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Mountaineers well aware of Longhorns’ ability to block kicks

October 4, 2012
By John Wickline - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - Since taking the helm of the Texas football program in 1998, Mack Brown's special teams have been just that - special.

The Longhorns have averaged blocking nearly six kicks per season, putting punters, field goal kickers and their protectors on edge.

Texas has already blocked an extra-point kick this season, doing so in its season opener against Wyoming.

Don't think that the eighth-ranked West Virginia players and coaches are not well aware of that little tidbit of information.

"We spent a lot of time on it in practice Tuesday," WVU assistant coach Steve Dunlap said. "So what does that tell you?"

Since 2002, Texas has blocked 57 punts, extra points or field goals, the second highest total in the nation behind only Fresno State.

Dunlap said for West Virginia to keep from becoming a part of that statistic, those special teams players have to stick with the fundamentals.

"Our mechanics have to be good," he said. "Our timing has to be good, and the snaps have to be good."

Dunlap said Texas has put two of its three starting linebackers on punt- and kick-blocking teams, along with its starting cornerbacks and safeties. The back-ups to the cornerbacks and safeties are also playing on those special teams.

"So it must be a priority for them," Dunlap said.

The Mountaineers, 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference, will travel to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin for a showdown with No. 9 Texas at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox, and it will be the first game in that stadium pitting two top 10 teams since 2008 when top-ranked Texas took on No. 6 Oklahoma State.

"We're looking forward to what really is our first road game," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "It's going to be a chore. Playing in someone else's stadium is going to be a challenge."



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