What appeared to be a concern turned out to be an afterthought, and that’s a good thing for Brinkley Jolly.
The Wyoming redshirt sophomore right tackle made his first-career start last week against previously No. 13-ranked Boise State.
Jolly got the start after it was announced starter Ryan Cummings would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Cummings started 26 consecutive games prior to the injury and underwent surgery Monday.
Not only was it Jolly’s first start, it was his first significant playing time. He saw time in one game last season, ironically against Boise State, and that was for only one play.
Jolly was part of a Wyoming offensive line that paved the way for 215 rushing yards, 274 passing yards, didn’t allow a quarterback sack and also didn’t commit a penalty in a 30-28 victory.
“(Jolly) played solid. There were no mental mistakes. I thought he did a decent job in pass protection and in the run game,” offensive line coach Scott Fuchs said. “There were a couple of long runs by (junior running back Brian Hill) that he helped spring.
“But, like everybody else along that line, he can still get better. We’ll just continue to improve and keep rolling with him.”
Jolly was part of third-year coach Craig Bohl’s first recruiting class in 2014, and was a tight end at Liberty High in Liberty, Missouri. Jolly redshirted in 2014 and moved to offensive tackle.
Jolly told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (http://bit.ly/2eiOs6l ) that he felt comfortable and confident replacing Cummings.
“I wasn’t nervous, and nothing really changed for me in terms of preparation last week,” Jolly said. “I had been working with the guys all this time, and when (Cummings) got hurt, the rest of the team welcomed me in and encouraged me.
“That gave me confidence, so it was more about just going to work and having fun.”
After the game, Bohl said the players chanted Jolly’s name for how he played in his first start.
“He had a grin on his face,” Fuchs said. “But (Jolly) is a guy that doesn’t get too high or too low. He’s the type of guy that lets bad stuff roll off his back and just goes on to the next play.”
Fuchs said technique is the biggest area Jolly needs to continue to work on. Jolly agreed.
However, Jolly brings some athleticism to the position, and Fuchs said that can make up for a lack of technique at times.
“(Cummings) brought more weight and power, but he had to be very technically sound,” Fuchs said. “(Jolly) can get some stuff done and fix it with his athleticism if he isn’t as technically sound as he needs to be.
“But we still want to work on (Jolly’s) technique, and the overall improvement of all our guys along that line.”
As far as the depth chart goes, senior Eli Moody of Lovell, a former walk-on who was recently awarded a scholarship, is Jolly’s backup heading into Saturday’s home game against Utah State.