If you ask any football coach at any level, the play of their special teams can be the difference between a win and a loss. Even though kicking and punting is sometimes not the most popular topic in the sport, it is key.
Here in the valley, there is a special teams consultant that focuses on the important strategies of the kicking and punting games for players from the professional all the way through the high school level. These skills gain confidence for these specialists to be able to execute and compete at the highest levels.
Coach Gary Zauner has has as much of a special teams coaching background as anyone in the nation. He became the first ever full-time special teams coach in NCAA history when he was hired by LaVell Edwards at BYU in 1979. He also coached special teams at San Diego State, New Mexico and Long Beach State. His expertise also branched up to the NFL where he was the special teams coach for Dennis Green from 1994 to 2001 with the Minnesota Vikings. He joined Brian Billick as the special teams coordinator for the Ravens and finally re-joined Green in Arizona as part of the Cardinals coaching staff for the 2006 season.
After retiring from coaching, Zauner has begun clinics, camps and training sessions for special teams players with dreams of one day making it to the NFL. He has coached 22 players who have now become pro bowlers over his career. These camps and clinics, which are attended by NFL scouts, have seen many specialists achieve their football dream.
His training emphasizes a natural style of kicking and punting which facilitates an environment where kicking specialists develop the skills, technique, and confidence to achieve their maximum physical and mental potential.
Now as a full-time valley resident, he is working with high school football punters, kickers and long-snappers as well. He has been working with former ASU punter Josh Hubner since he was in high school at Desert Mountain and now most recently started working with Pinnacle high school’s kicker and punter Ben Sweet.
Hubner is hard at work looking to land on an NFL roster and Sweet, who has only been kicking full time now for a little less than two years, just recently finished second in punting at the Stanford specialists camp.
For more information on Coach Gary Zauner, go to www.coachzauner.com