West Virginia Continues To Solidify Special Teams With Lambert Suspended For Three Games

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - With the announced full spring and three-game suspension for Josh Lambert, West Virginia's primary placekicking attention has turned to Mike Molina, whose steady consistency has him 'eermarked for the open starting slot.

Molina, a rising junior from Hurricane, W.Va., is expected to take over the spot vacated by Lambert, who will serve a three game suspension as announced by the NCAA. That's the entire nonconference portion of West Virginia's schedule, meaning Molina will be the placekicker for contests against Missouri, Youngstown State and BYU. Molina, above, noted that he was pleased with his development thus far, but would like to continue to achieve greater accuracy. After having a solid week of practice, Molina felt his performance during Saturday's scrimmage was lacking, though the 5-8, 180-pounder did nail a 43-yarder, and his kicks all had good height and plenty of distance, with a couple that pushed slightly off to the right. 

Molina also speaks to guarding against overkicking, which has plagued Lambert in the past, and being sure to rest the leg as needed. Molina was tutored by Lambert, who was on the sidelines for WVU's practice Saturday. Molina has yet to attempt a field goal at the collegiate level, but has hit two extra points and been used multiple times for kickoffs.

"My strength feels pretty good and my ball contact is good now, too," Molina said. "Now it's working on those positives and building upon that."

Molina's long snapper, Nick Meadows, is also replacing a stalwart in the departed John DePalma. DePalma was as consistent a snapper as there was in the college game during his tenure, and Meadows recognizes what he must try to replicate as a first-year starter. The junior has touted his combination of lower and upper body strength in being able to offset some of his size issues (5-11, 238 lbs.), and he delves into the details of long snapping, and how it compares with the likes of a golf swing or free throw in that it's the same repetitive motion that creates muscle memory and potential excellence. 

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