WSU AND USA TODAY SPORTS

Andrew Furney will work with returning WSU starters Erik Powell and Zach Charme ahead of Thursday's spring launch

ANDREW FURNEY, ONE of the most accomplished kickers in Washington State history, is headed to Pullman to help sharpen the legs of WSU specialists Erik Powell and Zach Charme ahead of Thursday’s opening of the Cougars’ spring practice season.

Furney, who had cups of coffee with the New York Jets in 2014 and 2015, now runs Seattle-based Furney Kicking Academy, offering one-on-one coaching to kickers, punters and long snappers from junior high through college.

He tweeted Sunday that he was headed to Pullman “to get some work in” with Powell (pictured at right) and Charme (at left).

Based on last season’s results, his work will be more honing than building.

Powell, a fourth-year junior lefty from Vancouver, Wash., connected on 20 of 26 field goal tries (.769) in 2015, including 15 of 16 between 20 and 39 yards. In addition, he averaged 56.6 yards on 76 kickoffs, with 21 touchbacks.

His goal for 2016 figures to be more touchbacks on kickoffs and greater consistency on kicks of 40 yards or more (5 of 10 in 2015).

Charme, a rising true sophomore from Boise, punted 47 times last season and averaged 39.6 yards per boot, with 12 landing inside the opposing 20. Eight of his kicks traveled 50 yards or more.

His goal for 2016 likely will be greater consistency with his ball drops, as he had a handful of kicks go off the side of his foot.

THERE WILL BE NO SHORTAGE of legs when the Cougs open spring ball Thursday. In addition to Powell and Charme – both of whom are listed on the official roster at both kicker and punter -- the Cougars return placekickers Matt Abramo, Mitchell Cox and Brett Schafer.

WSU also returns its top two long snappers from last season -- Lucas Gravelle and Kyle Celli – and its top two holders – Kaleb Fossum and River Cracraft.

In addition, the top three return specialists from 2015 are back for 2016: punt returner Gabe Marks (11/106 yards, 9.6 average), kickoff return man Tavares Martin (25/552 yards/22.1 average) and all-purpose Kyrin Priester (4 punt returns for 22 yards and 6 kick returns for 113 yards).

NOTABLE:

Spring practices begin this Thursday (March 24) and conclude April 26. The annual Crimson & Gray Game will be held April 23 at Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff with TV coverage on the Pac-12 Networks).


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