until Texas vs Kansas

Monday, September 26


Question: What gives?

In the wake of Virginia Tech’s dominant win over Georgia Tech, something occurred to me. Why is Virginia Tech so damn good at special teams and Texas isn’t? There are a couple of competing theories out there on this one, one more plausible than the other.

The first possibility is that Virginia Tech recruits these uber-special teams players—crazed, ball-sniffing special teamers that were born in Petri dishes at Texas A&M by combining the DNA of two psychotic 12th Men from 1968. These test tube lab freaks are then raised on a special farm by whooping, towel-twirling farmers who teach them only three things: blocking kicks, making special teams tackles, and loving the color maroon. Frank Beamer, being the genius that he is, steals the recruits because they’re too dumb to realize that all Maroon teams aren’t the same. They wind up at Virginia Tech thinking they’re in College Station and make insane special teams plays year in and year out. Mack Brown has no access to these recruits because they fear burnt orange like Chris Simms fears the sack.

The other, more plausible, possibility is that Beamer is just better at coaching special teams than we are. I find it impossible to believe that their special teams players are simply better athletes than ours. We certainly have the personnel to do what they do. They’re just better at it. And that means it comes down to coaching. Whoever our special teams coach is, he’s not getting it done. Greg Davis takes a lot of flak, but he does a pretty good job overall. The special teams has been nothing short of disastrous. We need a change in performance or a change in coaching. Sooner rather than later, please.

From what I read on the Statesman website just after the LA-Laf game was that Texas does not have a dedicated Special Teams coach. Are we just too cheap to have one, or does Mac Brown not value special teams as much as Beamer?
The first thing you should know is that Frank Beamer IS the special teams coach at Virginia Tech, so you can obviously see what kind of importance he places on that aspect of the game.

I mentioned this in Travis' post but I'll say it again to debunk this myth that Mack is too cheap to hire a special teams coach -- you can' t just hire as many coaches as you want. There's a limit to the number of coaches a college staff can have. I'm not sure if it's 12 or 13 (because I don't know if Cleve Bryant counts), but regardless, Texas is already at the limit.

So with that said, if you truly want a special teams coach (and I'm not saying that's a bad idea), who off this list are you going to get rid of to get one (or maybe the better phrasing is what position coach title are you going to drop to get a special teams coach)?

Mack Brown
Head Coach

Greg Davis
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Gene Chizik
Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Duane Akina
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs

Bruce Chambers
Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends

Oscar Giles
Defensive Ends

Bobby Kennedy
Assistant Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers

Mac McWhorter
Associate Head Coach/Offensive Line

Ken Rucker
Running Backs

Mike Tolleson
Defensive Tackles/Special Teams Coordinator

Cleve Bryant
Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations

Jeff Madden
Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning
Let's go to the source of this debate, the VaTech coaching staff (http://www.hokiesports.com/football/players/):

Head Coach Frank Beamer

Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach Billy Hite

Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Bryan Stinespring

Defensive Coordinator and Inside Linebackers Coach Bud Foster

Wide Receivers Coach Tony Ball

Strong Safety, Outside Linebackers Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Jim Cavanaugh

Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Rogers

Tight Ends and Offensive Tackles Coach Danny Pearman

Defensive Backfield Coach Lorenzo Ward

Defensive Line Coach Charley Wiles

It looks like thet have 10 also and no special teams coach (since it's Beamer).

I'd make one guy coach the D-line and hire a SP teams coach. Sorry, Tolly, you're the odd man out.
While I agree in theory with you that a defensive tackle coach probably isn't necessary, Tolly has coached up some pretty good tackles over the years. Hampton, Rodgers, Tubbs, Wright, Dibbles, Okam, etc... Mack and Tolly have a helluva pipeline in place there at DT and it would be an awful big risk to send Tolly packing. Just something to think about.
Ned, since you want to take any and all sides to this debate, what would YOU propose? I don't care who we cut as long as it results in us adding a full-time special teams coach.
This debate is tough considering none of us are on the staff or have any insite to who really does what.
I don't know about yall, but where I work some poeple with impressive titles do little more that take up space, and some people with out the title are the real work horses.
Travis, the truth is, there's no easy answer to it.

Yes, I'd like a special teams coach also. But the position coaches that seem to be the natural choice to replace are basically where the strength of the team has been for years. Do you need a defensive tackles coach? I don't know, probably not. But the defensive tackle position has probably been the best position under Mack (maybe with the exception of running back), and I just don't know if it's worth the gamble of weakening arguably the most important position on defense for a special teams coach. Do you need a tight ends coach? Again, I don't know. I'm not a coach. But our tight ends have been pretty awesome recently.

Sorry I'm not really taking a side. I just don't have a good answer. I want to take both sides. And that's probably the same way Mack feels.
during the VaTech/NC State game earlier in the season, ESPN posted an on-screen graphic that ranked the number of blocked kicks during the last 5 years (or some similar time frame). care to guess how it shook out?

1. VaTech
2. Texas
3. NC State

i think we're doing fine on special teams, except kickoff coverage of course.
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