Mark Scott Gives Insight Into Special Teams - Including Possible Early Leader In the Competition For Punter

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - One of the more underrated story lines entering fall camp is the current state of the West Virginia special teams units. The Mountaineers must replace punter Nick O'Toole and starting kicker Josh Lambert for the first three games.

Special teams coordinator Mark Scott has his work cut out for him as he must prepare new faces at kicker and punter by the time the Sept. 3 home opener against Missouri rolls around. Scott also hopes to develop depth among his return units as West Virginia has lacked a true home run threat in the punt return game since Tavon Austin graduated in 2012. Scott spoke about his hopes for the return unit going into week one.

"Going into a game I doubt we have more than two guys," Scott said. "We may have guys who are better at kick returner, we may have guys who are more comfortable at punt returner and we're going to have some guys that can do both. That being said we're not going to stop repping guys throughout the year because the more reps they get, the more experience and confidence (they get) and that's going to set us up better in the future."

Scott also gave some insight into how Mike Molina and Josh Lambert are preparing in fall camp as Lambert must serve a three game suspension. Scott says he is pleased with Molina's progression to this point.

"Mike has looked great so far," Scott said. "It's early, we haven't had had a live rush yet. We'll get a little better feel today but his times have been good and his contact with the ball has been a lot more consistent. He's always had the leg it's just a matter of fine tuning his fundamentals and doing all of the little things right. He's doing better with that."

Scott praised Lambert for the role he has embraced in preparing Molina for the first three games of the season.

"Josh (Lambert) has been great," Scott said. "We're in the meeting room breaking everything down and he's almost like a second coach. He's been around it so long and knows all the ins and outs of kicking. He's really been a good influence on Jonn (Young) who's been working as our number two holder right now."

 Jonn Young, as his name implies, is the youngest specialist in the room and he is currently battling Billy Kinney for the right to take over full-time punting duties. Scott alluded that Kinney leads the early competition for that position citing Young's arrival as a central reason for his improvement.

"Through two days Billy (Kinney) is kicking it better than he ever has," Scott said. "(He's) more consistent, (he has) better hang time and better distance. I think Jonn Young, who is an extremely talented player across the board, coming has pushed Billy and really got Billy focused."


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