One of the first things first-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said that stood out about Saturday’s first spring practice in full pads (third overall) was the play of two veteran defensive ends — senior Sonny Puletasi and junior Eddie Yarbrough.
“That was real encouraging,” said Bohl on both players so far this spring. “We have some seasoned and veteran guys there, and it is important for them to get acclimated to the 4-3. Their leadership on the field has been good. We are young inside, but I’ve seen our ends pop up.”
Yarbrough led all of UW’s defensvie linemen last season with 89 tackles. He also had team-highs with 12 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as he earned First Team All-Mountain West honors.
Puletasi, who switched his jersey number from 12 to 50 this season, had 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season. Puletasi has started in 21 games.
Here are some highlights from the defense from Saturday’s practice:
Bohl said no one has stood out among the five quarterbacks this spring. “We have a lot of work to do there,” Bohl added. We’re putting in a lot of offense. I think the guys are paying attention to detail, but it’s not easy.”
The overall health of the team is decent. Bohl said there were about four guys with pulled hamstrings on Friday. He said all of them will be back before spring ends, but there is a concern there.
Here are some of Bohl’s comments after Saturday’s practice:
One of those guys was sophomore running back Omar Stover, who was an observer at Saturday’s practice. Redshirt freshman Joshua Tapscott (undisclosed injury) practiced for the first time this spring Saturday, but was limited.
Others who watched due to injuries (not necessarily hamstrings) were senior linebacker Alex Borgs, junior linebacker Malkaam Muhammad and senior receiver Josh Smith.
UW did a lot of work on its punt game early in practice in War Memorial Stadium. Sophomore Ethan Wood handled most of the punting, although he had a case of the shanks at times. Wood was the starter last season. Senior receiver Jalen Claiborne returned punts, but nothing was live. Sophomore receiver Nico Brown blocked a punt.
A couple of former Cowboys were at practice. Linebacker/defensive end Gabe Knapton was there watching. Defensive lineman Justin Bernthaler, who played the last two years, was running steps at the stadium while the team practiced.
See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for a story on redshirt junior cornerback Tyran Finley, and how excited he is to play this season after missing all but one game last season with an injury. Also see wyosports.net for the story, along with a video interview with Finley.