Today’s Topic: Will Ryan Day Have the Same Focus on Special Teams as Urban Meyer?
Everybody knows how much Urban Meyer loves special teams.
If you rank his football loves, special teams comes right after J.T. Barrett and just before John Simon for third place all time.
But the reason he loves it is because it is important. In fact, the field position that is born from stellar special teams is part of his “Plan to Win.” He has data to back up the percentages that he can rattle off for an opponent starting inside the 10 or the 20 or the 30, or the winning percentage of a team that blocks a punt or scores via a special teams return.
Special teams was his baby.
Few coaches have won as well as Urban Meyer, so if he is going to put a plan out there, people should go ahead and pay attention to it.
There are many different periods and drills during each and every football practice. When it came time for special teams periods, any assistants and players not involved would head off into their own corner of the practice field and work on their own things. Meyer, however, was right in the middle of the kicking.
Under Ryan Day, however, that is expected to change a bit. Day himself has said he will still be involved in the quarterbacks, so he may not always be face first in front of the punt block drills or field goal protection.
Day has brought in Matt Barnes as assistant secondary coach, but he also holds the title of special teams coordinator, which was the title held by Taver Johnson a year ago.
So there is some change there, but don’t expect any difference in the amount of special teams focus. Ryan Day will assuredly adopt Urban Meyer’s “Plan to Win” because it works, and all coaches borrow stuff that works from their mentors.
The other question that I have received about special teams and Ryan Day is whether or not he is going to be as militant as Meyer when it comes to players first contributing on special teams before they see time on offense or defense.
Some believe that players are held back from contributing on offense or defense because of Meyer’s need for those players to first do something on special teams.
Is that likely to change?
Don’t count on it.
Talking about the H-backs in his receivers room, this is what Brian Hartline had to say recently. It gives you an idea of why contributing on special teams is so crucial.
“They’re there, so now it’s on them to really go attack it and earn a job,” he said. “Earn a position, earn a role. It all starts on special teams. If these guys can’t get on special teams, then they won’t play receiver at Ohio State. That understanding will not change. If I can’t trust you on special teams, there’s no way I’m going to trust you playing receiver at Ohio State.”