Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider Press Conference

Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider

Press Conference – August 2, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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You’re the one we have to talk to after that practice with all that stuff that went down, is it just kind of a function of the heat and the pads coming on a little bit? Is that what you see?

“Yeah, probably. That was a really hot day. We probably had our biggest practice today. The most we wanted to do. Obviously, that was our longest practice so, guys were getting after it and working.”

What’s head coach Kyle Shanahan’s message when he pulls the team together like that?

“A lot of things, but number one, he loves the effort, but we have to play smart. Some guys were getting in scraps out there, so he loves the intensity and we just have to learn how to play. I think in the final drive there, Kyle was doing more move the ball and really trying to simulate more of what a game is like. In and out and doing all those things right.”

The team brought in a lot of new pieces from last year to this year, just in this first portion of camp. What kind of improvement have you seen just from what you’ve seen on tape to now?

“Well, and again with my first year here, what I can compare is what the offseason looked like to what now looks like. And I can really see an improvement across the board with every individual player, from the techniques and the fundamentals that they were doing in the offseason to now, we’ve made some strides. And so that goes along to all the team units we’re working with too. And you’re hoping that happens, because again, OTAs are spread out a little bit, the offseason is really spread out and all of a sudden you start putting practices together and you’re really hoping to hone all those things in. What I can compare from the offseason to now, we’ve greatly improved.”

What sort of coaching techniques or drills have you really tried to hone in on and bring to this special teams unit?

“Really it’s all of them. What we try to do is really just break down a football play. And we always talk about, whether you’re on offense or defense, there’s certain fundamentals of football that you have to do. You have to block, you have to tackle and really in special teams, we use that all over the field. So we try to break that down into smaller areas where you’re not running 50 yards to do all those things. We kind of start at the beginning of the play, whatever, if it’s punt or a punt return, even a kickoff or kickoff return. And we work on that fundamental and same thing. It’s footwork, it’s tackling, it’s head up, it’s balance, it’s all those things. And then we’ll work it at the beginning and then we’ll try and work it at the end where we’re taking out the running of 40, 50 yards and trying to get more reps.”

A place kicker around as long as K Robbie Gould, how much coaching are you doing and how much listening are you doing?

“A little of both and it’s about us working out– more importantly to me, it’s how he feels and his health. And it’s more important for him to feel fresh going into the first game of the year than it is anything that we want to work out throughout the week. So it’s just constant communication. And I’m learning him and I want to help him and so I listen probably more than I coach, to be honest.”

Have there been any particular players that caught your attention since training camp started?

“A lot really. And I could list most of them, but [LB Oren] Burks and [S George] Odum are really guys that stand out with just their consistency. [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf has done a great job and I try not to name them because there’s a lot of guys I want to mention. But really what I’m trying to do, we’re repping so many guys right now that I’m just trying to learn all of their strengths and I’m trying to learn where we can place them and what position we can put them to help them look their best and to help our team look the best. So, that’s kind of in flow as we keep going.”

A little shot in the dark, but CB Ka’dar Hollman was getting some run with the first team defense today, not a guy most people know too much about. I assume in order to make the team, you have to play a little special teams too. Anyway, has he stood out to you in that regard at all?

“He’s done a great job. And the way we evaluate those outside guys, either the gunners or the jammers, they have a 10-minute individual period when we’re doing punt or punt return. And so, they get all that rep there. And what we’re trying to do is get as many reps as we can for all of them for when they get in the game, in one of the preseason games. So that’s where they can show their best. So, all of those guys, every rep, they get everything, they do counts in our evaluation. And ultimately, we’re just trying to set them up for success when they get in the game.”

Is it your experience that the guys that show up in reps in practice are the same guys that show up in games? Or are there guys that just sort of take it to another level in a game?

“Yeah, I think it kind of comes in all ways, in all forms, but mostly the most consistent guys in practice end up performing consistently in a game. And I even talked to, especially our rookies yesterday, not to get frustrated, because they can only control how many reps they get and really truthfully, they could go into a game and they might not get a rep because we might only punt once or we might only get one punt return. So, they’re building their resume with what they do in practice and then ultimately, when they get a chance in the game, and that’s not promised to them, so they just control what they control. So, I’m trying just to get them to have everything they do be consistent with the same effort in practice, in the meetings and eventually in the games.”

When you get a group of guys that you haven’t worked with before how much are you doing trial and error on where guys fit versus maybe going off of what you’ve seen on tape? Do you try to mix and match and take looks at different guys in this time?

“Yeah, I’m constantly learning our players. Constantly learning how they learn best, how I can teach them best, what their strengths are on the field. So, I’m constantly trying to pay attention to all of that and it comes a lot of different forms. Then our job as coaches, I think, is to fit them in the best place for them to be successful. And so, that’s a big roster right now and so, we’re training everybody now in the same way. And then as we get closer and closer and as we get to 53 and ultimately, every game changes in terms of where we place guys against who they’re going against. And so, it’s kind of broad right now and that will narrow down as we go.”