Coaching snapshot: Jay Boulware
Age: 36 (born 11/26/72)
College: B.A. from U. Texas, 1996. (economics)
Playing career: Spent two seasons as a reserve offensive lineman at U. Texas. A heart condition ended his playing career before his junior season began.
•Auburn, tight ends/special teams (current)
•Iowa State, running backs/special teams (2007-08)
•Utah, tight ends/special teams (2005-06)
•Stanford, running backs (2004)
•Arizona, several roles (2001-03)
•Northern Illinois, several roles (1997-2000)
•Texas, graduate assistant (1994-96)
Larry Mac Duff, who was defensive coordinator at U. Arizona when Boulware was there as a position coach. It was MacDuff, a special-teams guru, who first suggested that Boulware begin learning about special teams. I've also heard Boulware speak highly of Tom Quinn, who coaches special teams with the New York Giants.
Previous Auburn experience:
Boulware brings an intriguing blend of ideas to Auburn's coaching staff. He is an old-school guy in many ways, placing high demands on his players and making sure they hear exactly what he expects from them. He has the loudest voice on any field. He isn't ashamed to use that booming voice.
Many old-school coaches believe in what I'll call "cookie cutter" football. By that, I mean they think football is static. They believe in one way of doing things. Boulware isn't narrow minded and, in fact, spends a lot of time sharing ideas with other coaches about special-teams innovations. He wants to be a maverick.
Boulware is Auburn's most detail-oriented coach. While fellow assistants like Curtis Luper and Jeff Grimes talk more about hustle and attitude, Boulware asks his players see things on a smaller scale. He is a stickler for footwork, hand placement, stances. I watched him berate TE Bailey Woods during spring drills for aligning too far away from the tackle.
The offending margin measured less than a foot. That didn't matter to Boulware.
I sense that special teams is going to be his thing, though I also believe he could become a head coach someday. At 36, he's still moving along the learning curve. Boulware is an enterprising guy. He's not someone who waits for direction.
Boulware is an intense guy. I've never talked to him when things seemed leisurely in his world. He's speaks forcefully. I wouldn't call it loud, but he's always audible and his comments leave no room for interpretation.
He speaks his mind. He's honest about his players, even when that honesty demands a critical take. I tie that in with his generally old-school outlook on coaching.
I consider Boulware the team's most upwardly mobile coach. Though I believe offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will be the first assistant to land a major job, I expect to see Boulware gain regional/national relevance during the next 10 years. He's so driven. He has a precise view of what he wants, yet he's very interested in finding new ways to excel.
Those are the kinds of people who, in my experience, make it big.