Cole Godbout and Claude Cole may have figured into the picture along the interior defensive line for the University of Wyoming football team this season.
But after an injury to one of the starters, that picture became a lot clearer for, as they are casually known among the team, the two Coles.
Junior defensive tackle Ravontae Holt was lost for the season during fall camp with a knee injury. Holt, junior Javaree Jackson and sophomore Victor Jones are the only three interior defensive linemen on the roster who have played in a college game.
When Holt went down, it looked as if UW would have a three-man rotation for those two interior defensive line spots with Jackson, Jones and redshirt freshman Mario Mora. But over the final week of camp, Godbout and Cole started to emerge as viable options.
“With our depth issues, everyone has to catch up right away. Everyone has to go, and I think everyone felt it,” UW interior defensive line coach Pete Kaligis said. “Just like in life, if someone goes down, someone has to step up. You never know when your number is called. Sometimes these kids don’t believe it, but when it happens, it is like ‘whoa.’
“I didn’t have to say anything to any of the guys. We’re going to work. The expectation is whoever is on the field, they’d better perform to the standard of Wyoming football that has been set.”
Godbout and Cole are both redshirt freshmen. Cole is a walk-on. Godbout got a late start to his UW career. He didn’t get to campus until the start of school last year because he contracted mononucleosis over the summer and stayed home in Hudson, Wisconsin, during fall camp. Godbout said during spring drills that he felt like he was playing catch-up, but he’s done a good enough job that he enters Saturday’s season-opener against Missouri as the backup nose tackle behind Mora.
“I’m not all the way there, but I’ve definitely made an impact to where the coaches trust me enough to be on the depth chart and add something to this defensive line in a live game setting,” he said.
“When Ravontae went down, I definitely had a different mindset. I knew I would play before he got injured, but now I have a bigger role. I need to step up and fill a position.”
Cole went through a typical first year for any college player in terms of learning the playbook and techniques needed to play at this level. Like Godbout, Cole is far from a finished product, but progress has been made. If anything, Cole brings size, as he is listed at 6-foot-4, 276 pounds.
“Camp has gone well, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement and growth,” Cole said. “I have a lot of things to improve on, but I am far ahead of where I was last year.
“The great thing about our room is coach Kaligis coaches and prepares us all the same, and holds all of us to the same standard. I have to perform for all the guys in that room. I feel like I’m ready to step in and execute.”
Kaligis said it’s about “pictures” with Godbout and Cole, meaning they need to trust the scenarios they work on in practice. Kaligis added both have made progress, but need to continue to trust their eyes and techniques.
Kaligis added he has to take a closer look at himself in coaching guys like Godbout and Cole when mistakes keep occurring.
“I have to look at myself in the mirror first and see what I doing wrong so I can coach these kids the right way,” he said.
Godbout’s older brother, Beau, will deploy to Afghanistan in mid-October as a medic with the 32nd Infantry Brigade of the Wisconsin National Guard.
Cole Godbout said his brother won’t be able to come see him play before he’s deployed.
Cole’s major listed in UW’s media guide is environmental systems science. Cole said that involves studying how the Earth’s environment works, and how people use the “resources around us to help us in everyday life.”
Cole, who is from Palo Alto, California, changed his major to American studies with a pre-law focus. Cole’s father was a law professor at Stanford, and recently took a similar position at Notre Dame.
Senior graduate transfer running back Trey Smith (concussion) remains out. Sixth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said Friday he is hopeful Smith will return next week.
Bohl also is hopeful he will get redshirt freshman defensive end Solomon Byrd (high ankle sprain) back next week. Byrd was listed as the backup behind junior Garrett Crall when UW released its depth chart Monday.
Bohl said sophomore Keyon Blankenbaker, the starter at nickel, missed Friday’s practice with a toe injury, but he expects Blankenbaker to return next week.
UW holds its 20th and final practice of camp at 10:50 a.m. today in War Memorial Stadium.
Bohl said it will consist of a “situational scrimmage” that will go over specific scenarios that could occur in a real game. Bohl added there won’t be a lot of live contact.
The practice is closed to the public and media.
McNeely to redshirt
True freshman running back Dawaiian McNeely will redshirt this season because he was a partial academic qualifier coming out of high school in Ceres, California. McNeely will continue to practice throughout the fall.