Lewis says he’s ready for larger role if needed for Cowboys

If the news is what the Wyoming football team expects, sophomore Xavier Lewis said he’s ready to stepĀ up his game.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said Monday it is doubtful senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White will return this season after a knee injury late in the first half in the Cowboys’ 38-28 loss at Hawaii last Saturday night.

Xavier Lewis

Xavier Lewis

UW is still waiting for results on a MRI on White, but it is not optimistic about White’s return. If that’s the case, it is Lewis’ chance to be the guy to play the position that is often like the quarterback on offense in terms of getting the defensive calls and making sure other guys in the secondary are lined up correctly.

“I feel very comfortable with the defense,” Lewis said Monday. “We’ve been repping it heavy since spring ball. We go over our fits over and over. There may be a few slip ups here and there, but as a defense I know it pretty well. I’m excited to help conduct it now.

For more on Lewis, other options UW may look at at free safety and the possible return of a veteran player at strong safety, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Bohl held his weekly news conference with the media Monday. Here is most of that via video:

Bohl credited Hawaii a few times for how it played in the second half where it outscored UW 28-7. But he also felt his team lost this game and let it slip away after having 11-point leads at halftime and in the third quarter.

Bohl said UW must clean some things up on defense, such as tackling and busted coverages in the secondary.

Tackling technique, doing a better job of shedding blockers and taking better tackling angles will be an emphasis this week in practice. But Bohl and defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said there won’t be much — if any — live tackling drills done this week.

Speaking of tackling, UW true freshman cornerback Robert Priester missed a few tackles at Hawaii, but also had one of the biggest hits of the game in the second half when he went head on with Hawaii sophomore running back Steven Lakalaka. Both left the game after the hit, but Priester later returned. Lakalaka didn’t because of a concussion.

Here is a video interview with Preister from Monday:

“Our attitude is going to be important this week,” he said. “There’s a lot of good things we’ve done this year, so I think we need to be mindful of that, recognize that and stay positive. But we also can’t have rose-colored glasses. We need to correct the errors we’ve made on offense, defense and in the kicking game.”

Ryan Cummings

Ryan Cummings

Bohl said true freshman left tackle Ryan Cummings will make his second straight start this week against San Jose State.

“I thought he did better than your average true freshman would,” offensive line coach Scott Fuchs said. “He played better than some of the guys that have been playing. Now I’m excited because he’s a kid that’s going to want to improve and get better for us.”

There will be more on Cummings and UW’s ever-revolving offensive line later this week.

Bohl is hopeful senior right tackle Connor Rains (appendectomy) will return this week. Fuchs said he didn’t play sophomore right guard Sam Hardy at Hawaii because of his lingering ankle injury, but is hopeful he will be healthier this week and play against San Jose State.

One guy UW will have to game plan for this week is San Jose State junior receiver Tyler Ervin, who also has played some at running back and is a return specialist.

“We need to identify where he is because they use him in certain situations at certain places,” UW defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said. “He flat out outran Auburn at times. They have good skill, and he’s not the only one. They have more speed at wide receiver than Hawaii.”