The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

October 6, 2009

WVU’s ‘new’ punter Kozlowski a weapon

MORGANTOWN — As far as he knew, Scott Kozlowski was as good as done in West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez’s mind.

His sin?

A bad punt in 2006.

In a matchup of Top 10 teams WVU and Louisville.

He was supposed to angle the kick, which he didn’t do, and Louisville got a good return in a game the Cardinals won 44-34.

That punt cost Kozlowski his job. And, apparently, his career.

Kozlowski was a forgotten man.

“My biggest thing was it kind of killed my confidence,” Kozlowski said. “I knew I messed up that punt during the game. It really messed with me and bothered me. It was hard to come back from it, especially when you aren’t punting and that was your last punt you ended off of. It definitely affected me.”

Maybe Rodriguez was wrong for yanking Kozlowski.

If this year is an indication, he definitely was.

The senior is averaging 48.2 yards per punt and has twice been named the Big East special teams player of the week.

Not bad for a guy who wasn’t sure Morgantown was the place to be after his humiliating 2006.

“There was a point where I thought I would leave,” he said. “But I knew I could play Division I football and I didn’t want to sit out a year and transfer, go to a new school and go through all that. So I decided to stick it through.”

It’s been a strange career for the 5-foot-11, 191-pound redshirt senior from West Palm Beach, Fla.

He admits to having a somewhat strained relationship with former kicker/punter Pat McAfee, the man who would eventually replace Kozlowski in the lineup.

“The thing that was unfortunate with me and Pat, when we were punting for the job and it got competitive, it kind of seemed like we had a love-hate relationship type of thing,” Kozlowski said. “That was a bummer for me. But he’s doing what he’s doing now.

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