Jay Boulware joined Gary Andersen's staff at Wisconsin one week ago. Boulware will coach tight ends at Wisconsin, but the 20-year veteran has made his name in the coaching community working with special teams.
"The key, obviously when playing ‘wefence,’ were you combine offensive and defensive players together, it’s a team game in its purest sense," Boulware said. "A lot of times when you’re a special teams coordinator or other coaches on a staff you just have offensive or defensive kids. When you’re special teams coordinator you have them both."
Boulware arrives at Wisconsin from Auburn, where the Tigers ranked second nationally in punt return yardage defense and third nationally in kickoff return yardage defense.
"The percentages of scoring go way down when you’re starting behind the 20-yard line or behind the 25-yard line. They continue to drop as you go further back," Boulware added. "You play the field position game. That’s part of our plan to win. Coach A (Andersen) is awesome in putting that together. He believes in it whole-heartedly. I believe in it. The staff believes in it and it’s going to be a big part of what we do, just as it was when I was at Auburn."
Andersen saw Boulware's special teams coaching ability first-hand on the opening Saturday of the 2011 season when Auburn used a 97-yard kickoff return and an onside kick recovery to beat Andersen's Utah State team, 42-38.
"He didn’t even want to shake my hand after we beat him at Auburn," Boulware explained. "He looked at me and he was so mad. He shook my hand and threw it off. I looked at him and just started laughing. It was two special teams plays that pretty much cost him. I had my own little chuckle there and he knows it."
Boulware, who worked with Andersen at Utah from 2005-06, now will be tasked with creating those plays for Andersen's team, rather than against him.
"I think the biggest thing that we look for from special teams players is energy and enthusiasm," he said. "We want to play all out all the time. The guys that run the fastest on the sprints are the guys we play with. Those are the guys when you make a big play it excites the crowd. We like to give our football team energy. We think special teams play can carry over to offense and defense."