Mike Stock Q&A

Special teams coordinator re-charged and 'excited' to be in Green Bay

Mike Stock was named special teams coordinator of the Green Bay Packers by head coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday. The 66-year-old Stock has more than 42 years of coaching experience under his belt.

Stock did not coach last year after undergoing hip replacement surgery, but says, "I'm excited, as excited can be. I'm reborn," about his new job with the Packers. Here are some of Stock's answers to questions by the media during a conference call on Thursday:

Q: After spending 2005 out of football, how did this all come together. What is your relationship with Mike McCarthy like?
MS: "The year out of football was based on necessity. I've been dragging a right hip that was terribly sore and painful for a couple of years. I wanted to have surgery done, so I had replacement surgery done, and it enabled me the process to go through rehabilitation, a slow-down process without having to worry about the practices that come up in the spring after the draft and the preparation for the preseason in July. It enabled me some time to get my battery recharged, if you will.

"In terms of coming back to work, that was always on my mind. I entertained the possibility of going back to a college, where I have spent most of my career and enjoy very much. The last 15 years have been pretty much with the pros, except for a three-year stint at Ohio State.

"In terms of how it came about, you have connections in terms of people you've worked with and have worked for in previous years. The whole thing in wanting to get a job is contacting the connections to see what the possibilities would be. There's a network that you work with and work under. Through those people, you make additional contacts.

"Coach McCarthy and I spent a brief period of time working with the Kansas City Chiefs. There's professional expertise that we share with one another, and that's basically why we've talked about this job. It's strictly a professional thing. I respect what he has accomplished in his career, and I think he respects what I have accomplished in my career."

Q: What have you learned most as special teams coach over the years? What is the most important aspect of special teams?
MS: "Don't get too high too fast and don't get too low too fast. The reason I say that is because I've been involved in some games where a lot of things happen fast in the ballgame. For instance, we come out in the second half and the (opposing) kicks off and our guys return it for a touchdown. You're jumping up and down on the sideline and you're happy as hell, but the next play is the placement for the extra point. You've got to make sure you've got your guys out there and they're not out celebrating some place.

"Another thing is you're on the sideline and your offense throws an interception and the other team scores a touchdown. Bang, bang. Now everybody is complaining and ticked off, but you've got to put the extra-point rush on the field. Those guys have got to be there. In other words, the next play is always the most important play and everybody has to be on the same page.

"So one of the most important things I've learned is the game is fast, but you have to have your wits about you and you have to be ready for a sudden change and make quick adjustments. Everybody has to have their thought process with them all the time. You've got to be a play ahead a lot of times, too. … There's all kinds of things, but things happen fast. You've got to be a step ahead, and you've got to be able to react."

Q: What do you know about Green Bay's special teams under John Bonamego? What changes do you plan to make, or do differently?
MS: "Being in the league, you're familiar with the same scheduling and things you go through as a coach is pretty close. You talk with people in the off-season to see if there is any way you can improve yourself with the way things are being done elsewhere. "I'm not real familiar with what went on. I do know Coach Frank Novak very well. When I was in the league back in 1987 with the Bengals, he was the running backs coach with the Houston Oilers at that time. Of course he changed from running backs coach to the kicking game and special teams after a while. But I wouldn't be familiar with what they did here. I know they were pretty consistent. Beyond that I wouldn't have any idea. "I know Coach McCarthy will have a schedule that he wants to run by, and we talked about that in the interview. It's close to the things that I've been involved with and what other people have coached. Whatever adjustments we have to make once we start out, I think we'll both be flexible enough to do that."

Q: What do you know about B.J. Sander?
MS: When I was with the Redskins, I worked him out at Ohio State. I coached there with Coach Cooper. I know he was out of Cincinnati. I think he only started (at Ohio State) for a year, but had a phenomenal year. … I do know that there has been a sequence of inconsistency. When I was at Ohio State, he had a great workout, but that's not the same as nine or 10 people rushing, you're on the clock for getting the ball away and there's a wind in your face, or blowing across the field. Under pressure it's a little bit different with all the people in the stands and so on and so forth. Certainly, he had enough preparation in terms of what he did in college with the crowds and playing football at Ohio State and all the other things that go along with the experience. But the NFL is a little bit different.

"Sometimes kickers and punters need to work their way through this experience where they really feel comfortable again and be able to use their abilities to the best of their ability. In other words, they can get the best out of themselves once they feel comfortable in a situation. I think it's just a matter of time. The guy's got talent, otherwise they wouldn't have drafted him, like they did. Now it's a matter of settling down and punting to the best of his ability."

Q: What are the importance of special teams in today's game?
MS: Coach McCarthy is a firm believer in all three aspects of the game. We coached under Coach (Marty) Schottenheimer, who is an extremely good football coach. Having learned from him about the importance of all three aspects … if you just break down games – high school, college or professional – field position plays an important outcome in the games. You can watch the (Chicago) Bears play, and for them it's the same thing. They didn't have a great offense but for the most part their offense didn't get them beat. They played field position with the kicking game and punting game and their defense. Teams can win games that way. If you got three modes working, and they're clicking on all cylinders, then you've got that much more of an opportunity to win.

"When Coach McCarthy and I talked about this job opportunity, field position is an important phase on whether the Packers can win or not."

Q: You're certainly going to increase the average age on the staff a little. Do you feel your experience can help some of the younger coaches on the staff?
MS: I'm as spry as I can be for anybody my age. I've got two new hips and I'm fired up and ready to go (laughs). I'm going to have a big enough job just handling what I can handle, but certainly experience will be a big help. There's got to be a blend of personalities and age and experience on the staff no matter where you are. If I can help, I'm going to do that."

Q: When you see an underperforming punt return and kickoff return team, will you try to improve the blocking scheme, or the return men?
MS: "You can't just take one aspect and say that's the reason why. It's a combination of things, I'm sure. You have to start, first and foremost with the guy fielding the ball. There are ways to start the return. If you're talking about punts, the guy cannot go back and catch it side-saddle. … You've got to square up on the ball, catch it and you're eyes have got to be on the ball before you even start to move. … Blocks are important, but you can't hold them forever in space. That's the hardest part of the special teams, or kicking game, if you will. I'm not going to call them special teams until we earn it. The bottom line is this: The blockers have a tough row to hoe because of the space and the guys they've got to contend with. The angles are tough, and the decision-making process when the ball comes back is tough. But those are the decisions that we have to make better, so we don't have penalties. That's the other thing we have to eliminate. … We have to make good decisions, help the offense get good field position, so we don't have to go the long, hard route everytime."

Q: Are you a high-energy guy on the sideline?
MS: "Let me tell you this. The doctors told me I can't run anymore. I can jump up and down, but I don't know how high (laughs). I'm enthusiastic, but I don't know about running fast. I'll be excited. I'm fired up and ready to go.

"Green Bay is the epitome of any kind of football. The fan base there and the team, they have an investment in this. They can't wait for the next football season to start. I'm excited to be a part of this. I won't be running up and down the sideline too much, but I'll be excited as all get-out. The officials will know I'm there."

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