“It’s different sounding out there, but I think everything is happening the same,” said the veteran placekicker. “There is not as much yelling and screaming but a lot is getting accomplished. It’s fun to watch.”
McAfee hopes to have some memorable wins in his senior season and has his eyes set on the Backyard Brawl against the Pittsburgh Panthers, a game in which he admittedly did not kick his best.
Attending football camps this summer has helped McAfee to improve on his kicking the off season, and the coaches are taking notice.
“Pat McAfee punted the ball the best I’ve ever seen him,” said Stewart. “It was great to see. He was hitting some drivers. Our punters are doing a tremendous job. McAfee is in the zone.”
In the midst of gearing up for his final season, McAfee is determined to be become well rounded in his position as both a kicker and a punter.
“I see myself as both a kicker and a punter. I don’t like the think about the future, but as senior you have to, and I would like to focus on both. I think I have the tools to do both.” McAfee said.
Although Coach Stewart has made the move from overseeing special teams to head coach, McAfee says he still spends time working with them.
“Special teams are a big part of the game that people overlook, and Coach Stew is adamant about it,” McAfee said.
By realizing the importance of special teams, the coaching staff is taking precautions to ensure that McAfee’s leg will be in top shape for Aug. 30. He is icing his knees after practice and only kicks around 30 field goals and 20 punts each practice to make sure to save his legs for game days.
McAfee believes that he will be leaving the Mountaineers in the hands of some talented younger football players that will fill the shoes of their talented predecessors.
“Will Johnson is going to have a huge year. Everyone saw Bradley Starks in the spring, and there’s going to be a lot more to come from him. Ellis Lankster is going to be an all-star. Those are three players that I think are going to have breakout years that you don’t know about.”
As for any predictions on the outcome of the Mountaineers season, McAfee simply replies,
“I think the best is yet to come.”
In 2007, McAfee was 64-65 on extra point tries, missing only his first attempt against Marshall. He was 13-18 on field goal attempts, and averaged 42.7 yards on 46 punts, with a long of 71.