Coppens chooses to walk-on as kicker for Cowboys

Jon Coppens’ interest in playing football for Craig Bohl goes back three years ago when he was in high school in Minnesota and Bohl was the coach at North Dakota State.

Both Coppens and Bohl are in different places now, but figure to come together in the fall.

Jon Coppens

Jon Coppens

Coppens, a 6-1, 185-pound kicker from Nolan Catholic High in Fort Worth, Texas, committed to Wyoming Tuesday night. Coppens will be a preferred walk-on, but said Wednesday during a phone interview that he will receive a significant academic scholarship from UW as he pursues a degree in petroleum engineering.

“Not only is Wyoming an affordable school, but the majority, if not all of (my schooling), will be paid for academically for me,” Coppens said.

Coppens also said he liked the athletic facilities at UW, and “feels confident they’re going to do special things (in football) in the future.”

As a senior this season, Coppens made 8 of 10 field goals, with a long of 45 yards, and made all 25 of his extra-point attempts. He also handled kickoffs and did some punting.

“I would say I’m equally good in all three areas, and can contribute at the Division I level in all three areas,” Coppens said.

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UW fall camp – Day 17

Special teams took center stage during Wyoming’s 21st practice and 17th day of fall camp Wednesday morning in cool and breezy conditions at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

UW worked on things such as field-goal return, punting out of the end zone and kickoffs during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. First-year coach Craig Bohl also said the team worked on other special situations like when to take a safety and onside kicks.

One might ask about field-goal return? Remember the Alabama-Auburn game last year where Auburn returned a missed field goal for a touchdown to win the game?

Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice:


Bohl during one of North Dakota State’s three consecutive FCS national title games, Sam Houston State had a returner back in case of a missed field goal.

Blair Burns

Blair Burns

Senior cornerback Blair Burns was the return man for UW during that period. During the punt drill, where the Cowboys punted out of their own end zone, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne was the return man.

Speaking of punting, Bohl said sophomore punter Ethan Wood will return to Laramie Wednesday night. Wood’s parents were killed in a plane crash on Aug. 9, and the funeral was last Friday.

At the end of practice, Bohl said the team had some fun and had a few of the offensive and defensive linemen try to field onside kicks. Sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby, the media was told, showed some good hands.

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UW fall camp – Day 16

Wyoming’s 16th day and 20th practice of fall camp was in full pads Tuesday morning, and all of it was held outside at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Most of the previous practices started in its indoor practice facility, and then went outside. The Cowboys started with some 11-on-11 work, and the quarterbacks were sharp.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard — still the starter — threw a nice deep ball to senior receiver Dominic Rufran. Kirkegaard executed a pump fake to perfection on the play.

Kirkegaard made several nice throws during the period. One was over the middle to sophomore Jake Maulhardt, and another was to the sideline for senior receiver Jalen Claiborne.

Sophomore backups Tom Thornton and Aaron Young also took some snaps at quarterback. Thornton got more than Young. All the plays during the period were pass plays.

Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough had a sack early on of Kirkegaard (the quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit).

Sidney Malauulu

Sidney Malauulu

True freshman defensive tackle Sidney Malauulu had one of the more powerful plays of the day and he pushed backup sophomore center Jacob English back about three yards that disrupted a play.

Malauulu came back last week from a sprained MCL in his knee, and Bohl said he likely will play this season. More on him later this week.

Here’s what coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s practice.

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UW fall camp – Day 15

Monday marked the last of five two-a-day practices, and the players were in shoulder pads and shorts Monday morning.

It also was the first practice since last Saturday’s scrimmage, and a day off for the players. But first-year coach Craig Bohl said some players were late to breakfast and he had to get on them prior to practice.

Here is what Bohl had to say after Monday morning’s practice:


UW’s new walk-on kicker — true freshman Pierce Royster — was at practice. He was not in pads as he has to go through an acclimation period. But he did some kicking with senior Stuart Williams prior to practice as Bohl watched. Both guys kicked field goals off a tee from numerous distances and locations on the field. Williams looked to be the most consistent of the two, and made one from 52 yards.

Here is a quick video of that:

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