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USC Football

USC Scoop's Spring Special Teams Report: Coach Sean Snyder

April 29, 2021

The last position group to meet with the media this spring is typically the last position group that will receive the recognition they deserve. But, of course, if you're Trojan long snapper Damon Johnson, you prefer the respect of anonymity. So on Thursday morning, Special Teams coach Sean Snyder, Mr. Perfect Damon Johnson, and Mr. Metabolism Parker Lewis had their opportunity.

Ben Griffiths was scheduled to be a part of the group this morning, but class conflict took precedent, and that's why Damon was asked to come and sit in silence while we waited for Parker Lewis to join.--You know I'm a stickler for being on time.   Tim sounds the bell quickly after 8:00, and the Snyder begins with the usual coach-speak pablum "I think overall it's been a good spring... We've been able to get a lot of good drill work in... I feel pretty good with where we're at."

For those of you who are not aware, Sophomore kicker Parker Lewis is one of those kickers who is also an athlete; and he can hang with the biggest and strongest guys on the team.  

We asked Lewis about the [WHOOP], a performance tracking device that measures heart rate, caloric intake, and loss, how you sleep, etc.,... to help better regulate nutrition and recovery time for the players.--USC has selected certain players to wear the Whoop-band.  It analyzes sleep, metabolism, heart rate during workouts, etc. Lewis wears it 24/7/365 and is considered a game-changer on an athlete's health and performance. 

The strength & conditioning staff tracks the information collected and then passes it on to the coaches, which helps them design workouts that will co-exist with the practice schedule.  This means no more dead legs from lifting heavy during the week leading up to a game.

So how does a coach develop someone who is already “perfect?”  I asked Sean Snyder this question.--"Damon is so well polished there's not a lot to work on."  Although one area they're working on is improving blocking on the punt unit.  And yes, long snappers do have egos and goals, too, even if they're as understated as Damon Johnson is humble.  When Johnson does speak, he let us know his plans for this season and why he chose to come back for one more season.  "Biggest thing is making sure what I do helps the team out."--But he returned to USC to "finish his Masters, work with Sean Snyder, and to try to win some awards he was up for last year."

With regards to the kick-off return game, Snyder mentioned that he is looking for a dual-threat. One guy will be a blocker, and one of the guys will be the key returner. Spring camp guys competing for the job include Gary Bryant Jr., Michael Jackson III, and K.D. Nixon. Stephen Carr, Keaontay Ingram, and Brandon Campbell are names brought up who will be used in roles too.

Even though USC has the luxury of having a couple of kickers who can put the ball into the end zone on kick-offs, there are times when Coach Snyder wants the ball kicked to an opposing return man for purposes of making a big play and getting the rest of the team fired up.--He brought up the game against WAZZU last year as an example of how a big hit can fire up the rest of the team.  

Some notable names who have impressed Sean Snyder with their "relentless effort" and being completely 100% "bought in" he mentioned were Tuasivi Nomura, John Jackson III, Micah Croom, and Quincy Jountti as some players who give relentless effort.

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USC Scoop's Spring Special Teams Report: Coach Sean Snyder

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