- Sunday, 20 October 2013 09:40
- Author: Greg Poole
Georgia has had a tough season. The offense has been decimated by injuries. However, snafus on special teams have sealed the team’s fate.
All teams have isolated errors by special teams. Those mistakes are almost always costly because they are usually dramatic, momentum changing events – but there are rare. Except at UGA, that is.
Georgia does not have a coach dedicated to special teams.
One might think that all teams would have a special teams coach since every possession ends with a special teams play, escept that end with a turnover or failure to convert a fourth-down; but NCAA rules limit the number of coaches each school may employ.
Many schools have named a position coach as special teams coordinator. Doing so recognizes the importance of special teams and charges a coach with responsibility for implementation of the kicking and receiving game.
Coach Richt has decided against naming a coordinator saying, ““Sometimes if you give it to one guy everybody looks at it like. That’s your job and I don’t have to worry about it. There’s a lot of different ways to skin it.”
“I can easily say John Lilly is the special teams coordinator because he’s the one that does coordinate who has certain meeting times, who has certain practice times and he makes sure we’re all on the same page, I think it’s a matter of semantics half the time.”
Unfortunately, special teams can “skin” you as well. It is not a matter of semantics.
Coach John Lilly (tight ends coach) has three (3) scholarship players in the position group he is responsible for. Three. He might be an excellent candidate for the added responsibility of special teams. But Lilly is heavily involved in recruiting, you counter. Yep, he is.
Here is where the example of other SEC programs become illustrative. Alabama (and others) have hired a number of non-coaching (officially they are referred to as analysts) coaches. Many look at those hires wondering what exactly the value-added could be given the restrictions that NCAA places on non-coaches contact with recruits and other activities.
To me the answer is simple. If Alabama’s analysts relieve actual coaches of enough of the grunt work of recruiting and planning practices, reviewing film for upcoming games, planning special teams strategy (etc.) , then the NCAA mandated limit on the number of coaches is effectively overcome by increasing the capacity of coaches to actually…er…coach. That strategy goes well beyond special teams.
A cursory look at at the practice of hiring analysts may suggest that money is wasted. Perhaps a perusal is in order.