Golden Nuggets: Putting the "Team" Back in Special Teams

Jeff Genyk is hoping to turn Cal's worst unit on the field into its strongest, most consistent unit.  In the link he also talks extensively about the importance of recruiting and the advantages he will bring to Cal's recruiting efforts.

Genyk's years of experience provided him valuable opportunities to be able to help shape and mold the Bears' future efforts in recruiting and in special teams and he hopes to be able to draw from his wealth of knowledge in bringing value to his new position at Cal.

"Most of my stint at Northwestern, I had the opportunity to be involved in at least a couple units of special teams much of my time there.  When Gary Barnett left, I was one of two coaches retained, the other being my mentor, defensive coordinator Jerry Brown. So then I had an opportunity to work on the offensive side of the ball and get more involved in special teams, focusing a lot on the spread and the no-huddle offense.

"I think by-and-large, we were very solid on special teams and an asset to the program. Over that course of time, we were really able to have some outstanding specialists and that always makes a big difference in the unit's performance.  But, most importantly, we were able to take some starters and a lot of 2nd team and backup players and get them highly-invested in their contribution to the overall success of the team based on their 10-15 snaps on special teams each week."

For those that followed the program at Cal with any level of consistency, it was apparent to one and all that special teams was a glaring factor in much of the team's struggles in recent years.  Genyk has had the opportunity to delve into some of the past issues and begin to assess what can be done to get things on track at Cal.

"I've had a chance to watch a lot of film from last year but not so much from a technical standpoint yet," said Genyk.

"It's been interesting; a lot of players have come by and said, 'Hey coach, you have some new schemes for us this year?'  My response is that it's not so much about the schemes but having the great effort, great attitude and acknowledging how important it is to you and the whole program that you give your all.  It's all about effort, attitude and an understanding of the impact that special teams can make in the outcome of a football game.

"I think the specialists' performances demand so much consistency -the kickers, punters, snappers- because their performance is magnified because of the number of reps they take.  If you're a starting linebacker, if you miss a play, you can bounce back and make a play in thirty seconds and all is forgetten.  As a specialist, you can do some incredible things but if you make one mistake, you can impact a whole game and people will remember it all year.

"Consistency is developed by making sure that the players are put into pressure situations in practice, where the outcome of their actions somehow effect more than just them, but the team."  

After the jump Ted Miller looks at Cal's strengths and weaknesses heading into spring, Best will receive an award at halftime of the Cal-Stanford women's game, Monty talks about preparing for this weekend, Alexis Gray-Lawson wins the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, and more.

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