread and I figured this topic might need a thread of its own.

So we all agree that Special Teams cost Pokes two wins, although a little more defense in Waco would have sufficed, and OU prolly coulda kicked a game winning FG if Pokes were up by 1 with a minute left. In which case, we’d be talking about defense again this morning. But I digress......

1. Why DONT we have a ST coach or coordinator?

2. If we did have a ST/Coordinator, what would he be doing different that would have made a difference in last couple of games?

I’m really interested to hear from you guys that said you were kickers at one time. And do you have any eligibility left?
I hear you but I hate how osu fans think. How about we make field goal and both extra points. Then we are up 4 actually forcing ou to score a td at the end to beat us with 1 minute left. We lost 5 points Saturday. Missed extra point, field goal and went for two 2nd time cuz previous missed extra point. Yes we need a special teams coach.
 
Aug 16, 2012
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#16
You are going to have to show me where anyone said anything about having a coach to teach a kicker how to kick.
You are kidding, right? That is the entire premise of this thread and others, that we lost the game because of missed kicks that would have been prevented if we had a special teams coach.

Rx, as for your list, all but a couple are actual position coaches who happen to double as ST coordinators. You really think nobody on Gundy's staff fills the role, published as a coaching role or not? Purportedly it is Gundy himself so would it make you guys feel better if his wiki said, "Mike Gundy, Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator"? Think his staff never runs ST drills of any sort during practice? Think an OSU coach never walks over to the kickers and punters to watch their progress during every practice? Of course they do and when coverage drills are run, they are done under the auspices of a coach. When fake punt, formation shifts, etc. drills are run, they are run under the auspices of a coach. Someone on staff, not an analyst, decided which kicker was better, which punter was better, how to set up punt and kick coverage, designed novelty plays and determines which players would work best on coverage teams.

For someone who is a position coach/ST coordinator, which group do you think they spend the VAST majority of time with? Beyond maybe a few extra snaps here and there, I guarantee you someone with a position coach/Special Teams Coordinator behind their name spends just as much time on ST instruction as OSU does. This is also necessitated by STs being manned by position players (with the obvious exceptions). You want these position players spending two hours a day doing nothing but ST drills or would you rather they are spending practice time learning their offensive/defensive position? The premise that OSU STs are somehow ignored or not worked as much as any other school because there is no listed coach is ludicrous.

There are some in your list that do have coaches that only address STs, but some of those schools have entire staffs full of analysts for STs, such as Clemson who has a position coach/ST coordinator, an administrator (which I am assuming is an analyst) as well as a GA, and a staff. Has any of these teams ever had a kicker miss a field goal or lost a game because of a ST play? Of course they have.

Impressive research, but it really did not prove the point like you thought it did since the majority are actually position coaches who simply double as ST coordinators....just like at OSU, only the only difference being the OSU staff directory does not have them listed as such.

As for the NFL, apples and oranges due to money and staff structure. If I wanted to spend the time, I could probably counter with hundreds, if not thousands of HS teams with no ST coordinators and it would be just as irrelevant.
 

steross

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#18
You are kidding, right? That is the entire premise of this thread and others, that we lost the game because of missed kicks that would have been prevented if we had a special teams coach.
Which is not "teaching a kicker how to kick."
It is a stupid strawman. It doesn't even make sense and I explained why. Does a quarterback coach teach a quarterback how to throw? Do they show up to practice unable to throw and get taught? OF course not. You are being ridiculous.

And you ignored the point that we had great kickers when we had a coach, and not as good now. IT doesn't matter whether you think it is ludicrous that people think a GA isn't as good, what matters is results on the field. There are many factors that can play a part in that, and the fact that a good kicker might not want to go to a school where special teams are relegated to a GA could be part of it.

Posting walls of words with strawmen that you knock over doesn't make your point. I won't even bother to respond to the rest of them.
 

Jostate

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#19
Which is not "teaching a kicker how to kick."
It is a stupid strawman. It doesn't even make sense and I explained why. Does a quarterback coach teach a quarterback how to throw? Do they show up to practice unable to throw and get taught? OF course not. You are being ridiculous.
.
Aren't they watching mechanics and constantly coaching towards perfecting the habits? Even Tiger Woods has a coach, he didn't show up not knowing how to swing a golf club.
 
Aug 22, 2006
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#20
We need a special teams coach, we need him to be an outstanding recruiter and to take on another position. I have seen Joe Deforest's name mentioned and he was a really good recruiter and we had above average special teams while he was coaching. I know that we currently use young players and walk-ons on special teams and have since we quit having a special teams coordinator. With the exception of the BSU game I would say that special teams has been at best a liability in every game this season. And has cost us the last 2 games. I don't know why, but Gundy pulled Sinor after the first punt that went for a big return, maybe he was supposed to kick it out of bounds and didn't I'm not sure but seemed odd.