While the Cardinals excelled in some areas - they were tops in the nation in punt return defense – they struggled in others. Most notably, they continually allowed shorter fields for the opposing offense by giving up nearly 23 yards per kickoff return.
In an effort to improve the overall play of special teams, the team has worked on multiple areas every day during spring practice. Everything from field goals and fielding punts, to blocking punts and long snapping, it has all received attention.
"Coach is a big believer in the special teams aspect of the game," Special Teams Coordinator Tony Grantham told Cardinal Authority following Wednesday's practice. We've put a lot of emphasis on it."
Instead of installing new schemes this spring, Grantham, who came to U of L after 10 years with the Navy football program, has stressed the importance of improving overall fundamentals.
"We've really worked fundamentals and techniques," he explained. "We're not really worried about the scheme part so much."
With plans to include some of the incoming freshmen in special teams, those participating now will be reviewed during the summer months to help determine the best alignments and personnel.
"There will be some guys that come in this summer who will be part of what we want to do," Grantham continued. "We want to make sure that the guys that are here right now understand the basics and fundamentals of what we want to do, so we can go back in the summer and watch the video of the techniques and the fundamentals that we are doing."
The Cardinals will conclude spring practice with the annual Spring Game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.