UW fall camp – Day 8

Monday marked the eighth day of fall camp for Wyoming, and it will practice twice today.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

But there was some sad news as sophomore punter Ethan Wood will be away from the team for a while because his parents, John and Resia, died in a plane crash over the weekend in Iowa. According to UW’s Facebook page, the Woods’ were coming back from Michigan where they were visiting one of their other sons, Josh, who is an assistant football coach at Michigan Tech.

Woods is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in his first season as UW’s punter last season — and his first punting the ball, period, he averaged 42 yards per punt.

That prompted the return of senior kicker Stuart Williams to camp. Williams was not part of the first week of camp and the 105-man roster so first-year coach Craig Bohl and his staff could look at other guys. Bohl said it was good to have Williams back in camp, and added he made a 55-yard field goal at the end of practice.

Here is more from Bohl after Monday morning’s practice:

Williams is the only punter and kicker available in camp right now. Junior Justin Martin, Williams’ backup at kicker, is out with a sprained ankle.

UW began practice with some 11-on-11 work. Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard — still the probable starter — threw completed a deep ball of 40 or 50 yards to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry. Gentry later made a nice catch along the sideline.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Kirkegaard and sophomore backup Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks that took snaps during that period. Kirkegaard also was wearing a camera attached to his helmet. It was done by UW athletics and footage will likely be posted on its website later today. It has been dubbed “Colby Cam.”

Sophomore cornerback Tim Hayes got drilled on a blitz after a nice block by redshirt sophomore running back D.J. May. Bohl said some new blitzes were introduced Monday, and he liked what he saw. He said it caused the offense some problems.

Senior right tackle Connor Rains was with the No. 1 offense after missing some time with an injury last week. Sophomore left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) is still out, but was at practice watching. Junior Austin Traphagan ran with the No. 1 offense at left tackle.

Noticed a few true freshmen getting work with the No. 2 defense — cornerbacks Ryon’e Winters and Robert Priester and safety Chavez Pownell Jr.

Sophomore outside linebacker Lucas Wacha didn’t practice. Bohl said they are monitoring him for a possible concussion. True freshman defensive tackle Sidney Malauulu was in sweats and limping on his right leg. However, Bohl said none of the players dealing with inujuries right now are believed to be long-term.

Dominic Rufran

Dominic Rufran

Senior receiver Dominic Rufran turned 21 today. “This is my eighth year in a row my birthday has come while I am in fall camp,” Rufran said, going back to when he was in high school. “Over these last four years in college, I honestly forget it’s my birthday. You go to practice and all these meetings, and then somebody randomly tells you ‘happy birthday,” and then I remember — and appreciate it. Ironically, I’ve had two-a-days on my birthday since I’ve been here the last four years.”

Rufran said he has no big plans for his birthday. He said he won’t get home until around 9:30 p.m. and has to be back at UW to get ready for practice by about 6 a.m. “I might stay up until 11 p.m. That will be a big deal,” Rufran said with a laugh.

Rufran also is dealing with some shin splints, but said it is nothing serious.

Bohl said he and his staff continue to work on finding who will return punts this season. He said there are a lot of good candidates, but nothing has been settled. Rufran, May, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne, redshirt junior cornerback Tyran Finley, freshman receiver Hunter Atiya and even senior quarterback Sam Stratton have fielded punts so far in camp.

Here is some short video clips from Monday morning’s practice. The Cowboys will practice again in the afternoon — its second of five two-a-day sessions of camp.

See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net for more on UW football.