Scrimmage quick hits

Some thoughts and observations from Wyoming first spring football scrimmage Saturday, which consisted of 116 plays and was held indoors at the school’s indoor practice facility:

–I really liked the way true freshman quarterback Brett Smith looked. He was 21 of 27 for 208 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for a team-high 73 yards. He did this mostly against the No. 2 defense, but it was impressive nonetheless. Will be curious to see if and when Smith gets a chance to work with the No. 1 offense, and go against the No. 1 defense.

–Redshirt freshman quarterback Emory Miller Jr. wasn’t horrible, but the No. 1 defense gave him fits. Miller was 13 of 22 for 83 yards. He scored on a 9-yard TD run, but finished with minus-16 rushing yards mostly due to sacks.

–First-year offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon told me about 75 to 80 percent of the offense has been installed, and that he likes the progress the entire group — including his quarterbacks — has made after seven spring practices.

–Senior receiver Jonathan Aiken caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Smith, and finished with three catches for 40 yards. Coach Dave Christensen said Aiken won’t move up the depth chart until he takes care of some academic issues.

–Sophomore receiver Robert Herron caught a scrimmage-high eight passes, most of which were from Miller. “Me and Emroy are growing on each other. Every time he sees me open he triesto get it to me,” Herron said. (Miller and Smith are not being made available to the media this spring).

–I thought junior safety Kenny Browder played well at free safety. He had three tackles and two pass break-ups. He looked fast and broke to the ball well. Maybe my feature today on him and sophomore cornerback Marqueston Huff didn’t jinx them. Here is the link:

–Many got a laugh from watching the players UW has right now at kicker. There are a pair of redshirt freshmen walk-ons in Everett Scott and Stuart Williams, along with senior linebacker Oliver Schober. Williams and Schober made all four of their extra-point attempts. Scott was 3 of 4. But the three were a combined 4 of 13 in field goals. Schober kicks the ball hard, but often too low. Schober could have hurt someone if the ball would have hit them. True freshman Daniel Sullivan is expected to take care of the kicking duties when he arrives this summer.

–There were 10 penalties for 63 yards in the scrimmage, eight of which were on the offense. That didn’t make Christensen happy. There were a couple of illegal blocks on some big plays that really made him mad. Another one, a taunting penalty on senior cornerback Tashaun Gipson on a Miller pass, nullified the pick and Christensen sent Gipson to sideline for a while. This is what Brandon said about the penalties: “If we give great effort, that’s not always good enough. You have to play smart football.”

All in all a pretty decent first spring scrimmage. By the way, the offense defeated the defense 55-37 in the elaborate scoring system for both sides. See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor more on the scrimmage, including a big day for one of UW’s new receivers.

14 thoughts on “Scrimmage quick hits

  1. how did Smith look in comparison to Cara-Samuels first scrimmage as a freshman? What is your thoughts of moving Strong to OL?
    Is there an indication the DL is better, do you agree?
    How was the running game?
    How did the other early enrollees look?

    • Smith has similar elusivness as ACS. Looks to have as good or better arm strength. He has a good feel for the game. Some players have told me Smith reminds them some of ACS that way. I didn’t see ACS until fall camp his freshman year but would compare them favorably. Now I want to see him work with the starters and go against the No.1 defense.

    • To answer some of your other questions Ron:

      Strong is doing well at OL. I think he might play this year. Worked a lot with the ones today.

      DL did ok. Starters were good. Not much stood out from the others.

      Kankolongo had a couple of nice runs. But the best guys are Alexander and it probably Muhammad even though both didn’t play. Alexander should be back soon from what I think is a hammering pull.

  2. How did TJ Smith, Ogbonna, and CJ Morgan look at WR during the Scrimmage? TJ Smith seemed to come along well at the end of last year and I am curious to see if he locks down a starting spot at WR/TE.

    • TJ Smith is out for rest of spring and wasn’t out there today. Not sure of he’s hurt or for academics but I think he’s hurt. He is expected back. Ogbonna didn’t do much. Morgan was pretty good. Herron, Lester and Stratton had the best day among the receivers today. Aiken was good too but is back in the doghouse with school stuff.

  3. You seem to be impressed with where the Pokes are at this time in the spring work out. What is it thaa you like more about this Poke spring than say the last two.

    • I liked the energy and physical effort today. I liked how some of the new olinemen did early. I like the ability of the two qbs. Mire than anything it was just good to see this group do something since it was the first time this spring.

  4. In an earlier article Christensen stated that Chris McNeill was the most consistent receiver but he had some nagging small injuries. There did not appear to be any stats on him in the scrimmage. Did the injuries keep him out? if not, how did he look? Did he appear injured?

    • McNeill played with the ones but didn’t do anything. He looked a little sluggish but he stuck with it. Don’t think a pass was thrown his way today. I think he will be ok. Christened didn’t seem concerned.

    • I did. He showed his savy. And he and Christensen are like mirror images in how they think offensively.

  5. I have real high hopes for this offense. I think that Arroyo hurt us last year in his lack of faith in our offense and therefore was really conservative. I hope with the staff change, we can open things up a bit.

  6. Was the offensive line spread out at all?

    Did Herron drop any passes? Do you know why the coaches moved him from RB to WR?

    How familiar is Smith with the spread offense? (and how long does it take to really grasp)?

    • The offensive line wasn’t spread out too crazy as far as its splits. There were times in short-yardage or what they call “power” situations where they had six O-linemen in there.

      Herron had pretty good hands in the scrimmge. Most were short passes and screen passes. They moved him to get more speed at the inside slot receiver. If injuries mount at RB they could move him back but that is not planned as of yet.

      Smith ran a spread-like offense in high school. Can’t say it was just like Wyoming’s but I think it was similar. I think it depends on the individual on how long it takes to get the grasp of the offense. I will say Smith seems to have a good feel for the game right now, which is encouraging.


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