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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why I Hate Special Teams

Please hold your "THIS IS WHY UCONN SUCKED ON PUNT THIS YEAR" comments.

Its a slow week in sports (and in my personal life). I've been sick and trying to train, and the most exciting part of my day was coming home to find my mail box shattered. I could almost respect it if it was a couple of kids playing mail box baseball. Sure, in my teens I rode shot gun with my Aluminum Easton proudly nestled between my legs so I can sympathize with the "Townies' getting bored on a Wednesday night and taking a little BP on my mail receptacle. But no, I'm even denied that pleasure. The plow took it out. So I figured, with nothing else to write about, I’d entertain you with something that’s been bothering me for longer than I care to remember.
Here’s something I probably wanted to write for about five years, but just couldn’t for several reasons. Special Teams are anything but special. No other venue in college sports or football for that matter makes you feel so very disposable. Unless you’re a kicker, and then you hardly matter anyway (to your teammates at least). Special teams sucks because it’s either at the beginning of practice and you are hardly stretched out or in the middle when it’s the last thing you want to do because you know 20 minutes later you will be called upon to perform you’re real duties.
I was a long snapper, the most thankless position on a football field. I did it from the time I started playing (about age 8) until the time I graduated from college (this year). And let me tell you something, I’ve hated every snap I’ve ever shot back there. If you do it right, no one cares. Do it wrong and you’re automatically the Scape Goat. One bad snap and you are automatically the target of you’re coaches verbal assault.
“Shit, I’m sorry coach. I’d like to see you hurl this oblong spheroid, between your legs, 15 yards in under 1.75 seconds. And be accurate within 12 inches.”
Kickoff Coverage, Punt Return, Kickoff Return, Punt. There is a reason that coaches give names like “Pride Squad” Or “Head Hunters”, its to cover up the fact that this shit sucks. You can slap that Mercedes hood ornament on your Daewoo, but guess what, its still a piece of shit. Then of course there is the company line “this is just as important as the other two phases.”
Oh yeah? Then why is my “other phase” meeting for 2 hours and this phase only meets for 20?
Because football coaches were once players too, and they definitely know how much special teams suck. It’s a great way to see the field no doubt, to show the coaches you can play. But forget any shred of bodily respect if you want to play special teams, you might as well be a tackling dummy or giant slab of meat.
And that is why I hate special teams.


Tim said...


Your "Not So Special Teams" had a rather large impact on my career. Thanks!

Your friend,

Walk On Boy said...

Well, I can pretty much guarantee that you will be long snapping in Austria. Short and long. As well as probably playing on the other special teams.

And agreed on the back-up long snapper thing. Long snapping is difficult enough, but even worse when you have to do it after going through an entire practice, while {typically} the starter has basically hung out in the Kicking Team Country Club {although one day in two-a-days our coaches made our kickers do one-on-one Oklahoma drills with a running back, highest of comedy}.

Getting your ass chewed {or running on a campus street to retrieve a ball because the head coach has determined that the kicker's shank was entirely caused by an errant snap} for something you practice a minimal amount is never a good time.

But somehow in my fantastic special teams experiences, I've found an appreciation for it, while you've found straight animosity. Could be because you actually played meaningful snaps on defense. That, or I'm a moron. Practicing special teams sucks.

Pete said...

"But forget any shred of bodily respect if you want to play special teams, you might as well be a tackling dummy or giant slab of meat."

That's why Deon Anderson and Anthony Sherman are such BEASTS and good football players. If UConn had more players like them we wouldn't have any problems with special teams.

Jamie said...

This is why UConn sucked on punt coverage this year

MG213 said...

It wasn't the coverage that sucked... it was the protection