Jackets Looking to Get Special
By Matthew Osborne
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Coming to the Flats from the Canadian Football League, David Walkosky has nine years of coaching experience as a special teams coach/coordinator.
Following yet another season of disappointing performances from his special teams units, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson recently announced the addition of veteran coach David Walkosky to the Yellow Jacket's staff.
A 20-year coaching veteran, Walkosky will become the first full-time special teams coach for the Jackets under Paul Johnson.
Coming to the Flats from the Canadian Football League, Walkosky has nine years of coaching experience as a special teams coach/coordinator. He last served in such a capacity at Washington State University in 2007.
The addition of Walkosky should go a long way in silencing Georgia Tech fans who have criticized Coach Johnson for his refusal to hire a special teams coach up to this point. Coach Johnson was openly frustrated with the Yellow Jacket’s performance on special teams last season, and he is hoping that Walkosky’s presence will bring immediate improvement to a part of the game that is often underappreciated.
“David is already here on campus and he has hit the ground running,” Johnson said. “He will do a great job in coordinating our special teams and I’m excited to have him join our staff.”
Now settled into his role in Atlanta, Walkosky will face the difficult challenge of turning around a special teams unit that routinely drew the ire of their head coach last season.
The punt and punt return units finished somewhere around the middle of the pack in the conference last season statistically, but Coach Johnson still believes that there is room for improvement in both of those phases. The Jackets gave up an average of just 6.31 yards per punt return, but sophomore Sean Poole averaged less than 40 yards a punt on the season, which hurt the net average. In the return game, freshman Zach Laskey did a nice job of cleanly fielding punts, minus his costly muff against Virginia. However, Laskey does not have the athletic ability to be considered a true “threat” as a return man.
Unequivocally, the biggest area of concern for the Yellow Jackets will be in the kicking game. The Jackets ranked 59th in the nation in kickoff return defense, but that statistic is not an accurate reflection of Tech’s kickoff game, as many of Justin Moore and David Scully’s kickoff attempts fell painfully short of the end zone. Tech’s poor kickoff performance was compounded by a dismal 61.1% conversion rate on field goals; A statistic which includes two blocked field goals.
In the kickoff return game, the Yellow Jackets finished at the bottom of the ACC, averaging a mere 19.2 yards per return. Tech has not returned a kickoff for a touchdown since their contest with Maryland in 1998.
Other than the defensive front, special teams is the only major area of concern for the Yellow Jackets entering spring practice, which starts up on Monday. Regardless of whether their problems have been a result of incorrect personnel or poor schemes, Georgia Tech fans are simply hoping that Walkosky will be able to make the Yellow Jackets competitive in the special teams once again.