by Matt Bowen
January 05, 02010
Do you need a special teams coach in your city?
If so, and if you are in the market for the best in the business, then you need to give Bobby April a call.
April, who has just opted out of his contract in Buffalo, is essentially a free agent when it comes to coaching. And having been in two cities with him during my own career, I can attest that there isn’t anyone quite like him when it comes to coaching a special teams unit.
Special teams can sometimes be a hard sell when it comes to professional athletes at the NFL level, because we know that it equates to a core group of guys who usually aren’t starters on offense or defense. In saying this, it is the job of the special teams coach to get the backups to buy into the idea that special teams is glamorous — despite the grunt work that comes along with it.
I was one of those guys for Bobby in St. Louis early in my career and in my last season as a pro when April was on Dick Jauron’s staff in Buffalo. And, what I think separates April over others in the business is his teaching ability in both the meeting room and out on the field. He is unconventional, he uses props (broom sticks and the likes) and he sells to his players that running down on kickoffs into a wedge is glorious and courageous.
Now, most special teams coaches in the NFL use comparisons to instill that sense of courage when you take on two 300-pound offensive linemen holding hands in a wedge formation on kickoffs. For April, it was always boxing — championship boxing — and the military. Our units in Buffalo were broken down by military names, such as the Seals and the Rangers — and everyone had a role.
Plus, he is fun to play for and — like all good coaches at the NFL level — you want to impress him. You want to come to the sideline after making a big play in the kicking game and get the pat on the back from a coach like April. You want to be successful under his coaching.
And, as we will see come this weekend when the playoff action starts up, the kicking game is big — and can win or lose games in January.
So, if you are in need of some special teams help, it would be wise to make Bobby April an offer, because like any popular gift during the holidays, he won’t be available for long.
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