Double Duty

What started out as playing around with friend and former WVU kicker Pat McAfee ended up being a career move for then-long snapper Jeremy Kash.

While helping him with his kicking, Kash served as a holder for the free-spirited .McAfee, who has since moved on the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. And that, in a serendipitous way, led to an opportunity on the field.

"McAfee needed someone to step up in there as a holder and I was with him all of the time so he told me to get to practicing," said Kash. "He liked the way I held so we stuck with it.

"I got recruited here snapping so I have been doing that all along," said Kash of his initial role at West Virginia. "Holding happened after my freshman year here, like the spring after, [Pat] McAfee just had me start doing it and I got pretty decent at it so he wanted me to hold for him."

The move was a surprise to Kash, but his natural aptitude for the job soon had him set at the position. After earning the confidence of McAfee, he did the same with the coaching staff.

"Personally, I would like to think that I am better at snapping but the coaches and other people they like me holding back there so I would trust them and take their opinion," said Kash.

That doesn't mean his snapping days are over, however. Kash is listed as the Mountaineers' starting holder but he is also going to be counted on as the backup snapper behind sophomore Cody Nutter.

"In high school, when I was just snapping, I had never held before," said Kash. "I never really though it was that hard. Now, doing both of them, I get a better respect for both of them."

Working with McAfee helped Kash to realize the precision that is needed when being a holder. Consistency is a key, as the ball needs to be placed the same way, and held the same way, every time. Even the slightest difference can contribute to an off-target kick. The trick, however, is that kickers might have differences in the way they want the ball held.

"As far as the laces being forward and hitting the spot, that's the same every time," Kash explained. "McAfee liked the ball leaned toward the inside a lot Pretty much all of the guys we have now they like it straight up. Some guys like it leaned a little bit more. Some guys like you to maybe lean it back, which with McAfee was a big no-no."

After clicking with friend McAfee during his first three years at West Virginia, Kash is having to adjust to not just a new kicker. And it's not just one, but three, as the Mountaineers work to identify the starter for the 2009 season. As the competition for the starting kicker competition continues, Kash continues to develop chemistry and work with all of the contestants.

"I've worked with all three kickers all of camp," said Kash. "When we are in there doing live reps, whoever is in there, I know to put the ball how they like. I know kickers like to get in a rhythm and get comfortable, and we have three guys that are very capable. [Tyler Bitancurt] is young, where [Josh Lider] has kicked before in games. On a different level, but he's been there. Tyler has a big leg, though, and he's been kicking them really well."

Despite Kash being pleased with the progress made in the Mountaineer's kicking game, he admits that just like the other seemingly irreplaceable Pat, McAfee will be missed.

"You're not going to see another McAfee for probably a long time," said Kash. " I haven't seen anyone that can kick the ball that far. Right now, the thing is we have to use multiple guys to cover what he did last year as one person. We're going to have a committee to step in for him but we're doing good."


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