Wyoming wrapped up spring drills Saturday with its spring game, and the Gold beat the White 20-7. This was more like a real game in terms of rules and scoring. There were four 12-minute quarters with a running clock in each quarter excpet for the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
I thought the defense came out as the winner, although both teams consisted of a mix of starters and back-ups. The defenses on both teams forced three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble) and allowed only 67 rushing yards (38 yards were lost on sacks of junior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard).
Kirkegaard quarterbacked both teams and took every snap. He was 28 of 47 for 324 yards including a 37-yard touchdown to sophomore receiver Dominic Rufran and a 33-yarder to sophomore Trey Norman. Kirkegaard missed on several long throws where receivers were open. One attempt was badly underthrown and intercepted by sophomore cornerback Darrenn White. Senior safety Kenny Browder returned a pick 34 yards and a touchdown on a play he read well, but that Kirkegaard shouldn’t have thrown.
Still, I think Kirkegaard improved enough in the spring to be a viable backup. But make no mistake about it, this team needs to have sophomore starter Brett Smith back to his old form — and even better — in the fall.
There were nine punts in the game and there was no rush. Freshman Tim Gleeson averaged only 37.8 yards per punt. Some were against a stiff wind, but that was a little discouraging to see. As was two missed field goals by sophomore kicker Daniel Sullivan from 41 and 45 yards. His lone make was from 21 yards. Coach Dave Christensen didn’t seem concerned about Sullivan because he kicked well througout spring.
Only three penalties in the game — all on the White team for 28 yards. It was a clean game.
Was pleased to hear Christensen say sophomore quarterback/receiver Josh Smith and junior linebacker J.J. Quinlan will receive scholarships this fall after being walk-ons to start their careers. Their stories to get here were amazing and I was happy that after writing columns on these two earlier this spring that the Gagliardi jinx didn’t bite them.
Was disappointed to hear Christensen say sophomore receiver Sam Stratton (knee) likely won’t be able to play this season.
Some young guys that impressed me this spring that could help the team this fall: White and fellow sophomore cornerback DeAndre Jones, sophomore safety Chad Reese, redshirt freshman linebacker Zack Berg and sophomore receiver Trey Norman.
For more coverage on the spring game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, including my column on the five things I learned and observed from spring drills.