Q&A: Special Teams Coach Bruce Read

by BBI Reporter walterb

walterb: I would like to get your thoughts on what a potential starting lineup might look like on any of the special teams. From what we saw last year it appeared that mostly the second team was out playing specials. Do you have any plans to put more starters on the special teams?

Bruce Read: I think the general philosophy is right. Generally your twos make up special teams. We will spot play some guys who are starting on offense and defense on our special teams. You know though that energy management is always an issue. Because with guys playing 60 plays, you add another 10 special team plays – now he’s playing 70 plays a game. So that guy’s play may be faulted – and you might want to use a nickel back, a first down linebacker – now you get a chance to get a guy who is playing 35 plays a game. You add 10 to his game and that’s 45-50 plays.

walterb: What is it going to take to get the special teams to gel? What factors are involved?

Bruce Read: Right now we are trying to teach everyone the same no matter what. We don’t know who is going to make the team. So we want to teach everyone the same and give every guy an equal opportunity to make the team – and play everybody in preseason. So you end up not putting your best foot forward because you play a whole lot of guys and there is not a whole lot of continuity out there. They are not used to playing together. You know by week five or six the same guys are playing side-by-side and they start getting a feel for how the other guy thinks – and they work better together. The bottom line is preseason is like a scrimmage. We don’t do any live work in practice. I mean nothing. We have not done anything: live rush, live field goal, live punt, live return, live kickoff. Our first live work will be when we line up on Monday night. That will be our first scrum. We do anything we can to get ready, then we go out and play. We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll do some good things, and we’ll clean it up. And, we’ll do better the next week. Bottom line is to get everybody ready and make sure they know what they are doing. And I know a lot of times it is a battle to get 11 guys on the field, because there are so many bodies out there. When you get to the season you have 46 guys and you have a core of 15 guys, and they make up your specials, and that is it. You don’t have very far too look. But now all of a sudden you have 80 plus guys and it can be a personnel nightmare in some ways. So we try to keep it organized the best we can.

walterb: Have you rewritten the play book for this year? Or, is it the same play book?

Bruce Read: No, it is what I have been doing for years.

walterb: And are the players picking it up? Is there a learning problem?

Bruce Read: I honestly don’t know what happened here last year. I don’t know what their play book was last year. I can tell you that players are picking it up very well. We have a very good understanding. The players can see what we are trying to do, and the execution is pretty darn good right now. We have been able to keep progressing. I think the players have a pretty good feel. It’s also a work in progress.

walterb: On defense and offense fans are often aware about the reams of analysis that goes into preparing. How complex are the preparations for special team play?

Bruce Read: You are talking about a game plan?

walterb: Yes.

Bruce Read: We usually look at everything. We’ll look at every player, and I will evaluate each one of them, and we’ll explain it to our players. So they will know what kind of guy they are dealing with. And when they go to block that guy they will know what he likes to do, what his favorite moves are, how big he is, how tall he is, how many years he has been in the league. We’ll break down all the personnel. There is a ton of strategic stuff. There is a whole lot of game planning that goes in.

walterb: Thank you. I will catch up with you next week with some additional questions from NY Giant fans from the BigBlueInteractive.com website.