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Blog: Revisiting where the numbers stand on special teams coordinators

We interrupt this week of raging against the Georgia defense to revisit an area that fans were upset about last week: special teams.

Actually, we’re revisiting our look from two years ago about how many FBS programs have an assistant coach with the special teams coordinator title.

“I can’t say it’s 50-50 because I don’t know what everybody’s doing,” Georgia coach Mark Richt, who doesn’t have an assistant with that title, said on his radio show Monday night. “It’s not uncommon to have a special teams coordinator and it’s not uncommon to split it up. A lot of teams will call one guy the special teams coordinator but the bottom line there might be two or three coaches that are in charge of different teams.”

Here’s the answer: 98 of 123 FBS teams (79.7 percent) have a coach with the title special teams coordinator, according to listings in the Football Writers Association of America directory. That’s up from 89 of 120 (74.2 percent) two years ago.

In the SEC, only Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Missouri don’t have a special teams coordinator.

Whenever Georgia has special teams disasters—and that’s happened a good bit this season with two blocked punts for touchdowns and a kickoff return for touchdown—the cry is for Richt to name a special teams coordinator.

Richt has split up special teams duties among his assistant coaches throughout his time as head coach.

“Sometimes if you give it to one guy everybody looks at it like, `That’s your job and I don’t have to worry about it,’” Richt said. “There’s a lot of different ways to skin it.”

Among teams with no assistant with the special teams coordinator title: Baylor, Miami, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Penn State and Texas.

Richt said special teams coordinators may be in charge of the meeting time and practice time but share responsibilities with other coaches.

By my count, 20 teams have a dedicated special teams coach that aren’t in charge of another position.

Many teams choose a tight ends, running backs or linebackers coach to be the special teams coordinator.

Boston College’s special teams coordinator also coaches the sam linebackers and the nickel package. Talk about varied roles.

“I can easily say John Lilly is the special teams coordinator because he’s the one that does coordinate who has certain meeting times, who has certain practice times and he makes sure we’re all on the same page,” Richt said of his tight ends coach. “I think it’s a matter of semantics half the time.”

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