How important is the special teams approach to the out come of a game? Must emphasize the importance of special teams. In any program special teams, offense, and defense are all on the same level of importance. Because of the potential swing of of emotions from big plays with special teams you might consider putting your best athletes or play-makers out on the different special teams such as punt block, punt return, etc. Success comes from spending time during each practice to be properly prepared for the game that week.
As far as staff assignments we break it down as follows:
Offensive Responsibilities are as follows:
WR and RB Coach-KOR: Being that KOR is more of an offensive special teams offensive coaches will be in charge of this. WR coach will have back line and RB coach will be in charge of front line. The WR coach will be in charge of scheme.
OL, WR, and QB Coach: FG/PAT: This puts points on the board so definitely an offensive coaches responsibility. OL coach will have front line, WR coach wings, QB coach (also our OC) will have holder and kicker. The OL coach will be in charge of scheme
QB Coach, OL, and RB coach-:Punt: we may do this different but because it is our OC’s call to go for it, fake it, or punt it we let our offense take this. QB coach works with long snapper and punter, the OL coach works with the OL, and RB coach works with gunners wings/personal protector. The RB coach will be responsible for the scheme.
Defensive responsibilities are as follows:
DB, ILB, OLB, and QB coach: Kickoff- Obviously kickoff is huge for field position for the defense so it makes sense. The DB coach has 1/2 outside guys, OLB has 3/4, ILB coach has 4/5, and QB coach once again works with kickers. The position coaches will work primarily with their position players with this numbering system. The DB coach will be responsible for scheme.
Defensive responsibilities are as follows: DL, ILB, and OLB coach: PAT/FG defense- Keeping points off the board will be defense responsibility. DL coach works with DL, ILB coach works with LB’s, and OLB coach works with the edge players. Most of the time we defend for the fake and LB’s will be responsible for watching fake, while outside guys will twist or go for the block when called and depending on scheme for that week. The OLB coach will be responsible for the scheme.
DB, ILB, WR and DL coach: Punt return- Once again although this is a return and many people treat this as an offensive philosophy we many times will substitute only a few guys and keep our defense on the field. The DB coach will be with the outside guys running with the gunners, ILB will work with LB’s, DL coach with the front, and WR coach works with returner.
One approach would be to use as many capable backups as possible for your special teams to get young players experience, get our starters a rest, and also let those that work hard get to see the field. However, many times (especially on certain special teams) you will want to keep some starters on special team because we feel as though they are that important. On kickoff put the players who have the most success at running at full speed and breaking down balanced (not many players are successful at that).
Our mentality is simple- “Be the hammer and not the nail”. This is for every special team! Must be aggressive on your pursuit in coverages also want to preach staying on and finishing blocks in the return game, preach to simply do your job! On kick return our each player has a responsibility and if it is executed properly youe now have great field position and/or 6 points.
Our special team segments beginning of each practice because players seem to be more focused. Monday we will specialty kick for 10 minutes install and execute KO and KOR for 20 minutes. Tuesday will be punt and punt return for 30 minutes. Wednesday will be PAT/PAT defense for 30 minutes. Thursday (our walk though) play the game and cover all possible kicking game situations.
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.