LARAMIE — Having one walk-on specialist worked out just fine for Wyoming last season. The Cowboys are trending toward having another this fall.
UW is breaking in one punter and one punter only this spring. It’s not Buffalo native Luke Glassock, who was in line to take over placekicking duties last season before John Hoyland’s emergence and is also listed as a punter on UW’s roster.
It’s another walk-on, Ralph Fawaz. Bohl said the redshirt freshman has been the only punter getting reps this spring.
“He’s doing well,” Bohl said. “Right now, he’s slated as our No. 1 punter.”
UW needed a replacement at the position after last season’s punter, graduate transfer Nick Null, transferred again this offseason. The Cowboys could use an upgrade in that department after averaging just 37 yards per punt a season ago.
Fawaz reportedly averaged more than 48 yards a punt during his senior season at Cache High in Oklahoma before accepting an offer to walk on at UW. With Null holding down the position last season, Fawaz didn’t appear in any games during his first year in the program.
But Bohl said he’s liked what he’s seen from the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder this spring, particularly when the proverbial bullets are live.
“He punted the ball well Saturday,” Bohl said, referring to UW’s first scrimmage of the spring. “Actually he punts better during live stuff than when he does in pre-practice.”
Fawaz also kicked in high school and could possibly pull the same double duty as Null, who also handled kickoff duties during his lone season with the Cowboys. Bohl said that’s doubtful, though.
If not, those responsibilities would likely fall on Hoyland, who earned freshman All-America honors as UW’s placekicker last season, or Glassock.
JUCO TE can still be ‘factor’
It’s been more than a year since tight end Colin O’Brien signed with UW out of junior college. Yet even with the Cowboys playing multiple tight ends simultaneously at times, the 6-6, 238-pounder has found it hard to crack the rotation.
Rated a top 10 junior college tight end prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle by 247Sports, O’Brien appeared in just one game for the Cowboys last season. Bohl said during the season O’Brien was coming along slowly in UW’s offense, which played a part in keeping him buried on the depth chart. But Bohl expressed optimism this week that O’Brien can be more of a contributor this fall.
“We certainly believe he can be a factor,” Bohl said. “He’s a tall, angular guy that’s got good movement. He’s going to need to get a little bit stronger. He’s having his presence shown during the course of spring. He’s not arrived yet, but he certainly has a lot of potential. We’re going to keep on feeding him with a fire hose.”
Another TE hangs it up
UW may need O’Brien to be a bigger factor following Nate Weinman’s decision to give up football. Bohl said Weinman, a redshirt sophomore on last year’s team, has opted to focus solely on completing his degree at UW.
Weinman played in 24 career games but had just four catches. Tight end is one of the deeper positions on the roster with O’Brien, Treyton Welch, Jackson Marcotte, Parker Christensen and Nick Miles still around this spring, but nobody in that group has more than 10 career receptions.
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter.