The Arizona Wildcats open the 2018 season against BYU in just two weeks, and UA special teams coach Jeremy Springer is excited to get going with his unit.
“I think they continue to grow together, I see some more leadership around, guys are a little more energetic and continue to progress and progress and that’s what we want to do moving forward,” he said Saturday. “So I’m excited. Obviously we have two weeks to prepare so we have some time, so I’m not overly anxious yet. I’ve still got to install some things and get our team right before we’re ready to rock.”
Springer met with the media Saturday and here are some tidbits from that conversation.
Who are you looking at as far as kickoff returners?
I haven’t found one yet. Not too sure yet.
Who are the candidates?
I’m mixing in with the (defensive backs) and running backs right now, so we’ll see and go from there.
What does (punter) Dylan (Klumph) bring to special teams?
He brings a guy who’s a veteran, who’s been in the Pac-12 before, so he’s a guy that’s kicked in tough games, tough weather games, and things we do in this conference, so he brings a different dynamic that maybe some other guys don’t have.
How would you describe his punting style?
He’s a pocket punter. Pro-style pocket punter. He’s not a rugby, Aussie guy.
He said when he came out here, the ball sounded different...
When he hits that clean ball, you hear it. It’s a good sound and it goes wherever you want it to go and hangtime is good, distance is good.
Is Dylan going to be the holder?
Don’t know yet. We’re still working that out.
How many guys do you train at holder?
You were a quarterback and now you’re coaching special teams, is it an interesting pitch to guys that have come here not necessarily to play special teams, but you can relay them your story?
Everything I relay, I try to relate to the NFL. If you want to play in the NFL, you’re going to have to play special teams. So a lot of guys are motivated to play in the NFL one day, so I use that as a motivating factor. Like, hey guys, you might not start on defense, you might not start on offense, but if you can have a role on special teams, it might propel you to the NFL and have a career just because you’re playing special teams and you’re effective there.
Any update on the kicking competition (between Lucas Havrisik and Josh Pollack)?
It’s still good. They’re rolling. I didn’t want to make decisions until next week and they’re rolling. They’re both strong, they’re both competing their butts off so it’s been a pleasant surprise to see that. And I figured it was going to happen like that and it’s been awesome to see.
We talked about Lucas a lot last time, what does Josh bring to the table?
Josh is an older guy who’s been through the fire. He’s had his ups and his downs, so because of that you become mentally stronger. You faced adversity younger in career, so now you know how to face it a little better when it comes to that competition that we’re doing. Or maybe when Coach (Kevin) Sumlin is around or the whole team is around egging him on, he’s been through that situation before, so having a vet guy like that is important. And he’s a smart guy. He’s a leader ... He’s going to go to class. He’s going to get an A. So he’s an example for those younger guys how you should be when you get older.
Who are the leaders on special teams?
Older guys. I think Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is one of the older guys that everyone looks up to. He’s going to do everything right. He’s going to bust his butt. And even some of the newer guys, Tony Fields he works his butt off on special teams. He might not play at all on special teams, but he sets the example of how it’s supposed to be played, and those are the guys I look to. Shun Brown is another guy who is going to everything right. J.J. Taylor, too. Starters, but they’re in there setting the example for how it should be played no matter if they’re a 1 or a 4 on the team.
Have you done any gameplan stuff yet?
Just a little bit here and there.