Nick Kwiatkoski: What's in a Name? - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Nick Kwiatkoski: What's in a Name?

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MORGANTOWN -

Nick Kwiatkoski is making a name for himself. It just happens to be a name that no one seems capable of correctly pronouncing – Nick included.

A week ago, for an interview on The Dana Holgorsen Show, the redshirt sophomore middle linebacker said his last name was said "quit-COW-skee," but on Tuesday, when asked again, he said, "quit-a-COW-skee." The added "a" makes all of the difference.

Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took Kwiatkoski's own pronunciation to be the accurate one and ran it in a story before friends and family of the Mountaineer emailed him requesting that he correct the article.

Kwiatkoski then admitted that he's heard so many mispronunciations that he may no longer have any idea how to say his own name.

Someone had better figure it out soon, because through three games, this guy is making a lot of noise. His name continues to be heard through the stadium speakers as he makes tackle after tackle, leading the Mountaineers' defense with 17.

"He is a smart guy and is allowing himself to be coached," WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said of Kwiatkoski. "There is a mental aspect of the game of football that you have to be able to understand and right now he really understands it."

It isn't just tackling that Kwiatkoski leads the defense in. Looming in the corner of the Mountaineer team meeting room is a dry erase board with statistical categories lining the top and each defender's name down the left side.

The categories range from positive stats like tackles, sacks, interceptions and "exceptional plays" to negative ones that include critical errors, loafs and missed assignments. Each player is assigned a grade and total points and right there at the top of the list is Kwiatkoski. His 60 points are a full 10 better than the next player on the list, senior safety Darwin Cook.

"Being on top of that board is definitely something I pride myself on and I will try to keep it that way," said Kwiatkoski.

It isn't all perfect for Kwiatkoski, who shows two missed tackles and two missed assignments, deducting four points from his total. The defense as a whole has 60 missed assignments on the season out of 198 plays it has faced through three games. That's a good percentage of clean plays for the majority of the players on the unit.

"It has been a guideline to who is producing and who is not," said Kwiatkoski. "It is based on stats, but it lets you know your missed assignments and missed tackles as well. It is a way to keep track and see who is producing."

He is producing, over and over. If Kwiatkoski isn't making the tackle, he is frequently right by the ball carrier as he's taken down. He had a hand in WVU's forced fumble this past weekend against Georgia State and is looking for more production out of himself going forward.

In his second year as a real contributor to the team, Kwiatkoski believes he is putting himself in the position to make these plays and make a difference on his side of the ball.

"My biggest thing from last year to this year is the preparation I have done," he said. "I come in during my off time to do as much film work and study as possible."

It's paying off, both for Kwiatkoski and for the entire Mountaineers defense.

The good news is a lot of people are talking about him these days. The bad news is no one has any idea how to say his name. 

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