Furney's secret weapon found in St. Louis

PULLMAN – Washington State kicker Andrew Furney, who set a program record for field goal percentage made last year, has not been relaxing this offseason. And part of his routine over the last couple of years has featured regular trips to St. Louis to visit… a punter?

Andrew Furney has been working with NFL veteran Louie Aguiar for the past few years to refine and reinvigorate his craft.

The junior from Burlington has been making regular trips to Missouri to study under the tutelage of the former 10-year NFL pro, (Jets, Chiefs, Packers and Bears.)

Aguiar was primarily a punter in the NFL with 758 boots. He only attempted two field goals -- but he did put his leg to 245 kickoffs. And Aguiar, says Furney, has the Midas Touch.

"Louie knows how to tune me up. He's my guy. If I'm ever feelin' rusty, I go visit Louie to fix it," said Furney.

Furney got to know Aguiar, an all-pro selection in the '95 season, following a reference from former WSU punter Reid Forrest.

"When I was a freshman, Nico (Grasu) and Reid would always train with Louie," Furney said. "They were awfully successful, so I followed in their footsteps."

Aguiar currently runs a kicking academy that holds numerous events during the summer all throughout the Midwest.

DURING THE SUMMER voluntary workouts, when the rest of the team is running through their 7on7s, Furney (5-10, 231) can be found working on his kicking along with the Cougs' other punters and kickers. Furney also lifts daily with his group, just like any other player. He said he's striking the ball very well right now.

"I've been working with Coach (Jeff) Choate and we've developed a strong relationship," Furney said. "Our special teams unit is going to be the real deal this year."

Furney was 14-of-16 in field goal attempts last season, the best field goal percentage in WSU single-season history, (87.5), and 5-for-5 from 40-plus yards. But numbers aren't his focus, he said.

"I don't necessarily have goals for myself," Furney said. "I care more about what my teammates think about me and maintaining their respect."

Furney, who was named to the preseason Lou Groza Award watch list and was a semifinalist for the award in 2011, said the first season under new coach Mike Leach is about one thing and one thing only.

"I want to go out there and help this team win some ball games," Furney said. "The awards and goals will come with wins," adding that he "just wants that bowl ring, baby!"

WSU fans are hoping Furney gets ‘off on the right foot,' starting with BYU on Aug. 30.

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