Oct. 24, 2001
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Last year, he had two brothers with him. This year, he's all byhimself.
But don't feel sorry for University of Wyoming receiver Brock Ralph. He'sdoing just fine.
Ralph said it was special having his older brother Dustin and youngerbrother Brett with him last year. All three were on the Cowboys' roster aswide receivers, and all three lined up as receiver in a game against Nevada.After last season, Dustin returned home to Canada. He gave up football anddecided to concentrate on school. Brett is currently on the first year of atwo-year Mormon Church mission just outside of Toronto.
"It's a little lonely," Brock said, not having his brothers around thisyear. "But they're both back in Canada and still very supportive of me.
"It's forced me to go out and get closer to some of my other teammates. I'mslowly getting used to it, but I do miss them."
While Ralph misses his brothers, he hasn't missed a beat on the field. Ralphis third on the team with 25 catches for 481 yards and two touchdowns. Priorto UW's 35-0 loss at Utah last Saturday, Ralph had 100 yards receiving ineach of his last two games.
Ralph's previous season highs came last year when he caught 30 passes for425 yards and three touchdowns.
"I think Brock's progressed a lot," UW sophomore receiver and co-captainRyan McGuffey said. "He's running better routes now. He's gotten a lottougher, and he's going up and catching a lot of balls."
Ralph's strongest asset is his speed and ability to stretch the defense withdeep patterns along the outside. But over the past few weeks, Ralph has hadto replace McGuffey at the "H" receiver because of a shoulder injury toMcGuffey.
The primary responsibility of the H receiver is to go over the middle, catchshorter, intermediate routes, and take a pounding.
"I feel the last couple of weeks I've had to take a bigger role on the team," Ralph said. "I am glad I could be the one to count on."
Added UW sophomore quarterback Casey Bramlet: "He's a threat inside andoutside. That makes it tough on defenses."
UW's coaching staff is looking forward to the day when McGuffey is back atfull strength and performing his role and to getting Ralph back to where he's more comfortable.
"Brock's a vertical guy," UW receivers coach Rob Phenicie said. "Brock hasshown improvement working the middle of the field, but he's not as efficientas Ryan, mostly because he hasn't been doing it as long as Ryan."