SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — West Virginia kicker Pat McAfee joked and entertained the media Friday.
Four weeks ago tonight, it might not have seemed possible.
McAfee missed two short field goals in the Mountaineers' 13-9 upset loss to Pittsburgh, a setback that cost West Virginia a shot in the BCS Championship game.
A loss that brought death threats on McAfee and resulted in harsh e-mails sent to his girlfriend and bottles thrown at his Jeep.
"The first week after the Pitt game was miserable,” McAfee said Friday. "After that, I kind of bounced back. The break really helped, to be able to get home and get away from everybody, get away from the situation.
"I've just kind of dealt with it on my own. I'm really hard on myself to begin with, so it was going to suck either way. I'm back, I think. Everything's back in the right spot. I'm confident again.”
A junior from Plum, Pa., McAfee has made 11-of-15 field goal tries this season — hitting on 11 straight at one point — and also averages 41.1 yards as the Mountaineers' punter.
But he was off from 20 and 30 yards away in the first quarter against Pitt, misses that mounted in importance when quarterback Pat White was injured and the West Virginia offense struggled.
After that game, he sat silent in front of his locker for nearly an hour, pulling his jersey up over his face.
"At 12:25 a.m., he hadn't taken off his shoes, pants, jersey – anything,” Bill Stewart, West Virginia's interim head coach and McAfee's special teams coach, told reporters earlier this week.