MW Football Media Day – Mountain Division notes

Mountain West football media day activities ended Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas as players and coaches from the six Mountain Division team — including Wyoming — spoke to numerous members of the media.

UW coach Craig Bohl was in good spirits, and like most coaches this time of year, is excited and enthusiastic about the upcoming season. But there are concerns — big-time concerns — with the Cowboys entering fall came on Aug. 10.

Here is a video interview with Bohl as he addresses some of those concerns and talks about some other things.

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Mountain West football media day – West Division notes

Here are some news and notes from Tuesday’s first day of Mountain West football media day activities here in Las Vegas. Tuesday featured teams from the West Division. Players and coaches from the Mountain Division get their turn Wednesday.

–Nevada coach Brian Polian isn’t one to hold back his opinions, and he wasn’t happy that this season’s rivalry game with UNLV is not at the end of the season,

Brian Polian

Brian Polian

like many rivalry games are around the nation, or during the weekend of Nevada Day, which celebrates when Nevada became a state back in 1864. Nevada Day is Friday, Oct. 30 this year.

This year’s game is Oct. 3 at UNLV.

This reminds me of the Border War with Wyoming and Colorado State. There was a decent stretch when that game was played at the end of the season with other rivalry games. However, that usually came during the weekend of Thanksgiving, and attendance in Laramie or Fort Collins were poor with students not around, and usually one of the two teams not being very good.

I’ve written in the past that the Border War should be played more toward the middle of the season. The weather is better and there is more fan interest. Attendance figures at both schools back that up. Not sure what to say about the Nevada-UNLV game, but one thing is certain, Polian doesn’t like the set up this year.

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Comparing MW preseason football polls with my own

Mountain West football media day activities started Tuesday morning with the release of the preseason all-conference team and predicted order of finish.

I have been a voter with this since the conference’s first year in 1999, so I thought I would share what the final poll looked like compared to mine, and obviously, get some feed back from you.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

Wyoming was picked fifth in the six-team Mountain Division, which is what I had the Cowboys at. Senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough was the only player to earn preseason all-conference honors. I had two others on my ballot, but it isn’t that much of a surprise that Yarbrough was the only one. A team coming off four wins normally does not get a lot of players on preseason awards lists.

Here is the preseason all-conference team and predicted order of finish released by the league Tuesday:


QB: Chuckie Keeton, Sr., Utah State

RB: *Donnel Pumphrey, Jr., San Diego State; **Marteze Waller, Sr., Fresno State

WR: *Rashard Higgins, Jr., Colorado State; **Devonte Boyd, So., UNLV

OL: *Marcus Henry, Sr., Boise State; **Rees Odhiambo, Sr., Boise State; Alex Fifita, Sr., Fresno State; Ben Clarke, Sr., Hawaii; Pearce Slater, Sr., San Diego State

TE: *Steven Walker, Sr., Colorado State

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UW, Shyatt agree on contract extension

April 22.

That’s when Wyoming announced it was in negotiations for a contract extension for men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt.

July 15 was when the school announced the deal was done.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

Shyatt’s contract was extended through April of 2020. He will receive a small bump in his base salary through the end of the contract. Although his base salary will be between $210,000 and $230,000 through life of this contract, UW athletics director Tom Burman said Shyatt made “north of $800,000″ this year. Most coaches contracts at UW are low on base salary, but heavy on other bonuses and incentives.

In other words, Shyatt won’t be the highest paid men’s basketball coach in the Mountain West, but he will be in the upper half . Basically, Shyatt’s new contract is not much different than his old one.

But why did this take so long? UW has been very generous and speedy in handing out extensions to coaches in the past. Since Burman became the AD in October of 2006 that has been the case, and it also was the case from ADs before him.

This was different because of a couple of factors. One being the retention bonuses for assistants Jeremy Shyatt (Larry’s son) and Allen Edwards.

This is a new thing for UW. Burman said there was a retention deal in place not long after became the AD in 2006, but that was funded by the Wyoming Legislature, but that soon went away.

Jeremy Shyatt and Edwards will, in the simplest terms I can express, receive $50,000 bonuses apiece for the next two years if they remain on the staff, or at least are on staff after a certain day in the year. Both make at or just over $100,000 a year.

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Thoughts on UW men’s basketball schedule for 2015-16

The Mountain West released its conference schedule for men’s basketball Wednesday morning, and not long after that Wyoming released its entire schedule for the upcoming season.

Here is a link to the Cowboys’ schedule:

First, some thoughts of the conference slate:

–I’m not a fan of the Cowboys playing New Mexico and Utah State once apiece. UW will play at New Mexico and gets Utah State at home. Missing a trip to Utah State isn’t the worst thing in the world as the Spectrum in Logan is one of the toughest places to play in the MW. But the league needs to keep regional rivalries in place the best it can on a home-and-home basis. Who cares if UW plays, for instance, Nevada or San Jose State once — home or away. Not getting New Mexico at home will hurt UW’s overall attendance numbers as that normally is a good draw whether the game is in the middle of the week or on a weekend. Games in Logan against Utah State are good because it gives fans in the western part of the state a chance to go see the Cowboys play.

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Shyatt contract extension still in the works

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

On April 22, Wyoming announced it was in negotiations with men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt on a contract extension.

More than a month later — 40 days to be exact — and there has been no announcement on a contract extension, but negotiations are still on going.

“We are still a ways away, both Larry and I have been traveling a bunch. Hopefully we will get something final before the middle of July,” UW athletics director Tom Burman said via text message Monday.

“We will get it done. We just need to work the details with (Shyatt’s) representatives as well as (UW’s legal staff).”

Tom Burman

Tom Burman

Burman would not comment on specifics about the negotiations, but if this were simply an extension for Shyatt it likely wouldn’t have taken this long. Security and/or incentives for his assistant coaches could be one of the areas that is being negotiated.

Shyatt has a 103-80 record at UW. The Cowboys went 25-10 last season, won its first-ever Mountain West Tournament title and played in its first NCAA Tournament since 2002.

Early predictions for UW and Mountain West football

Wyoming is less than 100 days from kickoff to the 2015 season when it opens the season at home against North Dakota on Sept. 5.

We are about two months before the start of fall camp. Yet, several college football preview magazines recently hit the newsstands predicting what will happen this season.

Here are a few notes regarding UW and the Mountain West.

–The Cowboys were picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division by Lindy’s and Athlon, while The Sporting News picked them fourth.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

–The only First Team All-MW player for UW by all three publications was senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. Lindy’s ranked Yarbrough as the third-best NFL prospect in the MW behind Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey — both juniors.

–Junior offensive lineman Chase Roullier was a first team pick by The Sporting News, and was a second team choice by the other two. Senior running back Shaun Wick was a second team pick by Athlon.

–Lindy’s chose UW senior quarterback Cameron Coffman as the MW’s Newcomer of the Year.

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Nance Jr. to roll up frequent flyer miles working out for NBA teams

I talked with former Wyoming men’s basketball forward Larry Nance Jr. Tuesday about his recent experience at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, and his pending interviews/workouts with NBA teams.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Nance, who has been based in Chicago the last couple of months, left for San Antonio Tuesday and has a workout with the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday.

Next week, he begins a whirl-wind tour of the country as he has workouts scheduled with Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Minnesota, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers. Nance said he also hopes to get a workout with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“From what I understand right now, each team has their own way,” said Nance on what he expects from work outs with different NBA teams.

“San Antonio, I’ve heard, is very structured but laid-back. As long as you’re going as hard as you can and following their structure, they’re not looking to kill you. I’ve heard other teams like Cleveland run you to death to see how you respond to that. I know what I do well and I’m going to stick to that.”

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ESPN networks to carry MW football championship game

ESPN and the Mountain West have reached an agreement for rights to the conference’s annual football championship game, enhancing an existing multimedia pact through the 2019-20 season.

The MW title game, played at the site of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Selection Committee ranking, will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 every season, beginning with the 2015 matchup on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

The football title contest adds to an extensive deal, which began with the 2013 season, that provides ESPN with exclusive worldwide rights to televise up to 16 Mountain West football games, plus every Boise State home game, as well as up to 31 conference-controlled men’s basketball games annually.

According to the contract with the MW and ESPN, MW football teams that have regular-season games carried on ESPN or ESPN2 during the regular season receive appearance bonuses. If games are televised on Saturdays, each team receives a $500,000 appearance bonus. If the games are on days other than Saturday, they get $300,000.

A spokesperson from the MW office said Friday that there will be no appearances bonuses for teams that play in the MW championship game.

CBS televised last year’s title game, and the game was played at 8:15 p.m. MT — not good for fans or TV ratings.

A late afternoon kickoff is much better for everyone involved. ESPN exposure is always a good thing, although the appearance bonuses would have been even nicer for the schools involved.

Overall, this is a good move for the MW. What do you think, folks?


Nance Jr. measures up at NBA Draft Combine

Former Wyoming men’s basketball player (kind of sounds weird to read that, doesn’t it) Larry Nance Jr. is currently at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and will be there through the weekend.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Similar to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, players go through a wide range of sport-specific tests. With the NBA Draft Combine, players also will play games for scouts and NBA team officials to watch, and interviews will be held.

Here are some of Nance’s specifics:

Height without shoes: 6-7 1/2

Height with shoes: 6-8 1/2

Weight: 226.6

Body fat percentage: 6.4

Hand length: 9.0 inches

Hand width: 9.75 inches

Standing reach: 9 feet

Wingspan: 7-feet, 1.5 inches

Lane agility time: 10.89 seconds

Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds

3/4-court sprint: 3.25 seconds

Standing vertical jump: 29 inches

Maximum vertical jump: 37.5 inches. That tied for the best jump among all power forwards at the combine.

Here’s the link to all the measurables for all the players at this year’s NBA Draft Combine:!/anthro/?ls=iref:nba:specialst3b

Nance played in the Combine’s first 5-on-5 game Thursday afternoon, and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 minutes. He was 3 of 6 from the field and had five offensive rebounds. Nance was 2 of 7 from the free-throw line, which is uncharacteristic of him as he was well over a 70 percent free-throw shooter at UW.

Friday, Nance had four points, seven rebounds (four offensive), four turnovers and three fouls. He was 2 of 5 from the field.

Nance received some high praise from the broadcast team from ESPN2 during Thursday’s game. Friday, ESPN’s Fran Frachilla said he thinks Nance will be drafted in the second round, but may spend some time in the NBA’s Developmental League..

Nance will not be with four of his senior teammates in Laramie this weekend for graduation ceremonies. However, UW sent this picture of those guys along with coach Larry Shyatt.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men's basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men’s basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.