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Minicamp 2021: Special teams "base is here," Sorensen says

Jacksonville Jaguars' Daryl Smith, right, recovers an onside kick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006, in Philadelphia, as teammate Nick Sorensen moves in at left. The Jaguars won 13-6. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

JACKSONVILLE – This isn't about a major overhaul.

Timing might have made that difficult, anyway – but as Nick Sorensen sees it, changing the direction and philosophy of the Jaguars' special teams simply isn't necessary.

"The base is here, the roots are here; there's just tweaks along the way," he said.

Sorensen, a special teams ace with the Jaguars from 2003-2006, was hired as special teams coordinator on June 1. This was shortly after Brian Schneider – hired as special teams coordinator in February – left the position for personal reasons.

The timing made for a hectic few weeks – and a hectic early June – for Sorensen, who flew to Jacksonville immediately upon his hiring and was coaching at 2021 Organized Team Activities presented by Baptist Health the following morning.

"It's been exciting," he said. "It happened fast, but it's been a fun challenge and the guys are working hard. That's what has been so great. To come back here and to see how everyone has been working so hard every day … there are so many guys here, they're really buying in to what [Head] Coach [Urban Meyer] is implementing right here with the culture and it's really awesome.

"It's great to be a part of it and it's great to be back in Jacksonville."

Sorensen is not only familiar with the Jaguars; he's familiar with their current approach to special teams. He spent 2013-2020 as an assistant with the Seattle Seahawks, serving as a defensive backs assistant the past four seasons and a special teams assistant from 2013-2016. He worked during the '13-'16 seasons with Schneider, the Seahawks' special teams coordinator from 2010-2020.

Meyer recently called Sorensen's familiarity with Schneider and the system critical, saying a dramatic change in June wouldn't be fair to the players.

"I've worked with 'Schneids' in the past in Seattle, so yeah, a lot of the same stuff, very similar," Sorensen said. "I obviously have certain things that I like to do as well but very similar stuff. We're going to play fast, we're going to play aggressive, that's going to be our style."

"I'm not changing what's the base. There's nothing unusual, we're staying with what these guys have been doing and we're going to stay true to that, just keep playing hard and practicing hard, which is what the guys have done this entire spring. So, that's been really cool to see."

The Jaguars emphasized special teams in unrestricted free agency this offseason, signing safety and special teams ace Rudy Ford and wide receiver/returner Jamel Agnew. Ford seems likely to be among the Jaguars' primary special teams players moving forward, though Sorensen this week declined to specify which players might play key roles.

"You're always evaluating, but these guys are always competing," he said. "For me to single any of the guys out now, I don't think it's fair. They've all worked so hard this offseason. I look forward to them coming right back, training real hard coming into training camp, and then the competition is on once we get back into training camp.

"I'm excited to see these guys, I think they're excited to put their best foot forward and see who the best guys and see who those core guys are."

Jaguars 2021 Training Camp is scheduled to open July 27.


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