Photo by Eric Francis
Nebraska Football

Hot Reads: It Could've Been Special

February 7, 2020
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According to multiple reports Thursday night, former Kansas State special teams coach Sean Snyder is joining the staff at USC.

If you're wondering why it matters that Bill Snyder's son is headed west, aside from the end of his long association with Kansas State, it's because Sean Snyder's name was the one most often murmured for Nebraska's current opening for a special teams analyst. We here at Hail Varsity were preparing as though he was going to be the hire.

Now he's not. Clay Helton fired the Trojans' previous special teams coordinator following USC's Holiday Bowl loss to Iowa as part of an overall house cleaning that will bring an entirely new defensive staff for the 2020 season. That left USC with a number of full-time openings, something Nebraska doesn't have at the moment.

Given that, and assuming Snyder was a potential candidate for the analyst's role at Nebraska, choosing an assistant's job (with an assistant's salary) instead isn't a huge surprise.

Also clear at this point––USC's getting a damn good special teams coach. Snyder started his playing career as a punter at Iowa before following his father to Kansas State where Sean became an all-conference and All-American punter. Those skills clearly translated to his coaching career. Snyder was elevated to special teams coordinator with the Wildcats in 2011.

Lest the advance research I did on Snyder go to waste, here are Kansas State's special teams SP+ ratings for each of his Wildcat units:

YEAR SP+ NAT. RANK
2011 0.2 51st
2012 1.2 21st
2013 1.3 24th
2014 1.8 9th
2015 1.2 25th
2016 1.2 25th
2017 2.6 3rd
2018 -0.2 74th

Six years in the top 25, two in the top 10. That'll more than do. Nebraska's special teams' SP+ rating surpassed that of Kansas State just twice over that span--2011 (Brett Maher handling punting and kicking) and 2013 (Sam Foltz punting, Kenny Bell on kickoff return).

Look at the special teams SP+ ratings as how much that unit is adding to a team’s overall point differential. Nebraska in 2019 had an offensive rating that outpaced its defensive rating by 4.8 points. If special teams weren’t a part of the game, that would be the Huskers overall SP+ rating meaning Nebraska would be viewed as 4.8 points better than the average opponent.

Special teams, of course, are part of the game the Huskers’ rating there was -2.2 (124th nationally). That drops Nebraska’s total advantage to 2.6, a decrease of more than 45%. That’s really high. The range of SP+ special teams ratings typicall ranges between 3 and -3 points. In all but two seasons, Snyder’s Kansas State units added at least a point to the Wildcats overall rating.

What might've (reportedly) been.

Back to the 80s

I don't have any additional context to add to this at this point, but found this recent Thread from Bill Connelly interesting.

Again, what might've been.

The Grab Bag

  • Nebraska released the new contract details for its assistant football coaches for 2020.
  • What if there were a trade deadline in college football? What would the Huskers have to offer? What would they seek? Derek Peterson and Greg Smith discuss that on the latest Varsity Club podcast.
  • Nebraska women’s basketball has now lost three straight games after falling to Iowa last night.
  • Scott Frost had some praise for Husker fans when it comes to recruiting.

Today’s Song of Today

 
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