Starting Role

With the indefinite suspension of holder Jeremy Kash last Friday, Carmen Connolly will be making his first start as holder when West Virginia travels to the Bluegrass State to take on Louisville on Saturday.

Despite the attendant pressure, the junior doesn't seem intimidated to be making his first start at holder.

"I've been feeling the same as I do every week. I have been going with the twos all year so I have been used to holding. Working with Pat (McAfee) has been easy. He brings some comfort. It's been easy to prepare so I think I will be ready," Connolly said.

At a time in the season when every game is a must-win situation, Connolly seems unfazed to be making his first start.

"This is something that you prepare for all year when you're a backup. You do your job until you're called on and once you're called on you do it in the game," Connolly said matter-of-factly.

Connolly has been working on getting in a rhythm with McAfee this week. The relationship between the holder and the kicker is a crucial part of the kicking game. The junior has not had much time to work with McAfee this fall, which is something the two have focused on coming into Saturday's game.

"Back in the spring and summer, we worked together and then he and Jeremy started taking the reps. This past week I have gotten a ton of work in with him. McAfee and [long snapper] Adam Hughes exude a strong and stead comfort and that makes it a lot easier," Connolly said.

The mention of Hughes isn't just a throwaway. The holder must be in sync with the long snapper as well, and fortunately for WVU Connolly has been working with senior long snapper Adam Hughes for years, which has helped their communication.

"Adam's a great long snapper. Back when Tim Lindsey was here, Adam and I were working together so we are familiar with each other. (Working with him) is not that big of a change," Connolly noted.

Connolly has worked alongside Kash, a two-year starter, to perfect both players' skills at the holder position.

"Jeremy and I talked about things. We supported each other. It was more of comparing and contrasting our styles. We had a mutual agreement," Connolly said.

The 6'0" 194-pound junior has also seen time on special teams as well at slot receiver. As a sophomore, Connolly saw playing time in seven games on special teams as a downfield blocker.

With Kash on indefinite suspension, Connolly is ready to step into a role that won't get noticed unless an error occurs. In that regard, he'd like to stay as invisible as possible.


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