Oregon football’s special teams coordinator, Bobby Williams, first came to Eugene in 1998 during his time as a coach at Michigan State.
It didn’t go according to plan for the Spartans as the Ducks beat them 48-14, but Oregon caught Williams’ eye.
“I’ve always been intrigued by Oregon,” Williams said. “It wasn’t a good result for Michigan State because they got beat pretty good but [I was] always watching the program from a far.”
Then, Williams got another good look at Oregon when he was at Alabama in the 2014 season for the College Football Playoff.
“We got a chance to break down Oregon and was really impressed by the style, the flair of the program,” Williams said.
Now, Williams is hoping to bring his over three decades worth of experience to Oregon’s special teams. His time with Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal at Alabama helped lure him to Eugene.
“He’s the special teams coordinator so it is his baby,” Cristobal said.
But Williams isn’t in it on his own. Cristobal says that all assistant coaches help on special teams as players from both sides of the ball get involved in special teams play.
Just like getting coaches involved in special teams, Oregon has to get a variety of players involved too.
“We have to develop and find more special teams players,” Cristobal said. “You know how the season goes, if your starters are getting every single rep on offense and defense and you have to take every special teams rep, it gets exhausting.”
With the NCAA approving a new kickoff rule that allows teams to call fair catches inside the 25-yard line to result in touchbacks, adjustments for special teams will have to be made this upcoming season.
What could be the consequences of this rule change?
“Ball being mishandled, ball being kicked out of bounds a bit more,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be experimental.”
At Alabama, Williams had success in the kicking game and says that the Oregon players have accepted and embraced what his plan is for the kicking units. And with five national championship titles in six appearances, Williams has a good idea of what he’s doing with the special teams as he looks to try get Oregon back to a national championship game.
“They had a taste of being in that championship arena, so they know what it’s like to be there,” Williams said. “Just get the program over the hump to eventually win a national championship.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow