WHITEWATER — It isn't anything new that Kevin Bullis is nervous about the punting game.
"That might be my most stressful play," said the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater head football coach in his weekly media call Wednesday. "If somebody put a heart-rate monitor on me any time we’re punting, my heart rate is high."
This week, should the UW-Whitewater have to punt, he'll be concerned about it even more in Week 2 when the Warhawks travel to take on Concordia-Moorhead because the Cobbers blocked two punts in their Week 1 overtime loss to UW-La Crosse on Saturday.
Senior linebacker Willie Julkes III blocked a punt in the first half and another in the fourth quarter to set up the Cobbers deep in Eagles territory where they punched in the tying touchdown to send the game to overtime.
"He’s fast, he’s physical, he’s big, and I guarantee you he’ll be coming off that edge full speed," said Bullis, whose team is coming off a Week 1 win against Dubuque. "We’re going to have to be sturdy on that edge and be disciplined and stick to our protection rules, and we’ll be fine."
One of those rules has to do with the steps taken by a punter. UW-Whitewater senior punter Andy Cooper is a two-step punter. That means as he catches the ball from longsnapper Mason Fleury, he takes one step forward with his right foot, another with his left foot and then launches.
On Saturday, UW-La Crosse punter Sean Parker, a 2018 WIAC second-team selection, took three steps on each of his punts allowing the defense more time to get in position for a block.
Returning to Moorhead
Two years ago, the Warhawks lost to Concordia-Moorhead, 25-17, to fall to 0-2 for the first time since 1999. It was a catastrophic game. And a demoralizing ride home on the bus.
Very little has changed on the Concordia-Moorhead end of things. They're still going to line up and run the triple option like Army, Navy and St. Norbert. Every week, the Warhawks emphasize assignment football.
In the past, Bullis has pointed out that defending the triple option forces a defense to be hyper-disciplined defensively. In that sense, this will be a good test for the defense that is short on career starts, but long on talent.
Rotations for running back ...
The top three UW-Whitewater running backs — Ronny Ponick, Alex Peete and Jarrod Ware — each carried the ball at least a dozen times. Ponick had 12 carries for 80 yards, Peete carried the ball 14 times for 79 yards and Ware had 12 carries for 67 yards.
Peete scored twice and both Ponick and Ware scored once. It was Ware that stood out to Bullis.
"The guy of those three that ran like a man on fire was Jarrod Ware. They all three did a great job, and you can see how all three are different," Bullis said. "But Jarrod Ware, you could tell he was so hungry for that opportunity. Getting injured last year in your senior year, fortunately it was early enough that he could keep the year and get a medical redshirt, but you could tell he was a man on fire Saturday."
... and quarterback
Zach Oles and Max Meylor will continue to share time as the signal callers. Oles completed 16 of his 30 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Meylor completed 5-of-6 for 40 yards and no touchdowns.
Whether one of them will take the reigns for good is not mandatory, according to both Bullis and offensive coordinator Pete Jennings.
"We were very pleased with both of them, and very pleased with their pocket presence," Bullis said. "We had a good feel for Zach. He was able to get a lot of snaps last year. …
"But for Max, as well, just to see their pocket presence was a very good starting point to a season."