UW scrimmage thoughts

To say the defense dominated in Wyoming’s first official spring scrimamge Wednesday would be an understatement.

The defense forced six turnovers, including four interceptions and defeated the offense in UW’s unique scoring system 72-41.

Was more impressed with the defensive dominance than concerned about the offensive woes. There’s some concern about the offense, but the defense was just down right good.

The line was active, whether it was in a 3-4 or 4-3. This is a true multiple defense folks. The guy that was a stud was senior defensive tackle Kurt Taufa’asau. He had nine tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. He was unblockable.

Other defensive guys that stood out to me were junior cornerback Marqueston Huff, senior defensive end Ben Durbin and sophomore safety Mark Nzeocha. Nzeocha closed in from his safety position to make a tackle for loss on an option play that reminded me of a safety from the SEC making. Nzeocha showed great breaking and closing speed. If he gets the hang of playing safety, he could be good.

OK, the defense was good but you can’t ignore the fact the offense wasn’t. Junior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard threw three interceptions, but bounced back near then end and threw three touchdown passes. He still doesn’t look real comfortable back there and he holds on to the ball too long. But it takes time to get used to the game at this level, a chance he really never got even though he was the back up to Brett Smith. By the way, Smith did some passing drills prior to the scrimmage and looked good.

If there’s a big concern right now it’s along the offensive line. Offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon and co-offensive line coach Pete Kaligis both told me they wanted to find seven or eight guys there than can play. Brandon said after the scrimmage they’ve found four. Right tackle remains open and it could belong to sophomore Daniel Fleischman if he plays well the rest of spring. Junior-college transfer Connor Rains, who was expected to compete for one of the starting tackle jobs, ran mostly with the twos. Not saying he won’t play, but not real encouraging he’s there right now.

Didn’t see much from the running backs, but th offense gained only 65 rushing yards. Expect junior Brandon Miller and sophomore Kody Sutton to get most of the carries next fall. Don’t be surprised if a true freshmen gets into that mix.

Junior Robert Herron led the receivers with seven catches for 97 yards. He needs to have a big year. There will be more on him in the coming days.

UW’s kickers and punters had good days as well. Punter Tim Gleeson averaged more than 51 yards per punt.

For more on the scrimmage, and my column on the interesting story on how junior linebacker J.J. Quinlan has persevered to this point, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

9 thoughts on “UW scrimmage thoughts

  1. RG,
    What about Ryan Y. did he get in on the #1 D… I would expect him to be in the mix this year a little..I think the D as a whole this year is going to be tops in the league.. new coaching is a key.

    • I think you mean Eddie Yarbrough. He ran with the twos yesterday but should be in the mix this season. Also playing a lot on special teams.

      RG

  2. Glad to read that the D is stepping up. Their tackling last year stunk. Pehaps they’ll be improved against the run next year. I’m not too worried about the offense with Smith sitting out.

  3. Robert,
    What is your thought on the demise of theMtn TV network?
    On one hand, for me I loved every minute of all the UW coverage and the extra shows they put on covering recruiting, the X-O show All 22, and nearly every Wyoming FB game on TV.
    The flip side of it is, in order to get it, I had to order a Comcast package that included it. I won’t mind seeing my monthly Comcast payment going down.

    That is of course if I’ll need to get some other Comcast package that includes whatever CBSSports channels will be broadcasting Wyoming games. When will we know the TV coverage for Wyoming FB next season? How about alternative ways to watch Wyoming FB games? (i.e. because I have Comcast I could watch the Pokes play Bowling Green on ESPN3 last season). I did catch a Wyoming BB game from WyomingAthletics.com, so will UW be broadcasting away FB games over the internet? Would gladly pay a subscription fee for that service… !!!

    Guess the TV coverage issue is one good reason why I am asking for a Family Package of Season Tickets for my B-day this year! Hey, when the parents asked what I’d like, I told ’em.

    • I think it’s unfortunate The Mtn. will be no longer, but it’s not a surprise. Word of this sufraced six months ago, and even over the last couple of years this seemed to be coming.

      The Mtn. gave great exposure to us in this neck of the woods for UW and MW sports. But the cost and lack of households it reached wasn’t enough. It didn’t help that it couldn’t be on Dish, either.

      What it means for UW in the short term is fewer games on TV. That’s good for UW in the fact that it wants people in the stands and arenas. But in this day and age TV exposure is vital. My fear is that the league will agree to a contract with someone like ESPN and play mid-week games. More exposure, but horrible times and days for fans.

      RG

  4. I hate the fact that the MTN had to close down its production, but on the other hand its good to see us get a better TV package (hopefully). I live in SC and it was nice to see UW sports on TV. I don’t get to see the Pokes play that often in person, I hope this means the stand will be full again.

    • That’s the big key or question, Steve, is if the MW gets a better TV deal. Or in this case, better coverage or air time. But in the short term I think it mean less UW and MW games on TV as a whole.

      RG

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