Hidden Key

The position of holder isn't one to receive a lot of press or praise from the fans, but it can be a crucial part of the football game.

West Virginia sophomore holder Jeremy Kash realizes that his position entails anonymity on the field, but he knows that he contributes to the success of the eighth-ranked Mountaineers.

"Being a specialist, we don't really get a lot of glory or spot light or anything; unless it's Pat McAfee who's putting a hundred and some points on the board every season. [Special teams)]is something that is important and has to be done," Kash said.

Kash will return this season for his second year of holding the ball for the Mountaineers. During his first season of play, Kash had just one blocked field goal out of 84 snap attempts. Kash credits his successful season to the speed with which the entire unit, which includes long snapper Adam Hughes along with McAfee.

"We take a lot of pride in getting the ball off quick, 1.2 seconds is what we aim for. The quicker you get the ball off, the less chance there is that it's going to get blocked. Pat (McAfee) gets the ball off quick," Kash said.

Kash realizes the importance of a good relationship between a holder and kicker, which is something he has established with McAfee.

"I think it's important to be close with you kicker. Most everywhere you look they have a good relationship. With me and Pat, he's one of my best friends on the team. We hang out together all the time and I think that helps out. We can be back there in a stressful situation joking around with each other and keeping each other loose. He's really easy to get a long with."

Special teams are getting more attention than they did in previous years. That's probably not a surprise, as head coach Bill Stewart kept the job of special teams coordinator when he was elevated to his presnet position following WVU's 48-28 thumping of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. (Stewart was in the special teams unit photos on Picture Day last Sunday.) Kash said that the coaches have a great deal of confidence in the placekicking unit, and that he wouldn't be surprised to see McAfee attempt a 60-yarder if necessary.

Another player in which Kash has a good relationship with is Hughes. Kash noted that Hughes has taught him about the work ethic needed at their positions.

The 210-pound sophomore from Centerville, Ohio realizes the influence that his position has had in important games.

"In the Fiesta Bowl, we kicked four field goals. In a game like that, you do a little more out there. You put points on the board and help out," he noted.

Like Mountaineer players and fans a like, Kash hopes to exceed the success of last year's bowl victory.

"There's been a lot of talk around here about making it (to the National Championship.) We were one game away last year. We know we have Villanova first and we have to take it week by week. We have to win the Big East Championship first and that's always a goal for us every year. We will see where we go from there," Kash said.


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