Coloradan Happy Choosing Football

Nov. 13, 2001


Throughout high school, J.J. Raterink thought he would playbasketball once he got to college.

Instead, he's playing football for the University of Wyoming, and he couldn't be happier.

"When signing day came for football my senior year, we had just played abasketball game the night before, and we hadn't played real well," Raterinkrecalled. "I was just kind of getting tired of it, and things weren't goingreal well.

"I decided to play football that day. I started looking around and sendingsome tapes. Wyoming seemed pretty interested and was real nice. I came here,and I've loved it ever since."

After Raterink graduated from Skyline High in Longmont, Colo., he walked-onat UW and redshirted last season.

This season as a redshirt freshman, Raterink has worked his way up the depthchart as the backup to sophomore starting quarterback Casey Bramlet.

Raterink also is the holder on extra points and field goals for sophomorekicker Jarvis Wallum, who leads the nation in field goals per game at 2.25.Senior backup quarterback Matt Swanson had been the holder for UW the pastcouple of years, but a recurring shoulder injury prevented Swanson fromplaying this season.

In stepped Raterink, but there were a few shaky moments.

"When J.J. first started, we were both out of sync," Wallum said. "He wasmissing the spot to place the football, and if you miss that spot by even acouple of inches, it makes a big difference."

Raterink said he held for extra points and field goals in high school, butit was much different when he got to college.

"In high school you have a tee and lots of time, so it's real easy,"Raterink said. "You have about 1.2 seconds to get the ball on the groundright where the kicker wants it and lined up right.

"It was tough at first, but after the Furman game (UW's season-opener) I waspretty comfortable with it, and it didn't bother me much."

Against Furman, Wallum made five of six field goal attempts. For the season,he's made 18 of 21 field goals and 11 of 12 extra points.

With Swanson's injury and the suspension of true freshman Corey Bramlet,Raterink has been preparing himself to play quarterback the past few weeks.Raterink saw his first action Oct. 20 in a mop-up during UW's 35-0 loss atUtah.

Raterink completed three of four passes for 37 yards.

Casey Bramlet has suffered injuries to both shoulders the past two games, soRaterink knows he could be the man at any time. And he says he's ready.

"I feel real confident," Raterink said. "One thing I'll have to do if I goin is do what I do. Casey does a lot of great things and is a greatquarterback. I've got to be ready to go in and do my thing and play my game."