Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- May 8, 2019
Q: When evaluating special teams players, do you look at specific positions and see how many different places they can fit or what various roles they will have in the special teams room?
A: “Yeah, they do everything for us. From (QB) Daniel (Jones) to the last guy in the rookie free agent class. They’re all going to work at some capacity on special teams. When we get those guys in, it’s right now we’re in the meeting room learning techniques, fundamentals, and just building off of that.”
Q: What will Daniel be doing on special teams?
A: “He'll do something eventually. He might hold. He’s very athletic. He’ll do something eventually. They all contribute in some form or fashion.”
Q: He won’t be that high on the depth chart, will he? (laughter)
A: “Maybe not -- but definitely on it. All the rookies are on it.”
Q: You bring him in on the punting team, would you? (laughter)
A: “It might happen. You never know.”
Q: What do you like about (S Jabrill) Peppers about as your return guy?
A: “High energy, the guy is a for sure ball handler. Can make all the cuts full speed. He just brings juice. I’ve known the kid since he was 16 years old. I recruited him when I was at LSU. Jabrill is a special athlete. He can do anything -- run the football, catch the football, whatever. He’s just a great athlete.”
Q: Will he have both kick return and punt return responsibilities?
A: “Yes, he’s going to do everything.”
Q: Is that a heavy workload for a guy who might not come off the field?
A: “That’s football -- he’s a safety in the NFL. Those guys primarily do everything. When you look at them, most of them are three-core, four-core guys when they play. That’s just the reality of it, especially a young safety with a lot of energy like Jabrill.”
Q: How happy were you when they brought back guys like (WR) Russell Shepard, (LB) Nate (Stupar), (CB) Antonio Hamilton, guys like that?
A: “Those guys were the foundation of what we did last year. Whenever you can get veteran leadership and you can have continuity, that’s the most important thing. When you get guys that have done it before, and they’ve done it at a high level, and you can keep them in the same spots -- it’s no different from having an offensive line with continuity, a secondary with continuity, it’s the same thing. A core group of special teams players. They’re no different from anyone else. You got to have that continuity if you want to have consistency.”
Q: How do you think (LS Jake) Carlock performed at long snapper?
A: “Yeah, you did a good job. He is what he is. He’s a young guy with a lot of potential. He can run, he’s very athletic. So what we'll see what happens with Jake. We’re excited about the chance of working with him.”
Q: (P) Riley Dixon had a pretty good year last year. What did you see from (P) Ryan Anderson that made you guys want to sign him as a tryout guy?
A: “Ryan is a lefty. Whenever you can bring a lefty in, and you can get a righty spin and a lefty spin is always good. Ryan has a lot of potential. His maturation from last year to this year has been huge. He came here last year to our local day. To see him again this year was a big difference. You can tell he's been working on his craft, and he’s been working hard. It's good to have him in to have a little competition. It’s always good to have two guys in where they can kind of compete against each other. It makes it better.”
Q: We think of his ambidextrous throwing abilities?
A: “It’s crazy, isn’t it? He can throw righty and lefty. He’s a very athletic kid. He was a three-sport All-State athlete in high school. So, the kid is very athletic. I think he was like the all-time leading three-point shot maker, or something like, that in high school. The kid is talented. He has some ability.”
Q: With the Pro Bowl season (K) Aldrick Rosas had last season, how much do you have to coach him right now?
A: “He’s no different than any other player. They’ve all got to be coached. He just needs to stay along the same lines he’s been doing. Make sure he's working hard and just more fine-tuning the details. Being able to be a shot maker as far as kickoffs are concerned, and things of that nature, and just staying consistent with his field goals.”
Q: What role do you see Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey? Quarterback? Tight end?
A: “He's going to have a chance somewhere, right? We’ll put him out there. We’ll find a home for him. He's athletic, he’s a tough kid. We’ll find a home for him. Those types of kids in college that are athletic quarterbacks, they always kind of find a way. They'll figure out something. They’re athletic, they've always competed at a high-level, so they'll find a way.”
Q: Is fullback an option for him? (Dungey)
A: “Who knows -- you never know until you get them out there in pads and really see. This is the shorts Olympics right now. Everybody looks good now, but until you put the past on, you really don’t know.”
Q: Can a versatile player like that help you add to kind of what you guys already do on special teams?
A: “Absolutely, anytime you can get a big athlete that’s tough, that’s smart, that’s played the quarterback position, anytime you can get a style of athlete like that, and he’s coachable and is willing, a lot of good things can happen.”
Q: Does that open up the playbook for you?
A: “Anytime you got a quarterback that can throw the ball, absolutely. He can give you options. He’s a versatile player, and we’ll see what happens to him once he gets here.”