For many moons, former Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder was a thorn in the side of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Ironically, his son may be in a position to save the Big Red's floundering special teams units. An open position for a special teams analyst has graced the university's web site for a while now and Sean Snyder's name has been making the rounds as a potential replacement.
The third phase of the game has been lacking for Nebraska over the past several seasons with last year's kicker debacle only the most recent headache. As Scott Frost looks to retool the offense into a scoring machine and Erik Chinander continues to install his 3-4 defense, the Big Red could use a break in terms of field position.
This is where Snyder could pay dividends.
A former punter himself, the 50-year-old played under his father from 1990-92 after starting his career at Iowa. A first-team All-American selection in 1992, Snyder became part of his father's staff in '94 and has remained there, serving in different capacities. If the Huskers still called the Big 12 home, such a union might be a bit awkward. As members of the Big Ten, maybe a little familiarity is just what the doctor ordered.
Snyder has been lauded for his work for years now having been named Special Teams Coach of the Year by Phil Steele twice (2015, 2017) and ESPN (2017). He claimed Big 12 Special Teams Coach of the Year honors every year from 2013-15.
Since 2009, Nebraska has averaged a ranking of 60th in the nation in kickoff returns cracking the top 25 only twice while ranking in the triple digits three times, including this past year. The Huskers averaged 21.21 yards per return over that span.
During Sean Snyder's tenure in charge of Kansas State's special teams from 2011-18, the Wildcats averaged a ranking of 28th, showing up in the top 25 on five occasions and the top 10 three times including the No. 1 overall spot in 2012. Snyder's teams averaged 24.09 yards per return, scoring 13 times. Nebraska managed four kickoff return touchdowns during the aforementioned stretch and hasn't taken a kick to the end zone in two seasons.
The Big Red's punt return units also saw middling results during this span with a few bright spots, averaging a ranking of 57th with two top-5 finishes and averaging 9.22 yards per return. Meanwhile, Snyder's units averaged 12.7 yards per return, good enough for an average ranking of 28th while amassing seven touchdowns.
While Snyder didn't follow in his father's footsteps of leading Kansas State — that honor went to Chris Klieman — he did stay on in the same role Nebraska's looking to fill, senior special teams analyst. With the departure of former outside linebackers and special teams coach Jovan Dewitt to North Carolina, bringing on the former Wildcat would be nothing short of a home-run hire for Frost.
With a kicking unit in dire need of repair and the possibility of giving both the Big Red's head man and defensive coordinator a break in terms of shortening and flipping the field, respectively, the addition of Snyder is an easy call to make.
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces) and enjoy the Big Red Three and Out Podcast. To contact him, click here.
(Top photo courtesy of kstatesports.com)