Holgorsen is high on Molinari

Attend enough press conferences and the first thing you discover that coaches will spend time talking about schemes and players.

That was the case on Friday when West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff played host to media members who cover the Mountaineer program.

Coaches took turns detailing the attributes of players they believe will be key in returning the old gold and blue to its winning ways following back-to-back disappointing campaigns.

One of those receiving praise was Parkersburg South graduate Michael Molinari.

“He (Molinari) is a workout warrior,” Holgorsen said. “He’s already our holder for PATs and field goals and he added the kickoff duties last season. But, now he has his sites on doing everything – placekicking, punting and kicking off.”

Molinari, who came to Morgantown as an invited walk-on in 2010, spent his first season with the team as a redshirt, but quickly began to climb the depth chart at several positions.

As a redshirt freshman he took over the holding duties and contributed in the punting game, booting the football a career-high eight times in a come-from-behind win over Rutgers on a snowy and windy day.

He continued as the team’s holder as a sophomore and served as the backup at punter. Then, he added the kickoff duties to his resume when the Mountaineers opened the 2013 season against William and Mary.

“He (Molinari) is just such a great kid,” special teams coordinator Joe DeForest said.

“He works so hard. He’s on scholarship now. He’s a 4.0 student. He kicks off. He can kick field goals and he can punt.

“He’s the best holder that I’ve seen in the 24 years that I’ve been coaching. He can actually catch a short snap and put it down for the kicker with one hand. He’s amazing and he works hard and he’s a leader for this team.”

So much so that the fifth-year player was chosen by his teammates to join Quinton Spain, Cody Clay, Karl Joseph and Nick Kwiatkoski as team captains for the upcoming spring drills that begin on Sunday, March 2.

Great praise for any athlete, but for one that has traveled the road taken by Molinari, not a common occurrence.

But, also words that are well deserved.

Molinari, who will be in town on Tuesday as part of the group of WVU athletes that will be attending the annual Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club’s Steak and Burger Dinner, is the kind of athlete you have to have if you are going to turn around a program.

His work ethic is well documented, but his leadership qualities have grown along with his responsibilities with the Mountaineers.

Which, apparently, could grow even more despite the return of placekicker Josh Lambert and punter Nick O’Toole.

“He (Molinari) told me the other day that he wants to do all three (kickoff, placekick and punt),” said Holgorsen. “He’s working at becoming the best at all three and that’s one of the reasons why his teammates selected him to be a captain this spring.”

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com