Sept. 26, 2001
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Ask Jarvis Wallum why he wanted attend to the University ofWyoming after graduating high school in Rapid City, S.D., and his answer isquick and to the point.
"I mainly decided to come here because I liked the mountains and stuff," hesaid. "I didn't go anywhere in South Dakota because it was all cornfieldsand stuff like that."
Wallum's dad lives in Casper, which allows him to pay in-state tuition.But more importantly, Wallum came to UW to be a kicker for the Cowboys.And after waiting his turn to show what he could do, Wallum's career is offto a fast start.
After making all five of his field-goal attempts in Wyoming's 43-42 winSaturday at Utah State, he continues to lead the nation in field goals madewith 11. He's missed just one of 12 attempts this season and seven of his 17kickoffs have been touchbacks
Wallum was named the Mountain West Conference's special teams player of theweek twice this season.
Wallum came to UW in 1999 as a walk-on. When he got to Laramie, there were ahost of other kickers ahead of him, most notably Aaron Elling, who was UW'skicker from 1998-2000.
Elling and Wallum competed every day in practice, although it was Elling whowon most of the battles. Elling graduated last spring, and this is the firstseason Wallum has kicked in a college game.
"I think if I would have gotten the opportunity to start or get on the fieldany time before this year, it would have been bad," the sophomore said. "Idon't think I would have done very good.
"The competition (with Elling) helped me more than anything. He pushed meand I pushed him."
Wallum knew heading into this season that he was the leading candidate totake over Elling's job. And he said he felt the pressure.
"Any time I did get a chance, like in spring ball, I was just so nervous,"Wallum said. "Before, I didn't know all the older guys and I didn't know alot of the coaches that well.
"Now I know all the coaches and I'm one of the older guys, so that burdenhas been lifted. Plus, my leg is stronger and my accuracy has come a longway."
Wallum added that having Elling there for both of his first two games inLaramie also helped calm his nerves.
Wallum made a strong UW debut Sept. 1 against Furman as he made four of fivefield goals, hit his only extra-point attempt and had half of his kickoffsgo into the end zone.
For his efforts, he was named the Mountain West Conference's player of theweek for special teams.
"I obviously hoped for the best and hoped to do the best I could do," Wallumsaid. "I didn't think I would come out and get MWC player of the week.
"Elling told me he never even got a chance to kick five field goals in agame. I liked coming out that way."