Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey -- September 12, 2019
Opening Statement: Good group this week, Buffalo, very talented specialists. Steven Hauschka, veteran kicker has been around for a long time, has done a solid job for them, kicks off extremely well. Corey Bojorquez, a young guy, a lefty—we’ve run against lefties a bunch here—coming up, so we’ve got to do a great job of fielding the ball with him. Obviously, in their return game they’ve got Andre Roberts who’s banged up a little bit, but if he’s back, he’s as scary as any returner in the league. If he’s not back there, then they’ve got Micah Hyde and they’ve got some other guys, Isaiah McKenzie, very capable. So, we’ve just got to go out there and do our jobs and obviously take care of the things that we need to take care of to go get a win.
Q: How close were you guys to Aldrick’s (Rosas) range at the end of the first half?
A: Very. He hit one from 61, I think, during pregame. Indoors, I’d put him against anything. He’s a very talented guy, but the if the situation calls for it, then we’ll go.
Q: How much were you lobbying to kick the field goal? It was right around 61 or 62 yards.
A: I was just waiting on the word. I was waiting on the question to be asked.
Q: Nobody asked you?
A: I think Coach (Pat Shurmur) was more focused on trying to get a play. He knows Aldrick’s range, we talk about it all the time before the game, what his range is, so that wasn’t an issue. I think he was thinking more of what kind of play we could get to get it closer and then kick a field goal.
Q: As far as his range, does that vary if it’s indoors or outdoors? Do you determine that in pregame warmups?
A: Yeah, it varies based upon the wind and the direction that you’re going. Obviously, indoors is a little different, but I always have a number in my head because offensive coordinators and play callers always want to know, “What number do we have to get to?” Especially in those two-minute situations, where do they need to push the ball down to?
Q: If you had to--you lost to Carolina on a 63-yarder last year—would you be alright with Aldrick trying one of those?
A: Yeah, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. The thing you run up against is, is he strong enough to get the ball up through the goalpost, but you don’t want to put in a situation where you’re giving up potentially a cheap score where you have your field goal team out there and they have a returner back there and the ball is short. So, those are things you also have to weigh as you look at those long field goals. You see it all the time, guys returning long field goals at the end of the half, trying to steal some points, and they end up giving up seven as opposed to getting three.
Q: With TJ Jones back, if he’s active, will he jump to the top of punt returning or kick returning?
A: He’d definitely play. We would definitely use TJ if he’s in there. He’s a talented kid, very reliable. We use everybody on the roster, we’re going to get something out of all of them. So, it’s just a matter of him getting back in and getting acclimated.
Q: What did you think of the job Corey (Ballentine) did returning kicks?
A: He did a good job. He’s a young kid. The catch mechanic thing is still something that he’s working on, but every week he just has to get better, and every situation for him is a new situation. When you look at that stadium, he’s never been in a place like that before. Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University didn’t look like that, so it was definitely an eye-opening experience for him, but I think as he gets going, we look forward to great things from Corey.
Q: He took a couple out from deep late in the game. Is your thought to always be aggressive, or does it change based on the game situation?
A: If it’s a situation where we’re behind, we’re going to try and make a play. Especially if we’re two, three scores behind, we’re going to try and make a play. Again, it’s a catch mechanic thing—you don’t ever want to catch the ball moving backward, you want to catch it moving forward—that kind of stuff. It’s just, he’s a rookie. Like any other rookie in any other spot, they’re going to have growing pains—from the quarterbacks to the corners to the linebackers to the rookie offensive left tackle—it’s the same thing. Every situation for him is new, so he’s just got to make sure—he has to learn from what he did wrong and then correct it so he can have that wisdom moving forward.
Q: What happened on the punt return interference violation? Did Cody (Core) just not see him?
A: No, he saw him. He tried to push the other guy into their guy, and the guy did a good job of just kind of sliding by. It happens. A guy gets a penalty playing hard, I struggle with getting on him. It’d be different if a guy has no awareness about what’s going on and he just makes a dumb mistake, that’s different, but when you’ve got a guy that’s playing hard and he’s hustling—it’s football. This isn’t tennis, it isn’t track, you’re going to have some contact at some point in time, and sometimes there is inadvertent contact.
Q: It seemed like Riley (Dixon) had a pretty good game. Were you pleased with what you saw from him?
A: Yeah, he did a good job. Riley is getting better. Again, he’s a young guy. Yes, he’s in his third year, but he’s a young guy. Especially specialists, it takes them years, a lot of them, to figure out who they are. I had a guy that I coached here a long time ago, and he said it took him until year nine. His name was Jeff Feagles. It took him until year nine to really find out what his routine was and who he was as a punter. He played another 10, 11 years after that, but it took him nine years to figure out really who he was. So, does everybody get that amount of time? No, but that’s just the reality of it. These guys are always evolving, they’re always trying to find ways to get better, and Riley is in that process now. Hopefully it takes him quicker than nine years.
Q: Will Antonio (Hamilton) be more in the rotation at gunner this week?
A: We’ll see. It just depends what happens with him on defense. Antonio is always going to be a guy that’s an option for us at gunner, regardless of what he’s doing on defense, because of his ability to play the position. Obviously, we’re at a point right now where we’ve just got to be smart with him.
Q: Is part of the decision with Corey at kick returner just because Cody (Latimer) has such a big role on offense? Does that take him off the table for you?
A: Again, I think more than anything, I know who Cody is as a returner, and I think when you have a guy like Corey with the ability that he has—he’s a young guy with good speed that’s strong—he has the ability to take it to the house. We want to make sure that we nurture that and bring him along so on the back end of the season when we’re fighting for something, we’ve got him there and he’s a playmaker for us and not just a guy who’s trying to figure it out.