Pola on special teams

Kennedy Pola discusses special teams

"The great thing to see has been the enthusiasm of the guys who want to compete, who want to come out and earn a spot on special teams. We have competitions for every return job, every kicking job, it's amazing to see. We got some young kids with real skills and we need them to trust in us and play hard, give us effort. Coach has really stressed an attitude of football and I think the attitude of the young men is going to make the difference.

We need to be sound, I'm not saying we need to go block every kick, but we need to be reckless while playing under control. I don't have an ego that my way is the only way, I had a coach once who said we didn't recruit you to mold you and put you in a jar with only one way to play. We recruited these young men and let's go out and find a way to make it happen. I just love it, I really do, I love being able to watch these young men work hard to do something that people say they can't do. When we get hit in the mouth I want to be the first guy they look at and I want it to be a positive look so they can go out there and give it their best.

I've talked to a lot of special teams coaches to get advice but when I was a running backs coach I would always be talking to other coaches to learn something. I would talk to offensive line coaches, defensive coaches, anything to try and get an advantage. I talked to Russ Pernell, who was the special teams coach when I was here, I talked to Gil Haskell who was a special teams coach here and with the Rams. I talked to guys who coach kickers, I talked to guys who coach holders and snappers. For the long snapper we brought in a junior college long snapper on a full scholarship and I don't know when was the last time USC did that. In his early performances without a lot of pressure he has really done well getting the ball back there so I'm glad we gave him that scholarship. Joe Boskovich was having some problems with his velocity and he wanted to work on it so he spent two weeks in San Diego from a specialist in long snapping. I work with my kickers and send tapes to their kicking coaches to see if there is anything they see that we can work on. Little things can mean so much and those coaches like to tinker with things like a golf coach does.

From my experience when I was coaching running backs and also coordinating special teams my priority was always to look at the running backs and then the special teams. Now I have the ability to focus my attention in one area and I'm gonna have a lot of sleepness nights working on this until we get it right."


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