Hopefully you read the David Walkosky story that I wrote for Sunday’s paper. As I think I said earlier, time will tell how this hire works out, but he sounds like a good choice for Georgia Tech. A few details that I couldn’t fit into the story:
1. When he heard from Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer that Tech might be hiring a special-teams coach, Walkosky said he wasn’t looking to leave his job as defensive coordinator of the Calgary Stampeders. As he put it, he doesn’t “chase logos.”
However, Priefer’s endorsement of coach Paul Johnson (the two worked together as assistants at Navy, and Johnson called Priefer “a really close friend of mine”) made a difference, as did Walkosky’s guiding philosophy on choosing jobs – “who you coach with, who you coach for and a chance to win. Other than that, nothing really matters.”
Priefer found it noteworthy that several of Johnson’s assistants have stayed with him several years at different jobs. (Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon, for instance, was hired at Georgia Southern and went with Johnson to Navy and then to Tech.)
“You don’t see that (often),” he said. “That says a ton about him as a person, as a man and as a coach. That really intrigued me.”
While he didn’t know any assistants, that spoke enough to the “who you coach with” leg. And he saw the chance to win at Tech.
“Everyone in the country knows Georgia Tech, around the world knows Georgia Tech as a phenomenal school and great football,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”
(Johnson’s side of the story: “I think when I interviewed him and talked to him, I though he had some good schemes and some good ideas. A lot of the stuff – the techniques and stuff – is similar to what we’re doing. He’s high energy, he had a lot of great recommendations. One of the guys, Mike Priefer, who is a really close friend of mine, special teams coach of the Vikings, was really, really high on him. The more I talked to him, I thought, ‘Hey this guy would be a good fit.’”)
2. Walkosky has developed a network of special-teams coaches that he consults and visits with. He got to know Chuck Priefer (Mike’s father) when Walkosky was at Toledo and the elder Priefer coached special teams with the Detroit Lions. (Detroit is about an hour from Toledo, which happens to be the headquarters of my favorite Chinese restaurant from college, Magic Wok. I want to say I ate there 10 days in a row once or something like that.)
“I’d spend a couple days with [Chuck Priefer] every year, and then I started to meet with Mike and NFL combines, Senior Bowl,” he said. “You know you’re a special-teams nerd when you meet for an hour over field goal (protection schemes),” Walkosky said.
He got to know Mike Priefer through his father and also by coaching against him in the MAC. He also counts Tampa Bay special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees as influences.
3. Walkosky went to Toledo as a walk-on, earned a scholarship as a junior safety and was the second-leading tackler as a senior for the MAC champions. His coach that year was Nick Saban, who was in his first year as a head coach.
“I always say I got him started,” Walkosky said. “I’m sure he feels the same way.”
4. A couple quotes
“I’ll handle the responsibilities of all the special teams. Every single one. The grading and the depth of it, the positions, so it’s very much like professional football. Handle all the special teams and be a phenomenal recruiter.”
“I like to be an intense coach, demand perfection, want our players to do the same.”
5. On recruiting, Walkosky will handle counties due east of Atlanta, the eastern half of the Carolinas and, notably, Ohio and western Pennsylvania. With the graduation of linebacker B.J. Machen, Tech has no players from Ohio on the roster. Walkosky is from Ohio, played there and coached 11 years there.
“I’ve recruited so much there that I have a lot of connections,” he said. “If there’s a guy that I think we can go up and get, I’ll spend time up there.”
6. Walkosky didn’t know why the kicking and punting was inconsistent last season and didn’t seem too keen to dig out the reasons why.
“I don’t want to talk to them about that,” he said. “I’m just going to move forward and train the positive. I believe in feet forward. What are we going to do next? That’s kind of how I coach.”
7. Punter Sean Poole on Walkosky’s knowledge about technique:
“He definitely knows his stuff, coaches us up on from the little things to the main big things. It’s hard to get into specific detail with it, but the nitty gritty stuff, he knows what he’s talking about.”
This is not germane, but Poole is taking 18 credits this semester, which is five classes. Egads.
One link: my colleague Michael Carvell reports on Tech’s first 2013 commit, who is said to be a “step faster” than former Tech star Tashard Choice.
Thanks for reading. I’ll have some evaluations from offensive line coach Mike Sewak and wide receivers coach Buzz Preston Wednesday morning.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog