Aug. 12, 2001
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Following spring drills in April, University of Wyoming receiverRyan McGuffey accomplished something no other player in 108 years of UWfootball has ever done -- being voted a team captain by his teammates as asophomore.
At first, McGuffey was honored, but at a loss for words. The Rivertonproduct has had all summer to think about his new responsibilities, and hewelcomes them.
"Being so young, it's a great honor, but it's a lot of pressure, too," saidMcGuffey during UW's annual football media day Friday at War MemorialStadium.
"You always want to do the right thing and think about everyone else on theteam. It has sunk in, and I want to do the best job I can."
On the field, McGuffey proved his worth last season as a redshirt freshman.He set UW freshman records with 63 catches for 696 yards. He led theMountain West Conference in receptions per game with 5.73. The Sporting Newspicked McGuffey as a second-team All-America pick.
But it wasn't McGuffey's production that led his teammates to vote him asone of four team captains.
"Ryan does a really good job of leading by example," said sophomorequarterback Casey Bramlet of Wheatland. "When we're out there, he's alwaysfirst when we run. He always stays out there longer catching balls and doingextra things. People see that and want to follow that."
McGuffey agrees that he's more of a lead-by-example guy than a vocal leader,but added he isn't shy about voicing his opinion if it's needed.
Even upperclassmen on this year's team voted for McGuffey to be a captain.
"I would be in the huddle with him in games where things weren't lookinggood at all," said UW senior running back Nate Scott. "He would still havethe faith that he had coming out of the tunnel.
"I would talk to him and say we need to get things going, and he would tryto get the guys going. That means a lot."
UW coach Vic Koenning said one factor in UW's disastrous 1-10 season from ayear ago was a lack of leadership. Koenning said after spring drills andheading into fall camp that he sees a lot of players showing signs ofleadership.
And McGuffey is at the top of his list.
"He's doing it all," Koenning said. "He's providing us great leadership. We've got a sign around here that talks about actions speak louder than words.Ryan gets out there and does it by his actions.
"He is a young man that if the rest of the players can watch and learn from,he's the one to do that with."
Not many 20-year-old student-athletes are captains of a Division I footballteam. But age wasn't a factor with McGuffey.
"He's very mature for his age," Scott said. "We don't discriminate againstage or who's the youngest or oldest.
"In my eyes, if you can play, you want to get things going and you want towin games, that's what I look for as a leader and as a captain."