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Virginia's special teams units to utilize more straightforward approach

Virginia Special Teams Coordinator Anthony Poindexter carries no overblown sense of expertise in certain aspects of his job. When it comes to coaching the team’s kickers, for example, Poindexter’s philosophy is “to get the best one I can that knows how to kick when he get here,” he said with a grin.

Poindexter – entering his seventh season as a Virginia assistant and his first in charge of special teams – possesses a straightforward approach to dealing with the kickers and punters he oversees. He might not be able to correct their form, but he believes he knows how to get them in the proper frame of mind.

“I think with these kickers, man, a lot of it is mental,” Poindexter said. “They got all these guys they go to in the summer time. All of our kickers were out with this specialist or that specialist. I'm not a specialist anything. But they go and they learn their techniques from these guys, and I just want to give them an atmosphere where they feel comfortable that we're not going to be jumping down their throat if they miss one. Obviously, at the end of the day they've got to make kicks and make punts and all that stuff, but I want to give them a comfortable environment so they can succeed.”

Last season, Virginia split up kicking duties between Robert Randolph and Drew Jarrett. Randolph was responsible for field goals – he converted 17 of 19 and was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award – while Jarrett handled most of the extra points (17 for 17). Poindexter said such a strategy would not be employed this season.

“That’s just not how I envision it,” he said. “Ain’t nothing wrong with it … But for me, if we’ve got a guy that can kick the field goals at a good distance, you know, let him kick the field goals, let him kick the PATs, and then if you’ve got a strong-legged guy that can do the kickoffs like (Chris) Hinkebein did last year and put ‘em in the endzone, well then let him do the kickoffs.”

Likewise, Poindexter said he would not hesitate to use the best players he can collect to man the coverage units.

“I don't look at it as a feel-good, that's the way people get to the field and get into the game,” Poindexter said. “You can win or lose games with your special teams, and me and Coach (Mike) London are on the same page with that. We'll use whoever we have to use to perform well on the special teams.”

By Steve Yanda  |  August 6, 2010; 8:01 AM ET
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