Preseason predictions for the Pokes

The first day of summer is upon us, and it’s that time of year when many sports fans are counting the days until football season — more specifically college football season.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

Many of the preseason college football publications are out there, and as you probably can  imagine, junior running back Brian Hill is getting a lot of attention.

Lindy’s college football preview magazine lists Hill as the 18th-best running back in the country. Twenty-five running backs were ranked, and two other running backs in the Mountain West were ranked ahead of Hill — San Diego State senior Donnel Pumphrey was eighth and Boise State junior Jeremy McNichols was 17th.

Long-time Denver Post sports writer Natalie Meisler did the MW previews for Lindy’s, and has been for while. She picked the Cowboys to finish third in the Mountain Division, behind Boise State and Air Force. She said UW is a “dark horse special contingent on rapid maturation of young participants.”

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UW spring game live chat replay

Here is the replay of my live chat for the University of Wyoming’s annual spring football game Saturday.

The Gold team beat the Brown 38-35.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog Wyoming spring football game live chat

Ebbesen making progress at center, Stirneman getting time at tackle

Wyoming enters its fourth week of spring practice. this week.

Du'Ryan Ebbesen

Du’Ryan Ebbesen

I did a story at the start of spring drills of senior walk-on center Du’Ryan Ebbesen, and his chance to solidify himself as a viable option there as junior Charlie Renfree recovers from a back injury.

Here’s the link to that story: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/perseverance-could-pay-off-for-seniordu-ryan-ebbesen/article_38eb28e2-f3d2-11e5-8d4c-e7d1119bb35f.html

This is what UW offensive line coach Scott Fuchs said recently about Ebbsen’s progress this spring: “I think he’s progressing very well right now. There’s a difference between playing (center) for the first time and being a savvy veteran. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. But his willingness and eagerness to learn is going to aid him quite a bit down the stretch. He’s taking a ton of reps, and every rep counts.”

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UW’s Wingard with a bold promise

When watching Andrew Wingard play free safety for Wyoming, what do you immediately think of?

Andrew Wingard

Andrew Wingard

Obviously, just how hard and well he plays the game. As a true freshman last season, Wingard earned First Team Freshman All-America honors by the Football Writers Association of America. He also was a Second Team All-Mountain West selection as he ranked first in the conference and fourth in the nation with 6.9 solo tackles per game (83 total). Wingard also was second in the conference and 12th nationally with 10.2 tackles per contest (122 total).

But what else? It has to be his long, blonde hair.

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UW receivers coach with good perspective on Johnson duo

Clester Johnson was a two-time national champion at Nebraska in the 1990s as a wide receiver and wing-back.

Clester Johnson

Clester Johnson

His son, C.J., is a redshirt freshman wide receiver with Wyoming after attending Bellevue West High in Bellevue, Nebraska.

The Johnsons were the first father-son duo to win Gatorade State Player of the Year awards. Clester won it in 1991, and C.J won it in 2014.

Comparisons have been and will continue to be made between Clester and his son.

Mike Grant is a good person to ask about the two Johnsons.

Grant was a graduate assistant coach at Nebraska while Clester was there. Grant was hired as UW’s wide receivers coach back in January.

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Despite giving football a try, Conway with high praise of new UW hoops coach

Two questions came to mind when Wyoming basketball player Austin Conway decided to give football a try were:

Austin Conway

Austin Conway

Is Conway still on the basketball team after being one of five players cited for drug use by police prior to the Mountain West Tournament? All five were suspended for the rest of the season?

Was his decision based on coach Larry Shyatt stepping down and the hiring Shyatt assistant Allen Edwards?

“Not at all,” said Conway during a recent interview.

I will have more on Conway’s decision to give football a shot in Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and the story also will be posted at wyosports.net.

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UW tie to historic Texas Western win over Kentucky

This year marks the 50-year anniversary that Texas Western (now known as UTEP) defeated Kentucky 72-66 to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

It was the first time in the history of the game that Texas Western started five black players.

Nevil Shed

Nevil Shed

Did you know one of those Texas Western players has a tie to the University of Wyoming?

Nevil Shed ended up being an assistant coach at UW in the 1970s for coach Moe Radovich. This information came from Jim Kearns, UW communications specialist. Kearns said Shed was likely one of the first, if not the first, black coaches at UW.

That game will be aired twice this week on ESPN networks, will full coverage of every basket. The first airing is at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN. It will re-air at 9 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

Wick doesn’t plan to change much about his game

Shaun Wick doesn’t plan on changing the way he runs the ball.

Shaun Wick

Shaun Wick

The Wyoming senior running back missed the last eight games last season due to concussions. He received a medical redshirt waiver from the NCAA to return in 2016 and he’s been impressive so far through three spring practices for the Cowboys.

But there is something Wick wants to avoid.

“I feel the same. I’m still a one-cut-and-go guy. Just staying phyical but avoiding those head-to-head hits,” Wick said.

That’s easier said than done for a running back, let alone anyone who plays football at any position.

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Grant talks about UW’s wide receivers

New Wyoming wide receivers coach Mike Grant hit the ground running when he was hired back in late January.

Mike Grant

Mike Grant

Grant has 22 years of experience as a college coach, and was on Nebraska’s staff as a graduate assistant when current UW coach Craig Bohl was an assistant with the Cornhuskers.

Grant has two veteran receivers to work with in seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt, and has liked what he’s seen from both so far this spring, and even going back to winter workouts.

I asked Grant about UW’s young receivers, and here’s what he said about sophomores James Price and Justice Murphy, along with redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson. Here’s what he said.

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Favorite Easter candy among UW football players

Happy Easter everyone.

This day has a much deeper and significant meaning than candy, but to have some fun, I asked a few of the Wyoming football players what they’re favorite Easter candy is.

Senior linebacker Lucas Wacha: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Senior defensive end Trevor Meader: Reese’s peanut butter bunny

Sophomore defensive end Kevin Prosser: Sour patches. I am not into chocolate much.

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