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Transcript: Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Eric from BBI : Admin : 8/3/2023 1:35 pm
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

August 3, 2023

Q: Do you guys feel like you are, as a special teams coordinator, are represented in these meetings that happen when they talk about rule changes and things of that nature?

A: I mean we have our opinions and that is what it is. You know what I mean? It’s like, they see it one way, we see it one way and at the end of the day they are going to make a decision and whatever is best for the game, whatever they feel like is best for the game, they are going to go with it. It is what it is.

Q: Do you plan to experiment more in this preseason, just to figure out how you want to approach kickoffs and the different strategies?

A: It’s something that we are always looking at and something we are always thinking about and talking about because at any point in time you have got to be prepared for, you have got to expect the unexpected. You know there are going to be certain teams that are going to do certain things during the course of the preseason just to try some things out. It’s always like that whenever you have a new rule change.

Q: How has it been working with (assistant special teams coach) Mike (Adams)?

A: It’s been great. We have a history together, I coached him in Carolina. He was awesome as a player. He’s great to have in the room, great leader, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. He’s been really good so far and again, it’s new to him, it’s a new area for him as far as coaching is concerned but he’s doing a great job of picking it up and learning at the same time.

Q: When one of your coaches leaves like that though, do you have a short list available or is that something the GM has to do or how does that work out?

A: I think that’s something that we all are thinking about all the time because you got to be one step ahead of it. A guy like (Vegas Vipers Head Coach) Anthony Blevins is always going to be someone people want. He’s a veteran coach that has been around, he’s had a lot of success in the league. He’s coached a bunch of Pro Bowl players. He’s interviewed for coordinator jobs the last two or three years, so you knew at some point in time it was going to happen.

Q: How much do you think he, with the work he (Vegas Vipers Head Coach Anthony Blevins) did here, deserved that opportunity?

A: Blev has been doing this for a long time and it’s all about opportunity. I told him, I said when I talked to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the XFL) Marc (Ross), I sold him like a used Ford. He did a great job while he was here. He did a great job in Arizona. I always respected his work when we were in the same division in ’15 and that’s when I first met him. He’s done a heck of a job and I look forward to seeing him have success in the XFL.

Q: What did (punter) Jamie (Gillan) do enough of to have this organization bring him back?

A: You just look at the upside with Jamie. He has a powerful leg. He’s young. He’s very, very, as far as his work ethic and how he goes about his business, he’s super mature and he wants to get better. We just have to do a better job of helping him as far as coverage and those things. He’s done a really good job for us and he’s getting better. Every week he’s getting better.

Q: It’s the whole thing is you don’t quit at talent.

A: No, he’s (punter Jamie Gillan) super, super talented.

Q: Are you confident that he will smooth out those rough edges?

A: Yeah, I mean that’s time on task. He’s (punter Jamie Gillan) going to get better over time like any other player, regardless of the position. The longer he does it the better he will get at it. He’s doing the right thing, so we are just trying to bring him along and just get better every day.

Q: Did you see any areas of improvement as last year progressed that stood out to you?

A: Absolutely. In the plus area, he had better control down the stretch, and he really did a good job in the back end of the season. Our gunners obviously helped him but he did a good job in the plus area, just making sure we get those balls, those balls that were touchbacks early in the season became balls downed at the eight, the nine and I think that helped us a lot.

Q: How much nuance is there in special teams to where the layperson or the fan may not be able to notice because I feel like people talk as if it just doesn’t matter?

A: There is hidden yardage all over the place when it comes to special teams. It’s having a really good return game, being able to cover kicks, being able to back your opponent up inside the 10, inside the 20. Being able to push the ball out past the 30 and being able to make field goals and affect kicks through rushing and all those different things that come along with it. That part of the game, I think people don’t really understand to the degree that how important it is to be able to play field position. Especially in the northeast when it gets cold later in the year, we have got to run the football. It makes a big difference, it really does.

Q: What do you think of (running back) Eric Gray’s abilities as a returner? I see him back there with kick and punt.

A: Eric does a great job, he’s talented. He did it in college and he’s a work in progress just like all the rest of them that are back there but he’s doing a good job, he’s working hard. He’s a rookie that has a lot to learn and we are bringing him along like all the rest of them.

Q: I feel like we are in this same spot every but where do you stand on your returners, like who do you want to see get out there and get an opportunity in the preseason?

A: All those guys that are back there, all those guys. You always want to see what you got. You never know until you know. We have got to put them out there and give them all opportunities and see what they got.

Q: How do you balance, like let’s say (running back) Eric (Gray), he’s young and explosive, but you have veterans who you know are going to catch the ball but might not have that same burst, how do you balance that?

A: Well, the most important thing is the ball, you know what I mean? That’s the most important thing. But again, that’s always something that we are constantly working on, and he’s done a better job of fielding the ball, catching the ball since he’s been here.
Good to see they pushed him  
FranknWeezer : 8/3/2023 2:58 pm : link
on Gillan a bit. Hopefully T-Mac is right about him.
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