Monday August 25, 2008 (Special Teams Coordinators)
"Deserving Credit" is a series highlighting some of terrific and/or lesser known coaches throughout the country that based on their hard work are worthy of national recognition.
Eddie Gran (Auburn): It amazes our staff that Auburn special teams coordinator Eddie Gran doesn't get the national recognition he deserves. Over the years, Auburn has made a living by winning games through special teams. Part of the magic is the aggressive mode applied by Gran and head coach Tommy Tuberville. In fact, while Tuberville was the head coach at Ole Miss, he earned the nickname the "Riverboat Gambler" partly for his trick plays and aggressiveness on special teams. In recent years, Gran has coached John Vaughn (SEC Special Teams Player of the Year) and Kody Bliss (3 time All-SEC punter). All you have to do is watch how hard the Tigers play on special teams. Watch their fundamentals. Watch their technique. There is a reason Gran's name has come over the past two years for the North Texas job and South Alabama job.
Donn Landholm (Eastern Kentucky): Over the past 6 seasons, Donn Landholm has guided the Eastern Kentucky special teams units. Ohio Valley Conference opponents must be glad that Landholm has changed roles heading into the 2008 season under new head coach Dean Hood. It will be interesting to see how much EKU changes on special teams. For years, EKU has been an extremely dangerous return team; both punt return and kickoff return. Last season, EKU had 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns vs. Jacksonville State using their traditional double wedge. The Colonels went on to finish 11th nationally in kick off return average. In 2003, the Colonels actually led the country in punt return average. Most importantly, the Colonels played extremely hard, protected the football, and kept to their philosophy. Credit Coach Donn Landholm and former head coach Danny Hope.
Don Yanowsky (Boston College): When Don Yanosky left Duke University to become the special teams coordinator at Boston College under new head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, he couldn't have been more excited. Yanowsky is a highly respected special teams coach and he knew he would finally have the chance to coach a group of talented players. In his 1st season at Boston College, Yanowsky led the Eagles' special teams to a third-best punting average in the ACC. Furthermore, both the kickoff and punting defensive units finished the season ranked within the top-20 nationally. Look for BC to continue to play well on special teams under Don "Yano" Yanowsky.