Normally after Wyoming football or basketball games I offer some postgame thoughts.
Can’t do that after UW’s first scrimamge of fall camp Saturday in Laramie since it was closed to the public and media.
The scrimmage was not scored, but the offense scored one touchdown and made two field goals. The offense gained 255 yards of total offense (3.8 yards per play) and turned the ball over once. But the day belonged to the defense as it had seven sacks, nine tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Here is what first-year UW coach Craig Bohl had to say after the scrimmage:
The defensive standout was senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha with a scrimmage-best nine tackles and five solo stops. Nzeocha also had a sack, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“I was encouraged with Mark, and he’s done as well as anybody picking up the defense,” defensive coordinator Steve Stannard said. “He’s a smart guy, not vocal, but very smart. He’s athletic and has a great burst. He’s (strongside) right now and (weakside) in or nickel package.”
A few other notes and quotes:
–Guys who didn’t play due to injury were senior safety Darrenn White, junior offensive guard Jake Jones, sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry, junior linebacker Malkaam Muhammad, junior tight end Jacob Hollister and senior receiver Keenan Montgomery. Sophomore quarterback Tom Thornton was in uniform, but didn’t play due to a sore wrist.
–Bohl said “from the naked eye” redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard performed the best among the quarterbacks. Kirkegaard was 8 of 15 for 53 yards and was sacked once. Kirkegaard said he “feels comfortable” with the offense right now. Senior Sam Stratton had the best numbers. He was 8 of 10 for 66 yards. Sophomore Aaron Young gave himself a ‘F’ grade for his performance. He was 5 of 9 for 25 yards. He was sacked four times and fumbled a snap. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said it is too early to tell if any of the quarterbacks have an edge on being the starter, but added: “We set a bench mark today.” Vigen said how the entire offense performs in next week’s scrimmage could go a long way to figuring out a depth chart.
–Speaking of a depth chart, Bohl said UW may release one as early as Monday, but added it “wont’t be etched in stone and fairly fluid.”
–Overall, Bohl was pleased with the defense in how it tackled and its angles of pursuit. He also liked the pressure the defensive line put on the quarterback. However, Bohl said the depth at defensive tackle behind senior Patrick Mertens and sophomore Uso Olive still is a work in progress. Sophomore Chase Appleby and redshirt junior Troy Boyland were the guys that played with the No. 2 defense.
–Bohl said he plans to continue to give players at all positions the same amount of reps going into next week and leading up to the second scrimmage. “We have to develop depth on this football team,” Bohl said. “For us to think we’re going to get by in the Mountain West with 11 starters on offense and defense is crazy. We have to continue to coach them all.”
–Bohl said the snaps during special teams work were good, and praised Stratton for handling a high snap on a field goal. Bohl said senior kicker Stuart Williams, who made both of his field-goal attempts from 23 and 29 yards, kicked the ball well. There were no punt returns in the scrimmage, and the team didn’t work on kickoffs.
–Sophomore Nathan Leddige started at left tackle for the No. 1 offense. Friday, Bohl announced senior Walker Madden, the starter for 10 games last season, left for personal reasons. The other starters for the No. 1 offense were sophomore Chase Roullier (left guard), junior Rafe Kiely (center), sophomore Sam Hardy (right guard) and senior Connor Rains (right tackle).
–Seniors Blair Burns and DeAndre Jones were the starting cornerbacks. Three safeties rotated in and out with the No. 1 defense: senior Jesse Sampson, sophomore Xavier Lewis and redshirt freshman Tim Kamana.
–Junior running back D.J. May action in a game-like situation for the first time in more than a year due to injury, and led the team with 56 rushing yards. He had a long run of 46 yards. Bohl said the running backs did a better job of hitting the hole and getting up field, but added that there is still too much side-to-side running.
–Among the other things Bohl wants to see cleaned up leading into the next scrimmage is the center-quarterback exchange and some missed alignments across the board.