For the second consecutive day, the Cowboys practiced in shoulder pads and shorts Thursday morning. They have their first full-padded practice Friday.
Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said “there was a lot of energy out on the field” Thursday.
UW did a pass-under-pressure drill early in practice, and Bohl felt the defense got the best of the offense. Bohl also said he likes where the Cowboys’ defensive line is right now.
“Without question, we’re further along on the defensive front with more athleticism and explosiveness,” he said.
Here is Bohl after Thursday’s practice:
One person missing from the defensive line is junior nose tackle Sidney Malauulu, who has a minor back issue. UW is being cautious with him early in camp. Depth is a concern along UW’s interior defensive line, and Bohl said true freshman Ravonte Holt (6-4, 260) is getting a hard look to provide some depth right now.
“He brings something special. He’s still undersized, but with the size he has he has excellent strength, along with suddenness and quickness,” Bohl said of Holt.
Holt is one of three interior defensive linemen UW signed in its 2017 recruiting class, and Bohl said Holt has the edge — at least right now — to see playing time sooner than later this season.
Bohl continues to be pleased with the progress of true freshman punter Tim Zaleski, and senior graduate transfer long snapper Kolton Donovan.
Bohl said senior fullback Drew Van Maanen’s hamstring injury was more of a pull than a strain, but Van Maanen isn’t expected to be out that long. Another UW fullback, junior walk-on Matt List, suffered a shoulder injury in the spring and wasn’t cleared physically for fall camp. Bohl said List will rejoin the team when the season starts. The two fullbacks getting most of the reps right now in camp are sophomore Jaylon Watson (a converted linebacker) and redshirt freshman walk-on Jeff Burroughs from Yoder.
Bohl said redshirt freshman walk-on linebacker Skyler Miller of Torrington and junior outside linebacker/nickel Chavez Pownell Jr., both tweaked their hamstrings Thursday, but those injuries aren’t expected to keep them from practicing.
As for Friday’s first practice in full pads, Bohl said the team will work on shedding cut blocks, which he said his team will see when it opens the season at Iowa Sept. 2. Bohl also said there will be more aggressive drills planned since the guys will be in full pads, but he cautioned that he and his staff must have a balance of how much contact they put the players through from now until the start of the season.
“It won’t be a hit-fest every day,” Bohl added.
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