UW releases depth chart for opener vs. Montana

The depth chart has been released for the Wyoming Cowboys’ opener Saturday against Montana. Only two guys at each position were listed (one for long snapper and holder).

Below is the depth chart, and in bold is what I predicted. Let me know what you think, and Monday we will go back and take a look on how right or wrong I was.

DEFENSE

Field Cornerbacks

20 Blair Burns (5-10, 186, Sr., Plano, Texas)

29 Tim Hayes (5-9, 188, So., Los Angeles, Calif.); I predicted it would be Tyran Finley (5-9, 177, RJr., Birmingham, Ala.)

Free Safeties

13 Darrenn White (6-0, 192, Sr., Kansas City, Mo.)

18 Xavier Lewis (6-0, 195, So., Aurora, Colo.)
Strong Safeties
5 Jesse Sampson (6-0, 200, Sr., Canoga Park, Calif.)
23 Tim Kamana (5-11, 196, RFr., Honolulu, Hawai’i)  I thought true freshman Chavez Pownell Jr. would be listed, but there were only two players listed.

Boundary Cornerbacks
4 DeAndre Jones (6-0, 186, Sr., Killeen, Texas)

14 Tyran Finley (5-9, 177, RJr., Birmingham, Ala.) — I had Finley behind Burns and true freshman Robert Priester in this spot.

Strong-Side (SAM) Linebackers
21 Mark Nzeocha (6-3, 239, Sr., Neusitz, Germany)
3 Jeff Lark (6-2, 213, Jr., Cedar Hill, Texas)

Middle (MIKE) Linebackers
1 Jordan Stanton (6-0, 246, Sr., Palmdale, Calif.)
53 Alex Borgs (6-2, 229, Sr., Raesfeld, Germany)

Weak-Side (WILL) Linebackers
43 Devyn Harris (6-3, 234, Sr., Fountain, Colo.) — Wacha missed about a week with a concussion in camp, and Harris had a good camp. Wacha will play, but Harris is the starter.
45 Lucas Wacha (6-1, 214, So., Texarkana, Texas)

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UW fall camp – Day 17

Special teams took center stage during Wyoming’s 21st practice and 17th day of fall camp Wednesday morning in cool and breezy conditions at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

UW worked on things such as field-goal return, punting out of the end zone and kickoffs during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. First-year coach Craig Bohl also said the team worked on other special situations like when to take a safety and onside kicks.

One might ask about field-goal return? Remember the Alabama-Auburn game last year where Auburn returned a missed field goal for a touchdown to win the game?

Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice:


Bohl during one of North Dakota State’s three consecutive FCS national title games, Sam Houston State had a returner back in case of a missed field goal.

Blair Burns

Blair Burns

Senior cornerback Blair Burns was the return man for UW during that period. During the punt drill, where the Cowboys punted out of their own end zone, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne was the return man.

Speaking of punting, Bohl said sophomore punter Ethan Wood will return to Laramie Wednesday night. Wood’s parents were killed in a plane crash on Aug. 9, and the funeral was last Friday.

At the end of practice, Bohl said the team had some fun and had a few of the offensive and defensive linemen try to field onside kicks. Sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby, the media was told, showed some good hands.

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UW fall camp – Day 15

Monday marked the last of five two-a-day practices, and the players were in shoulder pads and shorts Monday morning.

It also was the first practice since last Saturday’s scrimmage, and a day off for the players. But first-year coach Craig Bohl said some players were late to breakfast and he had to get on them prior to practice.

Here is what Bohl had to say after Monday morning’s practice:


UW’s new walk-on kicker — true freshman Pierce Royster — was at practice. He was not in pads as he has to go through an acclimation period. But he did some kicking with senior Stuart Williams prior to practice as Bohl watched. Both guys kicked field goals off a tee from numerous distances and locations on the field. Williams looked to be the most consistent of the two, and made one from 52 yards.

Here is a quick video of that:

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UW quarterbacks going through Clock Management 101

Wyoming’s quarterbacks have learned a lot, and still have a lot to learn as first-year coach Craig Bohl and his offensive staff continue to install and implement the concepts of the West Coast/pro-style offense.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

One of the keys in that offense is clock management, which is something foreign to the quarterbacks that have been in the program the last couple of years.

“We’re trying to make sure our quarterbacks manage the clock and make sure we are disciplined,” Bohl said after a recent practice. “We have been putting our guys in situations when they are tired and have to think. We are not where we need to be.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard remains the heavy favorite to be the starter, and sophomore Tom Thornton is still No. 2. Kirkegaard is in this fourth year in the program, and Thornton his second.

Other than a two-minute drill, former coach Dave Christensen wanted to run as many plays as fast as possible — especially last season.

“Coach Bohl is really stressing the quarterbacks to take a look at the play clock, which adds another element to think about; and we have a lot of things to thing about in the whole process,” Kirkegaard said.

“At times it has gone well and at times it hasn’t.”

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UW fall camp – Day 10

Wyoming has an interesting situation forming at linebacker, and not just for this season.

All three of its projected starters — Mark Nzeocha and Devyn Harris on the outside, and Jordan Stanton inside — are seniors. Stanton’s backup, Alex Borgs, third-string outside linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo also are seniors.

There are only four linebackers on the depth chart on scholarship that are not seniors: sophomore Lucas Wacha, juniors Jeff Lark and Malkaam Muhammad and true freshman Alex Bush.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Wacha is the only one of that group that has seen significant and meaningful playing time, and that was last season as redshirt freshman. Right now, Wacha is out with a concussion.

It is safe to assume linebacker will be an emphasis for the 2015 recruiting class. But aside from getting the starters solidified and ready for the season, what about getting those non-senior backups ready not only for this season, but for the future?

“I’m focused right now who our best three guys in our base situation, and then who our best two nickel linebackers,” UW defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Steve Stanard said. “As far as only having five guys coming back next year, (head coach) Craig Bohl focuses more on that stuff. He’s our director of player personnel.”

Steve Stanard

Steve Stanard

Stanard said Lark, Nzeocha’s backup, had a good summer and has had a good fall camp so far. Same with Harris. Stanard said the staff is trying to see if Bush can help the team on special teams.

Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday morning’s practice.


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UW fall camp – Day 9

Once again, Wyoming started its ninth day and 11th practice of fall camp Tuesday with some 11-on-11 work as the team practiced in full pads. It was all passes by the offense, and it looked like the defense took a look at some different blitz packages.

DeAndre Jones

DeAndre Jones

Senior cornerback DeAndre Jones had a good session. He broke up a deep pass from redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry deep down the field. Later, Jones jarred the ball loose from sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt on a short pass over the middle.

The defense had the advantage over the offense for the most part, and it looked like at times the quarterbacks had issues with getting the play off before the play clock expired. Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough had two sacks — although quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Troy Boyland had a sack, and senior defensive end Sonny Puletasi had an athletic pass break-up in pass coverage.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

Per usual, Kirkegaard and sophomore Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks to take snaps during this period. All indications are that Kirkegaard still has a firm grasp of the starting job, and Thornton is the backup.

UW mixed and matched a few offensive linemen in with the No. 1 offense at times. Sophomore Sam Hardy played some at guard and redshirt freshman Kurtis Stirneman played a few snaps at left tackle. Sophomore starter Nathan Leddige remains out with a concussion. Most of the snaps there went to junior Austin Traphagan.

True freshman cornerback Robert Priester and true freshman safety Chavez Pownell Jr. got some reps with the No. 2 defense.

Here is what first-year coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s practice:


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UW fall camp – Day 8

Monday marked the eighth day of fall camp for Wyoming, and it will practice twice today.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

But there was some sad news as sophomore punter Ethan Wood will be away from the team for a while because his parents, John and Resia, died in a plane crash over the weekend in Iowa. According to UW’s Facebook page, the Woods’ were coming back from Michigan where they were visiting one of their other sons, Josh, who is an assistant football coach at Michigan Tech.

Woods is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in his first season as UW’s punter last season — and his first punting the ball, period, he averaged 42 yards per punt.

That prompted the return of senior kicker Stuart Williams to camp. Williams was not part of the first week of camp and the 105-man roster so first-year coach Craig Bohl and his staff could look at other guys. Bohl said it was good to have Williams back in camp, and added he made a 55-yard field goal at the end of practice.

Here is more from Bohl after Monday morning’s practice:


Williams is the only punter and kicker available in camp right now. Junior Justin Martin, Williams’ backup at kicker, is out with a sprained ankle.

UW began practice with some 11-on-11 work. Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard — still the probable starter — threw completed a deep ball of 40 or 50 yards to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry. Gentry later made a nice catch along the sideline.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Kirkegaard and sophomore backup Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks that took snaps during that period. Kirkegaard also was wearing a camera attached to his helmet. It was done by UW athletics and footage will likely be posted on its website later today. It has been dubbed “Colby Cam.”

Sophomore cornerback Tim Hayes got drilled on a blitz after a nice block by redshirt sophomore running back D.J. May. Bohl said some new blitzes were introduced Monday, and he liked what he saw. He said it caused the offense some problems.

Senior right tackle Connor Rains was with the No. 1 offense after missing some time with an injury last week. Sophomore left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) is still out, but was at practice watching. Junior Austin Traphagan ran with the No. 1 offense at left tackle.

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UW fall camp – Day 6

Wyoming’s first period of its Saturday morning practice was some 11-on-11 work.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said he often does this because it is a good — and difficult — drill for the quarterbacks because there is a lot of “chaos” going on. It allows them to think things through and prepare for what might happen in the early portions of any game. In this case, it is for the season-opener three weeks from today against Montana.

There was a good mix of the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and twos vs. twos.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

No big surprises with the No. 1 offense. Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard took all the snaps with the ones. UW is still without their two starting right tackles in sophomore Nathan Leddige (left) and senior Connor Rains (right) due to head and concussion issues. Rains was at Saturday morning’s practice in uniform, and Bohl said he didn’t have a concusssion Leddige was not at the practice, and does have a concussion.

Redshirt freshman Kurtis Stirneman was on the left side and junior Austin Traphagan on the right with the No. 1 offense. With the twos it looked like true freshman Ryan Cummings on the left and redshirt freshman Taylor Knestis on the right.

Added Bohl on the offensive line: “I’d say of all the position groups on the field that is unsettled, that’s it.”

UW practiced in shoulder pads and helmets, so there was no tackling. The No. 1 defense recorded a few sacks. Senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha had one.

Jake Maulhardt

Jake Maulhardt

For the second-teamers, sophomore quarterback Tom Thornton thew a nice deep ball to sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt.

Kirkegaard and Thornton were the only quarterbacks who took snaps during that team period.

Saw a handful of true freshmen get some time with the No. 2 units. On offense, there was Cummings along the line, and tight ends Brinkley Jolley and Grant Lewis. Defensively, there was cornerbacks Robert Priester and Ryon’e Winters, and safety Chavez Pownell Jr.

UW lists three positions on defense with an “or” in terms of the starters. For this team period, senior middle linebacker Jordan Stanton, senior outside linebacker Devyn Harris and sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby worked with the first team. However, their backups — senior Alex Borgs, sophomore Lucas Wacha and sophomore Uso Olive — all played a lot. Bohl said among the linebacker, Stanton and Harris are likely to be the starters. He also said Appleby and Olive both will play a lot, along with the starter and backup at defensive tackle. The starter is senior Patrick Mertens. The backup is unknonw, but redshirt junior Troy Boyland appears to be the favorite.

After that team period UW went into some individual drill work, and here are some video highlights from that:


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Additions to UW football roster

Wyoming released additional players to its football roster Saturday morning.

Most are walk-ons, but one player is on scholarship: freshman receiver Hunter Atyia.

Here is the complete list:

89        Hunter Atyia                       WR                  5-10        175          Fr.            TR            Tulsa, Okla. (Air Force Prep)
38        Wade Cicierski                    FB                    5-10        220         Fr.            HS           Billings, Mont. (Billings Senior)
54        Jordan Ellis                          DE                   6-2          230         RSo.         TR            Colorado Springs, Colo. (UT-San Antonio)
22        Marcus Epps                        SS                    6-0          190         Fr.            HS           Los Angeles, Calif. (Edison)
46        Justin Escudero                    FB                    6-1          236         Fr.            HS           Los Angeles, Calif. (Sierra Canyon)
47        Matt List                              FB                    5-11         236         Fr.            HS           Colorado Springs, Colo. (Pine Creek)
19        Anthony Makransky            DB                   5-10        180         Fr.            HS           Friendswood, Texas (Friendswood)
62        Eli Moody                            OG                   6-3           260          Jr.            TR            Lovell, Wyo. (Rocky Mountain College)
87        Adam Pilapil                       WR                  6-1           182          Fr.            HS           Torrance, Calif. (Loyola)
61        Grayson Sipe                       OG                   6-2           298          Fr.            HS           Cheyenne, Wyo. (Central)
36        William Tutein                    SS                    6-2          210         RSo.         TR            St. Croix, Virgin Islands (Chadron State)

UW fall camp update – Day 5

Craig Bohl was fired-up for a short time.

The first-year Wyoming football coach was getting on his guys, who he thought were coming in late for stretching prior to Friday’s fifth practice of fall camp.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

But offensive coordinator Brent Vigen informed Bohl that he was running 10 minutes early.

Bohl laughed about it, and then the Cowboys went about their business.

Friday marked the first practice in full pads. As it has for the last few days, UW began the practice working on special teams work. Today was punting.

Bohl said senior quarterback Sam Stratton would stay at that position, but be involved in other aspects of the offense. Stratton got a look at catching punts Friday. Here is some video of that, and some of the other guys fielding punts.


Redshirt junior cornerback Tyran Finley, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne and redshirt junior running back D.J. May also caught punts.

As for the punting itself, sophomore Ethan Wood had some good punts and some not-so-good ones. That has been the pattern with him early in camp.

Senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha and true freshman safety Chavez Pownell Jr.both blocked punts.

Sophomore long snapper Brendan Turelli took care of the snapping duties. However, he was not in full pads. This was only his second practice of camp so he has to get two more practices under his belt before he can get into full pads. Here is what Bohl had to say after Friday’s practice: http://youtu.be/NhvceU6I9fc   Continue reading