When it comes to special teams in 2018, Yukon coach Jeremy Reed said he wants to see one major improvement.
“We need to be more consistent with our kicking game,” Reed said. “We missed too many field goals last year. There would be times we would go on a long drive and then have to settle for a field goal attempt, which can be a victory if you are successful, but when you miss those attempts, it can be demoralizing. We need to be better at that this fall,”
Reed said he mostly liked what he saw from his special teams a year ago, but wants to see improvement across the board.
“I thought we did a good job on special teams last year,” Reed said. “We need to be better with our punting. We don’t necessarily need someone to hit it 50 yards every time, but we need someone to be consistent with it. Our coverage on both kick offs and punts needs to improve as well. We were fairly solid last year, but we just need overall improvement. One of the ways we can help that as coaches is to be clear on job descriptions with the players. There needs to be no confusion about what a player’s responsibility is when he steps onto the field.”
Reed said he understands the importance of special teams and how quickly it can influence a change in momentum of a game.
“We make it very clear that when we have our team meals, the special teams players eat first,” Reed said. “The offensive guys know that and the defensive guys know that. That accentuates how important special teams are and makes it clear what we expect on that side of the ball.”
Many coaches will try and get away with using non-offensive and defensive starters on special teams. Reed said he believes in playing his best players but if a young, non-starter is ready to play, they will get a chance on special teams.
“Our guys know my philosophy, the best players will be on the field,” Reed said. “If we have a young player who is giving great effort in practice and is ready to play and has an older, more experienced player ahead of him on offense or defense, he will get a chance on special teams. We will protect some guys that have played a lot of snaps on offense or defense, but we are going to play our best players.”