Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
April 1, 2016
Q: How do you kick off to start games now?
A: That will be an interesting one with the new rule with the touchback coming out to the 25. Iím sure we are all going to research and see. Obviously there [are] two schools of thought, one you bang it out and give them the ball at the 25 and the other one is you hang it up somewhere around the goal line with great hang time and location and you cover it and hope to gain --- tackle them inside the 20 or at the 20, so it is a five-yard swing there.
Q: Do you think more teams are going to kick it higher and shorter to try to keep them inside the 25?
A: I donít know. I mean we have been looking at a lot of college tape and they have had that rule for the last couple years and it is a mix. There are some teams that feel good about their athletic ability and hang it up there and try to keep it in and there are other teams that just bang it out so I think it will be a mix.
Q: When they calculate average starting position, they count touchbacks. What is the average starting position at least as far as you are aware on just kickoffs that are returned? Do you have an idea?
A: Ah no. Usually it is around 21 and a half, 22 with the touchbacks, so I donít think it would be that much --- maybe 23, 24 off the top of my head.
Q: Do you find it curious that this is the way they are going? They essentially wanted to limit the violent collisions but now this seems it will probably increase the number of kickoffs that are returned.
A: It could. We donít know what the result is going to be. so we will have to take a look at it but everyone wants the game safer, so we are all striving to do that in how we teach tackling, blocking and so forth. When they made the move, five years ago now, that decreased it quite a bit with the touchbacks because people can just kick it out of the end zone.
Q: Does this change how you coach the kickers? Do you now put more emphasis on directional?
A: We have always been directional. We have maybe kind of brought it in a little bit more so than when it was kicked off from the 30 just to kind of --- the power zone between the hash and numbers. Teams may be working more on location to help them out, but with the weather that we play in, we always have to be prepared to kick and cover, so we donít just line up the middle and bang it out like some other teams do.