It didn’t take long for Oakland Raiders fullback Keith Smith to realize just how compatible special teams boss Rich Bisaccia and head coach Jon Gruden truly are.
“I was sitting back during team run period and coach Bisaccia was standing there behind Gruden when he was going off and I just looked at coach and said, “It makes sense.” I get it now,” Smith said. “It’s funny, their two peas in a pod. That relationship, you can see it, completely.”
Smith is one of a trio former Dallas Cowboys brought in by the Raiders this offseason. Linebacker Kyle Wilber and wide receiver Ryan Switzer are the other two.
Wilber, a core and critical special teamer for the Cowboys since 2012, can take hold of the special teams’ enforcer. Smith, a converted linebacker turned fullback, expects to become the pancake producing escort for Marshawn Lynch. In addition, Switzer, a diminutive yet shifty wideout, could snare the return gig and expand his horizons as a pass catcher.
The Bisaccia Boys stay keenly aware of the hard-ass approach by Bisaccia — a former Cowboy himself brought in by Gruden — and remain appreciative their new head coach shares the same intensity.
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“They tap into the interpersonal relationship,” Smith said. “While they are on you and yelling at you 24/7, that’s just them showing they care about you.”
Pre-conditioned to the tough love and consistent badgering from their special teams coach created a cohesive unit in Dallas. Moreover, the hope is the same rings true in Oakland. Furthermore, his approach wins games
“Special teams is a lot about experience and trust,” Smith said. “Especially with Bisaccia. He has a pretty hefty playbook. He’s all about trust. If he doesn’t trust you to do your job, you’re not going to be on the field and I think that’s the one thing they bring is consistency.
“Kyle is a great leader especially on the special teams side. He’s a vocal dude and a guy of example. He’s out there holding everybody accountable. It’s exciting to be playing with one of my brothers like I’ve been the past four years.”
If the trio continues the trend they started in Texas, the Bisaccia Boys will be mainstays in California (eventually Las Vegas). In reality, Bisaccia fits with this team.