MORGANTOWN - After spending most of last Saturday's 55-10 win over Bowling Green holding for extra points and field goals as well as punting into a net on the sideline, former Parkersburg South standout Michael Molinari will get his chance to handle the punting duties for No. 16 West Virginia (4-1) when it plays host to Connecticut at noon on Saturday.
"They (the coaches) kind of made that switch in the middle of the last game," explained long snapper Cody Nutter. "He's been working really hard since he's got here and deserves his shot."
Molinari, who was redshirted in 2010, took over the holder's job on point afters and field goals during spring drills and was listed as the No. 2 punter when West Virginia opened the season against Marshall in the annual Friends of Coal Bowl.
Listed ahead of him was redshirt junior Corey Smith, who handled the Mountaineers' kickoff duties during a 9-4 campaign last year and added the punting duties to his list during the spring. However, back-to-back poor performances in a 47-21 loss to LSU and last weekend's victory over the Falcons had the Mountaineers listed dead last in the Big East in net punting, averaging 28.5 yards per attempt.
As a senior with the Patriots of head coach Jon Bolen, Molinari was a running back, kicked field goals, punted, and played safety. He finished with 11 touchdowns, 23 receptions for 460 yards, 40 rushes for 293 yards and six interceptions.