According to a report from The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, the Patriots are adding special teams assistant Joe Houston to their coaching staff. Houston spent three seasons as an assistant at Iowa State and spent this past season as a special teams analyst at Alabama before getting scooped up by the Pats.
Houston was a placekicker at USC from 2007-2010, starting in 2010 and leading the team in scoring while making 10-of-16 field goals and going a perfect 43-of-43 on extra points. Houston spent two years kicking the Arena League after graduating from college before getting started on his coaching career.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell had high praise for Houston who has been called a "kicking whisperer."
"Joe is definitely one of the most dynamic, young special teams coaches in the country," Campbell said. "He's may be the best kicking coach in the country."
The Patriots used four kickers in 2019, settling in on Nick Folk after stints with Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath as they tried to replace long-time starter Stephen Gostkowski, who was lost for the season with a hip injury.
After losing special teams coach Joe Judge, the team has now added two former Alabama assistants in Houston and Vinnie Sunseri, while it's possible assistant Cameron Achord could be promoted to the coordinator role after spending two years under Judge.
With Gostkowski entering the final year of his deal at age 35, coming off an injury with a cap hit of nearly $5 million, the team could look to target their next kicker this offseason and give Houston a chance to develop him.