A major storyline for LSU during its recently completed spring practices was improving a special teams unit that ranked among the bottom of the SEC in nearly every relevant category a season ago. According to junior long snapper Blake Ferguson, new special teams coordinator Greg McMahon has made great strides towards that goal.
“Having Coach McMahon in there has been awesome,” Ferguson said. “We have really rallied around him to soak us as much knowledge as he’s got because he’s got all this experience from the NFL. He knows what playing like a pro really means. So, when we got out there—whether it’s go to practice, go to games, go to meetings—we’re trying to do it as if we’re a pro because ultimately that’s the goal.”
During Ed Orgeron’s first season as head coach, LSU did not have a special teams coordinator. Instead, Orgeron divvied up the duties among the full time staff members. McMahon served as an analyst in 2017, but was not allowed to coach the players on the field. That is something, Ferguson said, that cost the Tigers last year.
“We struggled a lot last year,” he said. “Frankly, we didn’t make the kicks we needed to. Snaps weren’t what I expect of myself. We were just kind of out of whack because we didn’t have the leader in the room that we needed in our coach.”
LSU kickers Connor Culp and Jack Gonsoulin combined to connect on just 16 of 27 field goal attempts in 2017. In hopes of immediately bolstering the position, Orgeron signed Division II kicker Cole Tracy as a graduate transfer. Tracy, who will room with Ferguson, will arrive at the end of spring semester in time for summer workouts with him new teammates.
“He’s a stud,” said Ferguson of Tracy, who led Divison II in field goals made and field goal percentage in 2017. “He’s got a great head on his shoulders and he’s just a confident athlete, which is exactly what we need—somebody to walk in there and be even-keeled the whole time. That’s what we want and I think that’s what he’s going to be able to bring to the table.”
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