LARAMIE -- Two double cheeseburgers, two spicy chicken sandwiches and a large fry.

That used to be Nofoafia Tulafono's late night go-to fast-food order.

You may have noticed that sentence above is in past tense.

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Wyoming's starting center lined up over the ball at 325 pounds last fall. During his three-plus years in Laramie, the Victorville, Calif., product said he has even seen his weight reach a high of 350.

Those days are over.

"Because of the offense we're running, I have to be athletic and be able to run for the whole game, not just, you know, the first half," said Tulafono, who added he was around 318 during the spring. "I think that was the biggest thing for me was after the first half, I kind of just went down, you know, because of my weight.

"... Once I get into the season, then it's going to be much different. I just wanted to be quicker off the ball."

Tulafono calls it a diet. Craig Bohl refers to it as maturity.

Wyoming's head coach said the center position is one of complexity. Whether that's IDing oncoming rushers or changing the blocking scheme, the man in the middle runs the show in this pro-style attack.

"Well, the very first thing is body composition," Bohl said about the junior last April. "He's much lighter than he has been and that's allowed him to move well. That's been a decision that he made in the offseason to change and alter his diet and not hit McDonald's as much."

A self-proclaimed "big McDonald's guy," Tulafono confirmed that news. You won't see him in the drive thru anytime soon.



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The maturation process hasn't stopped with just this lifestyle change, though.

Eric Abojei, Zach Watts, Marco Machado and Kohl Herbolsheimer, all members of the Cowboys' two-deep last opening day, are gone. So is former starting left guard Emmanuel Pregnon, who entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and is now at USC. Frank Crum, UW's newly inserted left tackle, missed a big chunk of the spring with an injury, too.

In other words, Tulafono, at times, was the last experienced lineman standing.

He knew it was time to step into that leadership role.

"I just knew that I have young guys behind me and I'm not a kid anymore," he said. "I'm trying to mature in football and also outside of football so that, you know, my teammates can see that 'Oh, Fia is doing this and doing that. I should be doing that.' What am I going to do for these young guys? What am I going to show these young guys?"

Tulafono, who was born in American Samoa, started all 13 games for the Cowboys a season ago. He helped lead the way for running back Titus Swen, who broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark. That also led to a second team All-Mountain West selection from Pro Football Focus. Phil Steele Magazine put him on its fourth team.

The former three-star prospect was recruited by Power-5 programs like Arizona and BYU. Mountain West foes Hawaii and New Mexico were interested, too.

Tulafono joked that there weren't any real Cowboys when he was growing up on his island. Now, there is.

An optimistic one at that.

He said it's no secret why he has belief in this current roster and what it can accomplish this fall. If you're worried about the youth and inexperience in the offensive trenches, don't be, Tulafono added.

This group is tight.

"That's why I feel like last year went the way it did because of how close we were," he said. "We shocked a lot of people. I feel like just being close and really having each other's back -- that's really what it is. It's not just an on-the-field-type thing, it's really off the field, in the locker room.

"I think that's the biggest thing I love. I love talking to each and every one of my teammates."

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