COVID Made Special Teams Hard to be Special in 2020

Pig Trail Nation

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ special teams were inconsistent at times in 2020 and Scott Fountain explained how all the COVID protocols made it difficult to be consistent.

Following Monday’s practice, Fountain explained how all the COVID protocols made his job more difficult.

“I think we’re more prepared with any kind of protocol we come to, but last year, this is kind of my world,” Fountain said. “We’re getting tested on Sunday, I believe, Tuesday and Thursday, so I find out on Monday I lose a guy. I might find out on Wednesday I lose a guy, but maybe you can imagine preparing all week and then Friday come in and six guys are out. So, last year, the Auburn game we lost about eight guys and it was really tough. To go into that game and I have a third team, probably fourth-team guys that I worked at third-team, and he’s starting the game.

“Those things are tough, but it’s also tough for the defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator. But for me, if they lose a guy on defense or offense, well, that guy I had on teams, I might have lost him on the team because now he’s got to play more offense and defense. So there’s a lot more that goes into it on my end. But the protocol of it and the testing and all that, I mean in the Delta variant, you worry about it and hopefully they’ll get all that under control. But it’s different from anything I’ve ever done before.”

Vito Calvaruso is back to kickoff and last year he helped the special teams by putting the football in or out of the end zone.

“Last year, our coverage units what helped us in kickoff was we had Vito, who could kick it out some,” Fountain said. “That’s seventy percent, seven out of 10, you ain’t got to cover, technically. In the punt world it’s not the case. I just feel like last year we were doing a lot of developing with guys and you had this COVID issue going on, but our kids work so hard. I’m real pleased with where we’re at with our coverage units. We are, we’re putting our best players (in there). We’re not keeping anybody off of our coverage units. I think you’re going to see a better coverage unit out there this year and I think the kids will have a little bit better concept of what we’re trying to do.”

Arkansas will practice again this afternoon.

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