UW Media Monday

Wyoming faces the nation’s leading rusher Saturday in San Diego State sophomore Ronnie Hillman, who averages 138.8 yards per game and has 10 rushing touchdowns.

Do you think he’s the best back UW has faced?

“I can’t quite say he’s the best, but bar-none he’s up there with those guys,” said UW senior safety Tashaun Gipson about Hillman, compared to guys like Nebraska junior Rex Burkhead (170 yards, two touchdowns against the Cowboys) and Utah State junior Robert Turbin (111 yards, one touchdowns)

” His numbers says he’s better. He’s a great athlete who is explosive and can make you miss.”

Coach Dave Christensen thinks Burkhead is the best back UW has faced, but thinks Hillman is good, as well as the guys blocking for him.

“He is really good, but their offensive line is playing well and have a lot of experience coming back there,” he said. “They open holes for him. You can tell in the second half they continue to wear people down, and that’s where the majority of his numbers come. We’ve got to do a good job of playing four quarters of football and be assignment-sound. He’s tough to tackle, but we have to put ourselves in great position, wrap up and secure him until he is down.”

Some other news and notes from Monday’s interview session with players and coaches:

–Junior defensive tackle Mike Purcell is the only player Christensen listed on the injury report, and he is questionable. Purcell didn’t play in UW last game on Oct. 15 against UNLV. I talked to Purcell Monday and was in good spirits, but wouldn’t say if he thought he would play Saturday.

–Some good advice from senior safety Tashaun Gipson for cornerbacks Marqueston Huff and Blair Burns — a sophomore and true freshman, respectively — on going against the big-play threat of San Diego State’s passing game: “I told them if they catch a ball, don’t get down. Just come back and make a better play next time.”  Gipson got burned on some big plays in last year’s game with San Diego State. See my story in Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for more on that.

–Senior offensive guard Brandon Self, one of three guards who have started and played for the Cowboys this season, said preparing for SDSU’s 3-3-5 defense is one of the most diffucult becasue of all the different stunts and angles players come from. Christensen said there will be a lot of one-on-one match ups along the offensive line this week.

–Senior defensive end Gabe Knapton and junior offensive tackle Josh Leonard are this week’s captains.

–Look for sophomore running back Brandon Miller to get more time this week as a slot receiver.