Wilson Talks Kick Coverage

"We just got to prove and make it a bigger point of emphasis and make it cleaner, again, make sure we have the right guys," OU special teams coordinator Chris Wilson said in regards to the kick coverage.

With all the points the Sooner offense racked up a year ago, the kickoff coverage team had its work cut out.

They had to cover a ton of kickoffs, and as everyone knows, they didn't perform very well in those opportunities.

"You know, obviously the thing that stood out the most [poorly] is our kickoff coverage unit," said OU special teams coordinator Chris Wilson. "Obviously, we covered 103 kicks. We let four of them get out the door, and averaged 23 yards. I know all the stats, you know, by heart."

One of those kickoff returns nearly cost the Sooners their season.

With OU leading 14-3 early in the second quarter of the Red River Rivalry game last year, Texas ' Jordan Shipley took one back 96 yards to the house untouched, and the rest is history.

Texas went on to win the game 45-35, but the Sooners, by virtue of a three-way tie, were still able to sneak into the Big 12 Championship and win the conference for the third straight year.

And so that has been a major area the Sooners have been focusing on to improve on in the off-season.

"We just got to prove and make it a bigger point of emphasis and make it cleaner, again, make sure we have the right guys," Wilson said. "So we're expecting that obviously to be the biggest area of improvement, but we're expecting improvement in all the other three phases [of special teams].

The Sooners should have a lot of depth options on their kickoff coverage unit this year, but Wilson shrugged that off as being a possible reason for OU's struggles last year.

"One of the biggest reasons [we can be better] is the emphasis we've put on it," Wilson said. "Like I said before, I believe we had good guys on it a year ago, and ultimately we've got to put them in the right position to make plays and detail it out, and that's the same thing. We're going to have the right guys out there, and the biggest factor is I'm going to do a better job of coaching them."

Part of the reason the coverage team had issues as well was due to the fact that kickoffs were rarely deep or well placed on the field.

Therefore, there's a competition for who will kick the ball off.

"I mean obviously Matt Moreland's (named starter) still in the process as well as Tress Way ," Wilson said. "You could see two or three guys coming out there, whoever gives you the best opportunity."

But one thing's for sure: Wilson doesn't want fewer opportunities to cover, just better execution out of them.

"What our offense was able to do a year ago was incredible," Wilson said. "You always want to see those guys put points on the board. Obviously, you know, whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins, so that's the thing. We want to keep improving and keep putting them on there. If we have to cover 104, it's been a pretty good year for us."


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