Analysis: Who replaces Rothe?
We had some questions heading into spring football.
The COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has likely shut that down though an official announcement from the school has not yet been made. Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers did Tweet this Monday though:
Here are a few things we were looking forward to seeing:
- Who will line up next to Chad Muma and fill the enormous shoes of Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia at linebacker?
- Who will replace Wyoming's all-time leading scorer, Cooper Rothe?
- What will the receiving corps look like without Raghib Ismail, Austin Conway and John Okwoli?
- Will Levi Williams take full advantage of being the lone quarterback this spring?
- Who are the Cowboys' play makers at the wide receiver position?
That, and plenty more.
In this series, we will dissect those queries. No, we won't get to talk to the players or coaches, but we can dive into the numbers and possibilities.
Let's continue with an underappreciated position -- the kicker.
LARAMIE -- Replacing a legend is never easy.
Just ask Tyler Vander Waal, who was tasked with replacing Josh Allen. Or the lucky guy who will attempt to fill the shoes of All-American linebacker, Logan Wilson.
We'll get to that subject soon.
Luke Glassock has quite an undertaking in front of him, not just taking over for one of the top place kickers in the nation, but the all-time leading scorer in program history, Cooper Rothe.
No pressure, kid.
The freshman from Buffalo had a breakout senior season in high school. He was named USA Today's Special Teams Player of the Year in Wyoming. He boomed a 49-yard attempt through the uprights against Moorcroft. He also nailed a 36-yarder that season against Glenrock. Glassock converted 40-of-57 extra-point attempts that season, too.
Just check out this audition tape:
During his sophomore year, Glassock even hit a 52-yard field goal against Torrington.
What does all that mean?
The former walk on has never attempted a field goal, extra point or kickoff at the collegiate level. Last season, he watched as Rothe, a Lou Groza Award finalist in 2018, struggled to find consistency. The senior hit just 15 of his 22 attempts on the season. He even missed three extra points.
If Glassock wanted a taste of the pressures of the position, he had a front row seat in Boise when a 37-yarder fell short off the right foot of Rothe in overtime, giving the Broncos a 20-17 victory.
I asked Rothe about the unknown local kicker two weeks ago. I figured Craig Bohl, who also coaches the UW kickers, didn't have a lot of faith in him, seeing as he went out and signed a graduate transfer from Cornell, Nick Null.
Apparently, that's not the case at all.
Rothe complimented the youngster, saying Glassock was right there with him during kicking drills all season long.
"He has a really powerful leg," Rothe would tell me. "We finished at about the same percentage on kicks."
At BHS, Glassock booted 52-of-70 kickoffs into the end zone. He might have fallen short those 18 times because he was so worn out. Glassock was also the quarterback and starting safety for the state champion Bison. He was named the Casper Star Tribune Super 25 Offensive Player of the Year.
The kicking position is one people tend to forget about -- until one sails wide or falls short. Even Rothe had people questioning, "what is wrong with Cooper?"
That's the business of being a kicker.
Null made 6-of-8 field goals last season with a long of 49 yards at Harvard. He also hit a 41-yarder against Yale. That earned his All-IVY League second-team honors.
In his career, Null is 16-of-21 overall. He brings experience, but it's limited.
Maybe Null was picked up to be the "bridge guy" in his lone season in Laramie? The grad transfer can punt, too. Maybe he fills a void there if Tim Zaleski doesn't recover from a nagging injury that derailed his 2019 campaign?
Either way, Wyoming is going with a guy with zero experience or one with 21 collegiate kicks under his belt.
To put that in perspective, Rothe attempted 77 in his career. He made 59 of them.
With a 2020 schedule that includes five teams with more than 11 wins and seven bowl teams in 2019, there are sure to be some tight contests. Whoever draws kicking duties better get acclimated -- and fast.
Wyoming fans better hope this turns out more like Alijah Halliburton replacing Andrew Wingard -- no matter who the starter is.