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A look at Ron Zook's special-teams history

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ron Zook, the Green Bay Packers' new special-teams coordinator, has been described as a high-energy coach.

That's one of the buzz phrases you're going to hear often between now and the start of next season when it comes to the Packers' special teams.

"It's all about energy," Packers coach McCarthy said after he promoted Zook on Thursday. "And we'll have energy and a different culture on special teams."

Zook's assistant, Jason Simmons, said the 60-year-old's energy level is for real.

"You have to coach who you are," Zook said. "You have to coach your personality. It's not my nature to kind of walk around and be slow. That's just not me. It doesn't mean it's not right. I love what I'm doing. I think coaching is trying to get players to play to the best of their ability. That's what we're going to try to do."

But how will that translate on the field for a special-teams unit that finished dead last in The Dallas Morning News' annual rankings?

Zook previously held one special teams coordinator position in the NFL, with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996-98. Those special teams ranked 23rd (in 1996), 24th (1997) and 13th (1998) in The Dallas Morning News' rankings.

As the head coach at Illinois, Zook was also heavily involved in special teams and his units often struggled.

Consider this:

  • The Illini kickoff return team ranked better than eighth out of 11 (or 12 teams) in the Big Ten only twice in his seven seasons, and three times it was 10th or worse.

  • The kickoff coverage team ranked ninth or 10th in four of his seven seasons.

  • The punt coverage team ranked last twice and second-to-last once.

  • The punt return team ranked dead last six of his seven years.

"I think special teams is always under the microscope because it's one play," Zook said. "You don't get second down or third down on special teams. It's one play and that's what people remember. You have to get them to understand that it is one play. Usually it's a long play. It’s a 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-second play, and they have to play it wide open and to the fullest extent. Once again, how the ball bounces and all those kind of things. It's an area that people sometimes don't pay a lot of attention to until there’s a problem."