Here is the transcript of special teams coach Thomas McGaughey Jr.’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
WR Bruce Ellington sometimes has a habit of catching his punts over his head like that. Is that something you’re trying to discourage or is he good enough–?
“Discourage, absolutely. That’s not what we coach. That’s not what we teach him to do. We’ve had that discussion and it’s going to get corrected.”
He’s had a couple times in the last two weeks where he’s put the ball on the ground. Do you start to look at other guys to do that job?
“You put the ball on the ground again, yeah. That’s just the reality of what we do. You look at the [former New England Patriots WR Chris Harper] kid at New England last week, he doesn’t have a job. If Bruce was standing right here next to me, I’d say the same thing. It’s no different. You’ve got to take care of the ball. Everybody’s got a job to do, do your job.”
But, he has a job this week?
As someone that’s been as effective for as long as he has in K Phil Dawson, what’s your approach to coaching him? Do you even have to really–?
“You leave him alone. You let him make the kick. He’s been doing it for almost 20 years. There’s not a whole lot of coaching going on with Phil. Phil coaches you. No, Phil’s done a great job. It’s been fun to coach him. Being around veteran kickers before like a [former NFL K] John Carney and [former NFL K] Morten Andersen, my experience has been you let those guys do their job and they are pretty good at it.”
You were probably joking, but you said Phil coaches you. Is there something that he said that–?
“I mean, this guy has been doing it for 17 years. I’ve been around and I’ve never kicked a ball before in my life, but I do know this, that guy is really good at what he does. My whole approach to it is I’m a lifelong learner. So, anytime I get a chance to be around a guy like Phil, get a chance to absorb some of that knowledge and experience, trust me I’m writing down notes like anybody else.”
Anything specific beyond kicking, just because he’s seen so much?
“Oh yeah. Situational football. He’s very good in the room. He’s a great leader. He’s a great example for [P] Bradley Pinion to follow. He does a great job with the guys out on the field and with the field goal team and the field goal meetings. Obviously, he’s a bonus to have a guy like that in your room.”
On game day does he tell you what his range is?
“Absolutely. We go through that, that’s a pregame routine for us. When he’s done kicking, he’ll come to me and give me a number.”
Is he one of the more meticulous players you’ve been around? You’ve worked with Morten Anderson and John Carney. How does he compare to those guys?
“Very similar. All those guys have a routine that they follow. They know what they want to do, they know exactly how they want to do it and they just go about doing that same routine every day.”
You’ve got RB Shaun Draughn, most of his experience up to that point had been on special teams. Were you kind of thinking this is good, I’ve got a good special teams player and are you kind of upset that he’s been the primary running back?
“You know, Shaun’s a great teammate and he’s a great guy. He’s very attentive in the meetings. He’s in every special teams meeting. He does a great job with the guys in the locker room. If you watch him on the sideline, he’s a great teammate, he’s cheering on the defense when they’re out on the field. Obviously, you’d like to be able to work with a guy like that with that kind of attitude, that kind of mental makeup, but you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. That’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day, my job is to do what’s best for the team and to get the guys in the right spot that’s going to help the team.”
How many different conditions can there be at Soldier Field for Pinion? What can he expect this Sunday and how do you prepare him for that?
“We almost got outside now. It’s really a pretty good comparison. It’s supposed to be in the mid-40s, almost 50 there Sunday. Obviously, the wind right there off the lake, it’s going to be a little something we’ll have to deal with. But, that’s part of football. He’s going to have to deal with it next week too. So, it’ll be a good warmup for Cleveland. That’s just football. He hadn’t been around it a lot playing football in the South. So, it’s good experience for him. It’ll be definitely a new one for him.”