Michigan State gave UW the blueprint of being physical

A bye week doesn’t mean the Wyoming football team won’t be busy.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said the team will work on its Oct. 11 game at Hawaii, work on fundamentals, get players stronger and healthy and send coaches on the road recruiting later in the week.

Bohl said again this is a good time for a bye week. UW is 3-2 and both of its losses were by a combined 76 points to top 10 teams. Bohl said both Oregon and Michigan State may be top four teams.

The Cowboys lost 56-14 last Saturday at No. 9 Michigan State — now No. 10 in the polls — and Bohl said the Spartans played with a purpose and physicality that UW would one day like to be.

Bohl has talked about that a lot since he was hired as coach, but the players got to see first hand what that was all about.

Sam Hardy

Sam Hardy

“It was a whole different game there,” sophomore right guard Sam Hardy said. “They were physical, and you felt it on every play. That’s where we want to get to. It can happen, but it takes time. You can’t just wake up and be a physical team.”

Added senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha: “(Michigan State) was the most physical team we’ve faced. I wouldn’t say we weren’t prepared. We knew what was coming, but it was definitely something to get used to. It took us a while, and they took advantage of it.”

Bohl said it didn’t feel good for his team to witness first-hand how good and physical Michigan State was, but also said it was “critical” that it happened. “That should send a message to a lot of the younger players for them to say ‘that’s what coach is talking about.’ (Michigan State) was aggressive, coming off the ball and manhandling people. Sometimes you can talk until you are blue in the face, but until they see what it’s like is another things. They will learn from that.”

Here is video of Bohl’s Monday news conference:

Health-wise, Bohl said senior strong safety Jesse Sampson (knee) will be out “a couple of weeks.” He didn’t make the trip to Michigan State. Redshirt freshman Tim Kamana, who started at Michigan State, likely will start at Hawaii Oct. 11. Kamana is from Honolulu so you can bet he is looking forward to that game.

Bohl also hopes to get sophomore starting right tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) back for Hawaii. More on the offensive line later this week.

Hardy said he “tweaked” his injured ankle in the second half against Michigan State, and Bohl said he won’t practice this week. Bohl also hopes sophomore starting left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) will be cleared for the Hawaii game.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

Bohl said he feels pretty good about where his team is from a health standpoint after playing five straight games, which have seen the two blowout losses on the road and three close home wins.

The team will practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. Friday, Bohl said coaches will be out recruiting and watching games.

“It’s been my experience that a long gap (without practice) with a young team that it is like you are starting over when Monday comes back around. That’s why we will go on Saturday,” Bohl said.

For more UW coverage, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.