June 8, 2023

Mid Designer

Breakaway from the pack

New technology helps WVU rebuild on special teams

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU’s particular teams device was the choosing variable in a number of video games for the Mountaineers last year.

Now the method is tasked with replacing a selection of starters in that stage, like Casey Legg, 1 of the top kickers in WVU history.

Legg did have an extra 12 months of eligibility at his disposal but introduced his retirement from the game in the offseason.

He finished his vocation No. 7 in school history in subject objectives (40), No. 8 in kick scoring (208) and No. 10 in extra points made (88).

The Lou Groza semifinalist gained two online games for West Virginia previous season as time expired.

Florida State transfer Parker Groathaus handled the kickoffs in 2022. In his lone time in Morgantown, he averaged 60.1 yards on 64 kickoffs with 23 touchbacks.

Redshirt junior Michael Hayes and redshirt sophomore Danny King are now battling for the kicking duties this spring.

Hayes transferred from Georgia Point out where the managed the team’s discipline goals, punts and kickoffs very last yr. He designed 11-of-14 subject target tries and strike 41-of-42 excess stage attempts.

“He’s received encounter. He’s kicked in a live location, huge group, huge ambiance,” exclusive groups coordinator Jeff Koonz said of Hayes. “Danny King is competing with him and getting his finest spring that he’s had due to the fact I have been here. I’m excited.”

When Hayes averaged 42. yards on 56 punts, Oliver Straw returns for the Mountaineers right after a successful freshman marketing campaign.

Straw averaged 60.1 yards on 64 punts with 23 touchbacks. His longest punt was 63 yards and he pinned the opponent within the 20 on 18 instances.

“He has the potential to do so many matters, but to talk to a initial-year participant in Electricity 5 football and the Big 12 Conference to go do all of these items at an elite stage, it’s not honest to him. We’ll be in a position to incorporate a very little much more on him, be able to move the start stage a little far more,” Koonz said.

According to Neal Brown, redshirt junior Leighton Bechdel is putting with each other a fantastic spring at the position. The head coach also mentioned Austin Brinkman has a prospect to be “as great as anyone in the country” extended snapping.

“They have a moxie with each other suitable now that is seriously, genuinely special,” Koonz said of Straw and Brinkman. “For them to get that as promptly as they did when Ollie obtained right here was invaluable to us to as a device.”

When it arrives to the kicking competition, Koonz claimed the decision arrives down to who can put it amongst the uprights, in the end zone on kickoffs and has the best cling time.

Even though it looks easy sufficient, there’s truly a ton much more that goes into the planning. That’s wherever WVU’s new technologies will come in.

The TrackMan technique is a important piece in recruiting that sets the method aside. It was made to aid golfers function on their shot and can also be just as successful for kickers doing work on the development of their swing on kicks.

“We’re one particular of the only educational institutions in the country that has that. These guys can see the variance in leg speed, strike, in which they strike the ball, how considerably it went, where it would have been good from,” Koonz explained.

The biggest profit of the TrackMan program is prompt responses. The effects can now be seen in real-time instead of looking at tape and ready a handful of days to proper troubles.

The new technological innovation does give WVU an edge when obtaining experts to Morgantown and so does its history of achievements at those people positions.

“Being capable to arrive and kick in the atmosphere we have in Morgantown is some thing that attracts young ones in this article. I’d be naive to believe young ones really don’t appear listed here to be the upcoming Pat McAffe,” Koonz mentioned.

“He’s carried out a wonderful position in his job as a kicker and punter and what he’s carrying out now. He’s component of our background right here.”