Wrapping up at MW Media Day

I think I’ve done just about all the interviews I can on this final day of Mountain West Football Media Day here in Las Vegas.

Wyoming senior linebacker Brian Hendricks said he was impressed with the Cowboys’ two true freshmen quarterbacks this summer — Brett Smith and Adam Pittser. Hendricks was impressed with Smith’s overall strength, and said he did some good things in the weight room. Smith enrolled at UW in January and went through spring drills. Hendricks also said Pittser is an impressive athlete with a good arm, who is trying to learn the offense as fast as he can.

Just got done talking to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. He’s a really nice and humble guy who just got married last weekend. But at first glance, he doesn’t look like one of the best college quarterbacks in the nation. One person told me last night he looks more like a mathlete than an athlete.

Maybe, but the guy can play quarterback.

San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley looks the part. He’s a big, physical specimen that could probably play linebacker on defense. Lindley doesn’t have his two best receivers from last season in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, and two returning receivers suffered season-ending injuries this summer.

“It doesn’t matter if I have Randy Moss or any of the best receivers around me, if the guys up front don’t block we don’t do anything,” Lindley said. “We will be fine, and we have good backs and receivers to turn to if we have to.”

Rumors surfaced late Tuesday night that Utah State would soon join the MW. But MW commissioner Craig Thompson said both the school presidents and athletics directors didn’t discuss expansion in their last meetings in May and June. One MW official said the league has no interest in Utah State.

Thompson gave his annual state of the conference address, and for more on that see my story in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

It’s back to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for me Thursday through Sunday. But before that I’ve got to get some other work done and catch a flight home. Thanks to all of those who followed me on Twitter the last couple of days, and commented on the blog. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming weeks.

Notes and quotes from MW Media Day

Been a crazy day talking to players and coaches here at MW Media Day in Las Vegas, but nice to talk some football.

Here are some notable notes and quotes I wanted to throw out there from today’s interviews:

— “This defense has the potential to be one of the best defenses I’ve been a part of here.” — Wyoming senior defensive end Josh Biezuns, the only UW player named to the preseason all-conference team by the media.

–San Diego State coach Rocky Long described his senior quarterback, Ryan Lindley, as a “NFL guy.”

–UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said there’s a chance four of his five starters along the offensive line will be freshmen. YIKES!

— A story posted by the Idaho Statesman late Tuesday afternoon stated it can’t wear all blue uniforms in any of its MW home games. Boise plays on blue field turf. … interesting. Here’s the link: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2011/07/26/ccripe/heres_boise_states_updated_preseason_depth_chart

–New Mexico coach Mike Locksley said the goal for him heading into his third year is to win six games and become bowl eligible. New Mexico is 2-22 the the past two seasons.

–TCU coach Gary Patterson said his second-team linebackers could “play for a lot of people.” He’s right.

–TCU’s seniors have won 36 games going into this season. The previous senior class set a school record with 44 wins.

–Most of the media here think the Nov. 12 TCU at Boise State game will determine the MW championship, and perhaps a BCS bowl berth. However, Boise State opens against Georgia in Atlanta, and TCU plays at Air Force Sept. 10 — two early and possible losses.

–Back to San Diego State’s Long, he said there will be some differences between him and former coach Brady Hoke. One of the biggest? “Brady was a hugger, I’m not.”

–But the quote of the day came from Patterson when he was talking about TCU jumping its fifth conference going back to the old Southwest Conference around 20 years ago: “It’s kind of like getting remarried, you have to find a new set of friends.”

See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more coverage from MW Media Day, including stories on UW’s defense hoping to force more turnovers this season and why the Cowboys will scrimmage a lot early in fall camp. And, follow me Wednesday morning on Twitter from MW Commissioner Craig Thompson’s state of the MW address. My Twitter feed is @rpgagliardi.

Football news and notes

Wyoming is two weeks away from its first practice of fall camp. Wow, did summer go by fast!

As of now only one of the incoming freshman in UW’s 2011 recruiting class won’t make it for fall camp — 5-11, 185-pound receiver London Muse of Sugar Land, Texas. He didn’t qualify academically. There also is a walk-on junior-college quarterback that will join the team for fall camp, but from what I gather the starting job will be battled by true freshmen Brett Smith and Adam Pittser.

Coach Dave Christensen told me he expects junior running back Ghaali Muhammad to be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 3 against Weber State. Muhammad, who was moved from linebacker to running back after last season, missed spring ball with an injury.

Christensen does not talk about specific injuries involving players.

Christensen also said sophomore right defensive tackle Patrick Mertens may be lost for the season due to an injury. Mertens played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman and recorded 39 tackles and two sacks. Juniors Ben Durbin and Kurt Taufa’asau are the top candidates to replace Mertens in the starting lineup.

Mountain West Football Media Day is Tuesday and Wednesday in Las Vegas. Senior linebacker Brian Hendricks and senior defensive end Josh Biezuns will be there for UW, along with Christensen.

The mtn. will televise a two-hour football show from the event at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and will interview players and coaches from all eight MW teams. Here is the order of the interviews

5 p.m.    TCU: Gary Patterson (HC), Josh Boyce (WR), Tank Carder (LB)

5:15 p.m. Colorado St.: Steve Fairchild (HC), Paul Madsen (OL),  Mychal Sisson (LB)

5:30 p.m. Wyoming: Dave Christensen (HC), Brian Hendricks (LB), Josh Biezuns (DB)

5:45 p.m. Air Force: Troy Calhoun (HC), Jon Warzeka (WR/KR), Zach Payne (DL)

6 p.m. UNLV: Bobby Hauck (HC), Anthony Vidal (TE), Quinton Pointer (DB)

6:15 p.m. San Diego St.: Rocky Long (HC), Ryan Lindley (QB), Jerome Long (DL)

6:30 p.m. New Mexico: Mike Locksley (HC), Lucas Reed (TE), Carmen Messina (LB)

6:45 p.m. Boise St.: Chris Petersen (HC), Kellen Moore (QB), George Iloka (DB)

I will be in Vegas so expect numerous blog posts and Twitter updates througout, and feel free to ask questions and comment on the happenings.