News, notes and quotes from Scrimmage #2

After looking so good Tuesday, one had to figure true freshman quarterback Brett Smith wouldn’t be as sharp in Friday’s second scrimmage for the Wyoming football team.

Smith threw an interception on his first series against the No. 2 defense, but came back and threw a 16-yard TD pass to senior Mazi Ogbonna later on. Smith was 15 of 23 for 160 yards with a touchdown and interception.

“(Smith’s) only struggles came against the No. 1 defense, really,” said coach Dave Christensen, who isn’t allowing quarterbacks to talk to the media. “That’s not all bad. I hope our No. 1 defense is better than our twos. It was good for (Smith) to go against the top guys, even though he does every day in practice. I thought he was fine. He made a couple of rookie mistakes, but that’s why you practice and get them corrected.

Smith guided the No. 1 offense only for the second straight scrimmage. In four series against the No. 1 defense, Smith was able to generate a field goal and that came in the red zone period.

True freshman Adam Pittser and junior-college transfer Colby Kirkegaard were much better today, especially Pittser. Kirkegaard was 16 of 21 for 124 yards; Pittser was 15 of 32 for 133. He struggled a bit late, but Pittser looked much more comfortable.

“I thought Adam and Colby improved drastically from the last scrimmage, which was great,” Christensen said. “I would have liked (all three quarterbacks) to be where they’re at now. If we were further behind we’d be in trouble. They’ve made great progress.”

Christensen didn’t name a starter after today, nor would you expect him to. I think Smith still has the advantage, but the gap may have been closed somewhat.

Some other notes and quotes:

–Christensen said junior running back Ghaali Muhammad could play in the next scrimmage, but may hold him out until the final scrimmage a week from Saturday. He said Muhammad has taken live reps in practice this week. He’s still nursing an injury suffered in the off-season.

–Senior defensive end Gabe Knapton is sporting quite the beard these days. He’s been growing it since Christmas and doesn’t plan to shave it any time soon. “I’m too lazy to shave it right now. I’ve been playing good with it and I think I’m going to keep it,” he said. Knapton said his girlfriend isn’t the biggest fan of the beard, but thinks his teammates like it. Said junior linebacker Korey Jones: “I like the beard. It’s a nice look and style for Gabe. Knapton said he doesn’t trim the beard, but puts some “product” in it once in a while. When asked if it stinks, Jones said: “I never got close enough to tell.”

–UW’s top three receivers in the scrimmage were freshmen. True freshman Dominic Rufran caught eight passes for 63 yards. Redshirt freshman Sam Stratton caught seven for 63 yards, and true freshman Trey Norman caught five passes for 50 yards. All three were impressive.

–Christensen didn’t seem concerned that true freshman kicker Daniel Sullivan struggled. Sullivan didn’t play because of an injury Tuesday. He was only 5 of 10 in field goals Friday with a long of 32. He often kicked the ball low. Christensen said both he and redshirt freshman walk-on Stuart Williams needs to heal up and get over some soreness.

–Was very impressed by junior linebacker/defensive end Korey Jones. Nine tackles in the scrimmage, including three for loss. He’s going to have a good season.

–Speaking of linebackers, true freshman Mark Nzeocha didn’t play in the scrimmage due to injury, but Christensen said he would be ready for the first game. Injuries to him and others like seniors Brian Hendricks and Oliver Schober, have forced UW to move some guys around position-wise, and also just on the field to try and confuse teams. Jones is a good example of that playing sometimes as a stand-up end or a traditional linebacker. “The more you can move the more of an effect you can have on our opponent. They can’t study on one thing. You can confuse the offene nand I like it,” said senior defensive end Gabe Knapton, who also has played at defensive tackle in some situations during camp.

–True freshman defensive end Eddie Yarborough had three sacks and eight total tackles. It all came mostly against the second and third-team offenses, but he has 15 tackles and four sacks in two scrimmages. “He’s had a great camp,” Christensen said. “He’s going to be a heck of a player for us. Eddie is fortunate in that he’s playing a position where we have a lot of experience right now. If we play him or redshirt him it’s not all that bad. I don’t see a negative in either one. He’s big enough and physical enough to play, and if we had him in his fifth year he could be an All-American by then.”

–Friday marked the eighth day of fall camp for UW, and it’s already had two scrimmages. I asked junior safety Kenny Browder, who has been around for all three fall camps under Christensen, if this was the most physical fall camp he’s been a part of with the Cowboys: “Definately. Coach C makes it a point to be physical every day. … “It’s toug and a grind, but that’s football.”

See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more on Friday’s scrimmage. Thanks to all those who joined me for the live chat today. I hope to do it again for Tuesday’s scrimmage.

11 thoughts on “News, notes and quotes from Scrimmage #2

  1. Is it fair to say that based on spring practice and two scrimmages, in which the other two QB didn’t play with the One’s, the starting role is Smith’s to lose and not the others to win? If true that is not necessarily all that bad. Most teams with a realistic eye on a successful season already know who the QB is.

  2. Apparently I may have touched a nerve about ACS with my comment the other day according to other UW blogs.
    Let me be clear, when ACS left UW last year, I was literally depressed! I felt that ACS was the face of UW Football and I absoultely loved his play making ability, it put a lot of excitement back into the program. He wrote himself into UW history and had us fans in the palm of his hands. Then he leaves, sudden like. I love UW FB as a way to carry on my grandfather’s memory and maybe to an extreme, but man there is nothing better than a Fall Saturday in Laramie when the Pokes are winning football games. A nice diversion especially in the times we live in now… Absoultely gut wrenching when ACS left.

    Without knowing anything really about his [ACS’s] situation I can only surmise based upon what I was like at that age and my choices good and bad. I had a once in a lifetime opportunity that maybe I threw away or maybe it was the best thing to happen to me? But I had to go home and face everyone, and did not make for a great period in my life. In the end things worked out really well for me, but it took YEARS to come back from it. Believe me there is nothing worse than tormenting yourself with the “What ifs”. So I see some similarity in ACS and all I can say is that I wish him the best and good luck and I hope he lands someplace where his talents can be used.

    Now looking at what is best for UW FB, as good as ACS was and what he accomplished at UW, maybe it really wasn’t the best situation with him, the coaches, team-mates, etc. (Why he left perhaps?). There was a lot of stuff in the press that pointed to this situation. As a fan, it excites me when I read about a kid who graduates HS early to attend UW and he is clearly doing everything in the world to get the starting QB spot, maybe HE is a better fit and the program is better off for it in the long run… All I can say at that is GO POKES!

  3. Brain, You are not alone in wondering how ACS is getting on with his life. We have a youth so we can learn. ACS promised Robert he would tell him where his was landing by Mid August. Hopefully RG will take the heat from fans who hope only the worst for this fallen hero and make that decision public. After all ACS is the only QB Christensen will let the media talk to.

  4. The D Line might be small again it looks like. What happened to Purcell? Did he quit or get injured. Its too bad the O line is taking away d tackles.

  5. With TAM leaving, here is an interesting article about the Big 12 targeting BYU and Air Force. Thoughts on Air Force leaving?

  6. Get real, Air Force will not be leaving the MWC. I really think the SWC (Big Whatever) is all about Texas and Oklahoma. The rest of the institutions are fodder for the horses to fatten up on. I’ve been critical of Thompson and his vision for the remnants of the MWC, and by appearances this Conference Team grabbing is not going away. While we love our rivalries, the bottom line is $$, and the Rock or whatever we’re now calling ourselves is getting hammered on. I hope Burman and Buchanan are well informed and at the front end of any league changes that may be eminent- because, quite honestly Thompson and Co. are virtually in a no-win game if it involves bucks.

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