Some observations and quotes from Wyoming’s spring football game Saturday in Laramie.
–The hit of the game came in the first half when redshirt freshman free safety Chavez Pownell Jr. drilled junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry over the middle. Pownell was penalized for targeting, which could lead to an ejection in a real game. As a learning lesson, UW coach Craig Bohl had Pownell sit the rest of the game.
“I looked up for the ball and he made a really good hit,” Gentry said. “He put his helmet right in my chest. It didn’t feel too good, but he made a good play on the ball and it was a good hit. There was nothing dirty about it.”
Gentry was shaken up on the play, but he came back and played the second half. He led the Gold team with five catches for 62 yards.
Added Pownell: “The quarterback was looking down Tanner, I knew the post was coming so I ended up breaking on the play and it was just football after that. We did all this hard work during the spring and winter conditioning so I just wanted to play.”
–Gentry was one of only three wide receivers who caught passes in the spring game for either team. Junior Jake Maulhardt sat out with a sprained shoulder. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do, for sure,” Gentry said. “We definitely have to get better. I feel like we progressed pretty well this spring. We have to have a great summer.”
UW has four true freshmen receivers that join the team this summer.
Here is Bohl talking with the media after the spring game.
–UW looks to be improved at tight end. There are only three of them in junior Jacob Hollister and redshirt freshmen Tyree Mayfield and Grant Lewis. Those three combined for 11 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game.
“That’s a part of our offense that’s used extensively, and last year it was a transition in the program and we just didn’t have a lot of tight ends in the program,” Bohl said. “We got three guys there now, and I think Hollister has shown excellent improvement and Tyree Mayfield today, I thought, did some great things as well.”
–The battle on who will be UW’s third running back behind senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill has been a good one all spring. Sophomore Josh Tapscott had a big spring game with 20 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown for the Brown squad. He also caught two passes for 50 yards. However, Tapscott also lost two fumbles on consecutive possessions in the second half.
“The fumbles are just unacceptable,” he said. “They were my first two fumbles of spring ball and they just kind of put us out of whack for a second. But the guys just told me they trusted me and I went out there and got the job done. This was the last chance for me to really show myself and what I can do. I hope I made a good impression. I think I improved on the type of running back I was last year.”
Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans both had good springs. Evans had 11 carries for 45 yards for the Gold squad, and caught a pass for five yards in the spring game.
–Senior starting quarterback Cameron Coffman was 14 of 20 for 172 yards with a touchdown and interceptions for the Gold team. His second pass of the game was
intercepted by Pownell, and his last pass went incomplete on a fourth-and-1 play from the Brown 3-yard line in the final seconds of the game. Coffman thought it was third down and threw the ball away.
Sophomore backup Josh Allen was 10 of 13 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 33 yards. Allen showed some good things in the game, and some fans have started to question if he should be the starter — or at least be more in the conversation for that role.
Remember a couple of things: Allen went against UW’s No. 2 defense the entire game, and many of those guys will not be backups when the season starts in September. Coffman went against UW’s No. 1 defense in the spring game. And, one game does not determine who a starter will be. The decision to name Coffman the starter came early in the spring, but it also entailed a larger body of work than the spring game. No doubt, Allen has some ability and could be a very good quarterback for UW. But Coffman is the starter, no ifs, ands or buts about it.
–Perhaps one of the best quotes from after the spring game: “I feel faster and stronger. To tell you the truth, I feel unblockable. Somebody has to do the dirty jobs and take the double teams up front. I’ll be proud to do that so all the other guys do their job. I love my job.” — junior defensive tackle Uso Olive.
For more UW spring football coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.