A Big Man With A Light Heart

Sept. 19, 2000

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -

Many people use laughter to ease a pressure-packed situation.

University of Wyoming offensive lineman Rob Kellerman is a prime example ofthat.

The sophomore left tackle has a lot of pressure on him: As a tackle, he hasarguably the toughest position on the offense line, having to blockdefensive ends, linebackers and sometimes blitzing defensive backs.

He also protects the blind side of every UW quarterback.

Kellerman has had to learn his position on the run. He was thrown into thestarting lineup last season as a redshirt freshman. In his first game lastseason, he and the UW offensive line (which included two other redshirtfreshmen, Goldberg and Mike Irvin) allowed 13 quarterback sacks by defendingnational champion Tennessee.

So when things get difficult in a game or practice, Kellerman turns to humorto lessen the tension.

"He's a goofball," said UW sophomore right tackle Adam Goldberg. "We're apretty lighthearted group. We try not to take life too seriously."

Kellerman admits he's the class clown among the offensive linemen, and maybeon the entire team.

"I try to keep things loose," Kellerman said. "Especially with the new guys,they get uptight and scared a little bit. But if you keep it loose, they'remore comfortable with everything."

So what are some of Kellerman's shenanigans?

"I'll crack jokes, and I'll mock some of the coaches, all in good fun," hesaid. "When the players aren't looking, I'll stick my finger in the earholeof their helmet to get them to jump around a little bit."

Kellerman's jokester reputation has helped some of the newcomers to the UWoffensive line.

"He keeps things pretty calm all the time," said UW sophomore offensiveguard Tam Pruitt, who played on the defensive line last year. "With mecoming over from defense, he's helped me a lot because he's easy to talk to.He can teach you a lot. He's definitely made the transition a lot easier forme."

UW's starting offensive line from Saturday's game against Central Michiganincludes three sophomores, a junior college transfer and a true freshman.

Kellerman would be a good person to get advice from. Last season, he allowedonly four quarterback sacks while playing right guard and right tackle. Hetied for the team lead in pancake blocks with 43 and was second in knockdownblocks with 65.

Heading into this season, Kellerman received preseason all-conference honorsfrom many media outlets and college football publications.

"I think Adam, Mike and myself have really matured this year," Kellermansaid. "We don't get beat on twists anymore, and we pick up stunts a lotfaster. We are able to help out the new guys.

"It's a challenge, but it is kind of like last year - teaching and learningon the run."