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Iowa’s LeVar Woods interviews with Tampa Bay Buccaneers for special teams coordinator vacancy

Iowa special teams coordinator LeVar Woods interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their vacant special teams coordinator spot.

Woods took part in a virtual interview with the Bucs on Tuesday. He joins a group of candidates that also includes New Orleans Saints assistant special teams coordinator Phil Galiano, former Seattle Seahawks special teams coordinator Larry Izzo, former Tennessee Titans special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman, former New York Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and Bucs defensive and special teams assistant Keith Tandy.

Regarded as one of the nation’s finest special teams coordinators, Woods directed a special teams unit that finished ranked No. 30 nationally in ESPN’s SP+ rankings during the 2023 season.

Tory Taylor, the recipient of the Ray Guy Award, ranked third nationally this past season, averaging 48.2 yards per punt. Taylor led the nation with his 93 punts and set a single-season punting yardage record with 4,479 punting yards in 2023.

That mark broke Michigan State‘s Johnny Pingel’s punting yardage record that stood for 85 years. The Aussie saw 32 of his punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line as the Hawkeyes led the country in net punting, averaging 44.17 net yards per punt.

Iowa blocked three kicks in 2023 to rank tied-10th in that category. The Hawkeyes ranked 41st in punt return yardage, averaging 10.13 yards per punt. Standout Iowa defensive back and punt returner Cooper DeJean returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the Hawkeyes’ 26-16 victory over Michigan State in Week 5.

The Hawkeyes ranked eighth in the country in kickoff return defense, surrendering just 15.57 yards per kickoff return on seven returns. Iowa also ranked No. 20 in kickoff returns, averaging 23.37 yards per kickoff return on 19 returns.

Iowa kickers Drew Stevens and Marshall Meeder each had game-winning kicks versus Northwestern and at Nebraska, respectively.

Woods has coached other Iowa special teams standouts such as kickers Keith Duncan and Caleb Shudak, kickoff return specialist Ihmir Smith-Marsette and return specialist Charlie Jones. Both Smith-Marsette and Jones won the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year in 2018 and in 2021, respectively, while Duncan was named the Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year in 2019.

Woods was a standout linebacker at Iowa, tallying 165 career tackles, 18 tackles for loss and four sacks as a two-year starter during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. After a seven-year NFL career that included stops with the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans from 2001-07, Woods entered the coaching profession with a return to Iowa City.

He began his coaching career at Iowa as one of the Hawkeyes’ administrative assistants from 2008-11. As an administrative assistant, Woods assisted the coaching staff in compiling statistical information, gathering information on opponents and recruits, and assisting in the day-to-day operation of the football office.

Then, from 2012-14, Woods coached linebackers and assisted with special teams. During the 2015-16 seasons, Woods oversaw the tight ends and assisted with special teams. Then, in 2017, Woods became Iowa’s special teams coordinator and coached tight ends. From 2018 through this past season, Woods has served as Iowa’s special teams coordinator.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire