‘We have a placekicker’
LARAMIE -- "Coach says kick the ball and I kick it."
Sounds simple enough, huh?
John Hoyland sure made it seem that easy. The true freshman walk-on from Colorado connected on 13 of his 14 field-goal attempts this fall. He nailed a long of 42. That came in the season finale against Boise State in a steady snow storm in Laramie.
"I've had snow games before when I was in high school, but not like this," Hoyland said postgame. "The snow was to the point you couldn't even see the field."
His lax attitude, calm demeanor and laid-back temperament has seemed to serve Hoyland well.
Who would guess this guy is replacing the school's all-time leading scorer, Cooper Rothe?
Who would guess this guy spent the majority of fall camp not getting reps but hanging out in his dorm room in COVID-19 quarantine?
Who would guess he wasn't even the starter heading into the season, yet at the last-minute trotted on the field against Nevada, booted all four of his field goals and was named Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week?
Not Craig Bohl.
"There's some guy named John, he's out there, and he had a red shoe. That's about all I know," Bohl joked about his first memories of being around Hoyland. "Next thing you know, it's 21 days later, we're getting ready to play and I'm just going to be excited if he can kick and extra point in our first game.
"You know, he did great this year."
Bohl coaches the kickers. Anytime they do well, he makes sure to hammer home that point. It's all in good fun, but the truth of the matter is, he might just have another really good one at his disposal.
So far so good.
Hoyland leads the nation in made field goals per game at more than two. His lone miss came from 36 yards out on a cold night inside War Memorial Stadium. His confidence never waivered.
He hammered home his last eight attempts, including six in a row in the final two games of the season.
He credits the new placekicking "battery" of long snapper Read Sunn and place holder, Hank Gibbs.
"For a group of guys who were put together last minute, we had an amazing season," Hoyland said.
Bohl said his approach to coaching Hoyland is about as simple as the freshman puts it, but the news isn't all good.
"You know what, I tell him don't make it too complicated," Bohl said. "He's listened to my coaching. But there's a flipside to that -- there's too many times that he's kicking field goals.
"... I can tell you this, we have a placekicker."