It's A Snap

The punt team trots out onto the field. The up man barks out the signals, the ball is snapped and punted away. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Think again.

Long snapping isn't easy by any stretch, but for the past four years it was pretty much an afterthought for the Gold and Blue. In the Rich Rodriguez era, Mountaineer fans have seen only one long snapper. But now, ultra-reliable Scott Fleming has moved on, and Bridgeport native Tim Lindsey is poised to take his place.

Forgive Tim if he comes off as being a little shy. He's a nice guy, and a terrific interview. To be honest though, Tim doesn't want to turn Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium into "Cheers" -- where everybody knows his name.

"It's kind of a little known fact that if they don't know your name, then as a long snapper you're doing your job. Unless you get a tackle on a punt, most people shouldn't know who you are," said the 6'4" junior from Harrison County.

Truth be told, there are probably a number of Mountaineer fans who didn't know who Scott Fleming was, because he was so steady and consistent. You might think that for Lindsey, replacing Fleming, who never had a bad snap during his WVU career, would be a lot of pressure. Make no mistake about it though. He's looking forward to the opportunity.

"It is a lot of pressure because Scott was such a good long snapper that I need to live up to his stature, and then add to it. That's another goal as the next two seasons go on," said Lindsey.

Every lifelong Mountaineer fan probably grew up wanting to play for the state's flagship institution. Lindsey was no different, and right now is living the dream.

"You don't really imagine yourself out on the field with a helmet when you're six years old, and now that I'm on the team, and especially now that I'm getting to play, it really is a dream come true," said a beaming Lindsey.

He won't be going into this without any help, or experience. His older brother Donnie was the Mountaineer long snapper from 1996-1999. He's been snapping since he was a youngster, and as a true freshman got to snap in a blowout win over East Carolina.

"When I got in that game, I just imagined it as just like practice," said Lindsey.

Lindsey will be wearing number 77, and as a lifelong Mountaineer fan he knows the significance and lineage of that number.

"I'm still wearing 77 and I'll stick with it," said Lindsey. "Every day when we eat, we see the consensus all-American jerseys, and four of them are 77. It's an honor to have that number on your back."

There's a chance that Lindsey will be somewhat of a veteran among Mountaineer specialists this year. True freshman Pat McAfee will likely handle the place-kicking duties, and fellow true frosh Scott Kozlowski is battling with incumbent Phil Brady for the starting punting job. One player who will be a veteran among the specialists is Lindsey's fellow Harrison County native, and Mountaineer holder, George Shehl.

"You know if you get the ball back there, he's putting it down somehow. George is a rock back there," said Lindsey of Shehl, in an echo of just about everyone around the Mountaineer program.

When the Mountaineer punt or field goal team trots out onto the new turf at Syracuse in a few weeks, take a look at Lindsey. If he has his way, it's the only time you'll know he's there.

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