Furney spent winter fine-tuning for NFL shot

PULLMAN – It's probably a safe bet to assume Andrew Furney is in the minority among outgoing Washington State seniors when he says he's not too concerned with 40 times or bench press reps when he auditions for NFL scouts Thursday in Pullman as part of WSU's annual Pro Day.

Oh, the life of a kicker. So different than everyone else on the field.

"Big picture they say it's cool if you can run a fast 40 ... and if you can bench press ... but if you can't kick that doesn't matter," he tells Cougfan.com.

Furney says he's "just looking to put on a good show and create some interest" Thursday when scouts from both the NFL and CFL gather in WSU's indoor practice facility to put graduating Cougar seniors through two hours of measurements and drills. Cougfan.com will be there to bring readers a full report.

Furney had a private audition in Pullman last week with the New England Patriots, nailing 14 of 15 field goal attempts from 35- to 40-yards out and putting six kickoffs five yards or deeper in the end zone.

From Pro Day, he simply wants to generate more NFL interest in his right leg.

"I'm going in with the mindset that I won't get drafted," Furney says of his shot at the NFL. After all, 18 of the 32 starting kickers in the NFL last season broke into the league as free agents, including such luminaries as Adam Vinatieri, Rob Bironas and old Cougar Rian Lindell.

NFLDraftScout.com ranks Furney No. 11 out of 15 kickers on its radar -- a spot that seems shockingly low given his career field-goal accuracy rate at WSU of nearly 80 percent.

And one of his makes, in 2012, covered 60 yards. That was the second-longest trey in college football over the last three seasons.

To raise his stock, Furney spent much of the winter in Arizona working with Gary Zauner, a former college and NFL special teams coach.

"(Zauner) told me that I was crunching, which means I was leaning forward when I made contact with the ball rather than standing tall," said Furney. "It was causing me to lose a lot of power on my kicks."

Furney also attended several specialist combines where kickers aspiring to the NFL are evaluated by retired pro players and coaches who then submit their evaluations to NFL teams.

Furney acquitted himself well. At Michael Husted's combine in San Diego, for instance, he made 17-of-20 field goals, including a 52-yarder.

At Zauner's recent combine, Furney went 9-for-10. Despite "not striking the ball very well," he said he felt like he was one of the top guys there.

Furney, who last fall told the Seattle Times he didn't "want to be remembered for being the big, fat kicker" at Washington State, said he's tipping the scales around 207 or 208 pounds. That's about where he checked in this past season, which is some 25 pounds less than when he arrived at WSU out of Burlington-Edison High in 2010.

"There's a lot of body types in the NFL -- Sebastian Janikowski is a bigger guy and you've also got skinny guys like Justin Tucker and they both got there because they could kick."

Furney plans to take a big step in their direction on Thursday.

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