Wyoming has an interesting situation forming at linebacker, and not just for this season.
All three of its projected starters — Mark Nzeocha and Devyn Harris on the outside, and Jordan Stanton inside — are seniors. Stanton’s backup, Alex Borgs, third-string outside linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo also are seniors.
There are only four linebackers on the depth chart on scholarship that are not seniors: sophomore Lucas Wacha, juniors Jeff Lark and Malkaam Muhammad and true freshman Alex Bush.
Wacha is the only one of that group that has seen significant and meaningful playing time, and that was last season as redshirt freshman. Right now, Wacha is out with a concussion.
It is safe to assume linebacker will be an emphasis for the 2015 recruiting class. But aside from getting the starters solidified and ready for the season, what about getting those non-senior backups ready not only for this season, but for the future?
“I’m focused right now who our best three guys in our base situation, and then who our best two nickel linebackers,” UW defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Steve Stanard said. “As far as only having five guys coming back next year, (head coach) Craig Bohl focuses more on that stuff. He’s our director of player personnel.”
Stanard said Lark, Nzeocha’s backup, had a good summer and has had a good fall camp so far. Same with Harris. Stanard said the staff is trying to see if Bush can help the team on special teams.
Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday morning’s practice.
Some notes and observations from Wednesday’s 10th day and 12th practice of fall camp:
–UW began the practice with some 11-on-11 work again. The offense had the ball at its own 20 and was in a third down situation. The defense dominated, and there were sacks by junior defensive ends Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api and Stanton. Sophomore nose tackle Uso Olive also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkgegaard took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense. Sophomore Tom Thornton took a few with the No. 2 offense. Redshirt junior cornerback Tyran Finley limped off the field early in the period. However, Bohl said there were no serious injuries after practice.
–Sophomore starting left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) remained a spectator at practice. Junior Austin Traphagan still is getting most of the reps at left tackle with Leddige out.
–Bohl said true freshman defensive tackle Sidney Malauulu (right knee sprain) will be back soon, but also said he likely will redshirt this season.
–UW practiced in shoulder pads and helmets this morning. It will have its third two-a-day session at 4 p.m. Said Bohl on the morning practice: “To say I was pleased with practice wouldn’t be accurate. We have to bounce back and have a better one this afternoon.”
–Stanard on the defense as it gets ready for the season-opener Aug. 30 against Montana: “I’d rather us play fast with a little defense than play slow with a whole lot of defense.”
Here is a quick video clip from the receivers this morning:
— Robert Gagliardi (@rpgagliardi) August 13, 2014
See Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net for an update on the Cowboys’ three true freshmen tight ends and how they are coming along, along with some video interviews with them and Bohl.