Cowboys begin final week of fall camp

Wyoming first practice of the final week of fall camp was Monday morning in War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys will practice twice Monday, with the second one at 3:50 p.m.

Monday is the 14th straight day UW has practiced since the start of fall camp, and Monday afternoon’s work out will be its 20th.

Shaun Wick

Shaun Wick

The Cowboys had their full collection of running backs. Senior Shaun Wick (concussion), sophomore Josh Tapscott (illness) and redshirt freshman Nico Evans (hamstring) all practiced, as did sophomore Brian Hill, who didn’t play in last Saturday’s scrimmage due to a tight hamstring.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of practice.


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Thornton gives his take on UW’s quarterbacks this spring

Wyoming junior Tom Thornton ended last season as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback.

Prior to the start of spring drills, Thornton was one of six scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. With a logjam there, UW moved him to wide receiver.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Thornton’s transition to receiver is still a work in progress, but he’s happy with the move. For more on that, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Earlier this week, I asked Thornton what he thought of the play of UW’s four quarterbacks this spring: senior Cameron Coffman, sophomore and junior college transfer Josh Allen, redshirt freshman Nick Smith and redshirt sophomore Aaron Young.

Coffman was named the starter earlier in spring drills. Allen is currently listed as the backup, followed by Smith and Young.

“I think they’re doing a great job. Going form last year to now, you can see their knowledge of the offense has improved.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“Cam has looked fantastic. His accuracy is on point. His reads are on point. I think he’s goin to have an unbelievable year. Josh is doing well, but is the newest guy. He has an unbelievable arm. He needs to know when to tone it down a little bit. He threw a screen pass bout 90 miles an hour. He’s starting to pick up the offense. Nick’s is doing a solid job and Aaron is as well.”

Thornton also said that losing redshirt freshman Austin Fort “kind of sucks.” Fort was moved from quarterback to tight end last week. Soon after that, UW announced Fort will transfer.

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A look at the first depth chart of spring for Wyoming football

Wyoming released its first depth chart of spring drills Monday. Here is the link to the depth chart:

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wyo/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2014-15/depth_chart_non_event/4-13-15_depth_chart.pdf

Will this what it will look like in less than two weeks when spring drills end, or when the Cowboys open the season Sept. 5 against North Dakota?

Some positions, yes. Others, no.

Here is a fairly quick and short breakdown of what I think of this first depth chart:

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Locks: Senior Cameron Coffman at quarterback, senior Shaun Wick and Brian Hill at running back, juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt at wide receiver, junior Jacob Hollister at tight end, sophomore Drew Van Maanen at fullback, junior Chase Roullier at left guard, seniors Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api at defensive end, junior Uso Olive at defensive tackle, junior Lucas Wacha at one of the three linebacker spots (which one is still uncertain) and junior Ethan Wood at punter. I don’t see much movement at any of these spots barring injury.

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Vigen talks order of UW’s other quarterbacks

A few weeks ago, some UW fans wanted to see what else Wyoming had at quarterback besides senior Colby Kirkegaard.

The Cowboys’ offense was sputtered in its first seven games. There were glimpses of good, but too many three-and-outs and empty drives.

Some wanted to see what UW’s backups could do, even if it were for a series or two to see what the future of the program may look like at quarterback.

That talk has quieted after UW’s 45-17 win at Fresno State last week. The Cowboys recorded numerous season-highs offensively, including points, total yards (694), rushing yards (374) and third-down conversions.

But going back to UW’s 27-20 overtime loss to San Jose State, Kirkegaard has not thrown an interception in his last three games, and over the last two he’s completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 655 yards and four touchdowns.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Sophomore back up quarterback Tom Thornton has seen mostly mop-up duty for the Cowboys this season. He’s played in two games and not attempted a pass. Sophomore Aaron Young, the No. 3 quarterback, has not played.

“Tom has got the bulk of the No. 2 reps, but he truly wouldn’t be tested until he got into a game — I hate to say,” offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. “His maturation is probably a little bit in a standstill. If something happened to Colby, we’d finish that game with Tom and then have to re-evaluate it the next week.”

“Aaron doesn’t get many reps so where he’s at is hard to say.”

Brent Vigen

Brent Vigen

Vigen said it’s a 2-to-1 ratio in terms of the number of reps Kirkegaard receives each week during practice compared to Thornton.

“Our No. 1 job is to get the No. 1 guy ready, and then have the No. 2 guy to function well enough to get through a game. When he (the No. 2 guy) becomes the No. 1 guy then the emphasis will be placed on him.”

For more on UW’s sudden offensive surge, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

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UW-Colorado State postgame thoughts

Do you take any positives from Wyoming’s 45-31 loss at Colorado State Saturday?

The offense scored 28 second-half points, including 21 in the fourth quarter. Yes, those points came after the game was no longer in doubt. But, was it a positive and something the team can build on?

True freshman running back Brian Hill looked good after junior Shaun Wick left with a broken hand on the first series. Hill had 121 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. I think UW fans are going to like watching him run the ball in the future.

Defensively … OK, hard to draw many positives there as more injuries and missed tackles hurt the Cowboys (no pun intended) once again. Tim Harkins, UW’s sports information director who has been at the school more than 20 years, said he doesn’t remember this many injuries to a Cowboys’  team since former coach Joe Tiller’s first season in 1991 when around 20 players under went surgeries due to injuries.

Here is what first-year coach Craig Bohl said after the game:


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UW fall camp – Day 16

Wyoming’s 16th day and 20th practice of fall camp was in full pads Tuesday morning, and all of it was held outside at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Most of the previous practices started in its indoor practice facility, and then went outside. The Cowboys started with some 11-on-11 work, and the quarterbacks were sharp.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard — still the starter — threw a nice deep ball to senior receiver Dominic Rufran. Kirkegaard executed a pump fake to perfection on the play.

Kirkegaard made several nice throws during the period. One was over the middle to sophomore Jake Maulhardt, and another was to the sideline for senior receiver Jalen Claiborne.

Sophomore backups Tom Thornton and Aaron Young also took some snaps at quarterback. Thornton got more than Young. All the plays during the period were pass plays.

Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough had a sack early on of Kirkegaard (the quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit).

Sidney Malauulu

Sidney Malauulu

True freshman defensive tackle Sidney Malauulu had one of the more powerful plays of the day and he pushed backup sophomore center Jacob English back about three yards that disrupted a play.

Malauulu came back last week from a sprained MCL in his knee, and Bohl said he likely will play this season. More on him later this week.

Here’s what coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s practice.

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Cowboys open fall camp Monday morning

And so it begins. Wyoming’s first of 24 practices of fall camp started Monday morning in Laramie. The team did some drill work, walk-throughs and stretching in its indoor practice facility, and then headed out to Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium for the rest of practice. Unfortunately, the media is allowed to watch only the first 30 minutes of practice, which was all indoor so there is not a lot to report. But here are a couple of observations:

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

–During the walk-throughs, redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense, although there was a lot of moving around among other players on offense. Basically, Kirkegaard and true freshmen Nick Smith and Austin Fort were on one end, and sophomore Tom Thornton, senior Sam Stratton and sophomore Aaron Young were on the other end. The No. 1 and No. 2 defense went against Kirkegaard and his offensive group. The rest of the offensive and defensive guys were on the other end of the field. It was an odd mix and match of players. For instance, most of the top receivers were down with the backups. Most of the offensive plays were run plays so it may have been a run-specific walk-through. Here is a video of the receivers doing some hands work.

–As far as the starters went, there was nothing new in terms of the guys in this walk-through than what was indicated on the depth chart released prior to the start of camp. I saw true freshman tight end Grant Lewis get in a for a couple of snaps with the main offensive guys, same with true freshman defensive end John Jackson. Continue reading

UW adds quarterback from Indiana

The Wyoming football team has added another quarterback, but it will be a year before he is in the fold in terms of playing time.

Cameron Coffman, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, announced on his Twitter account Friday that he will transfer to UW from Indiana. Coffman was a junior at Indiana last season where he played in only three games and attempted nine passes. He has not graduated from Indiana, so he will have to sit out the 2014 season at UW to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and will be a redshirt senior in 2015.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

In 2012, Coffman threw for 2,734 yards at Indiana, which was second in the Big Ten Conference for passing yards per game. He also had 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions that season.

Last season he was beat out by two other quarterbacks and attempted only nine passes in three games.

I spoke to two different sports reporters at the Bloomington Herald-Times Friday about Coffman, and both said Coffman was a good guy, handled the quarterback competition with class and thinks he will do good things at UW.

Coffman, who is from Peculiar, Missouri, attended Arizona Western Community College in Yuma, Arizona in 2011 where he threw for 2,244 yards with 21 touchdowns, six interceptions and completed 61.4 percent of his passes.

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UW quarterbacks take their hits in second scrimmage

Most of the time, quarterbacks are off limits in terms of being hit during practices or scrimmages.

Not Saturday for the four University of Wyoming quarterbacks in the Cowboys’ second scrimmage of spring drills.

Quarterbacks were live, and did take some hits.

“That first hit I took was a little bit of a shock,” said senior Sam Stratton, who was 7 of 10 for 69 yards and touchdown passes to sophomore receiver Nico Brown and sophomore running back Omar Stover. “It had been a while, and it was like ‘okay, we’re playing tackle football.’ It felt good, and after that first hit your brain goes into a different place.”

Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard was 8 of 12 for 126 yards and a touchdown to senior receiver Keenan Montgomery. Kirkegaard’s long pass was 50 yards to Montgomery. Stratton said he didn’t remember who hit him, but Kirkegaard remembered his first hit by senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha on a run up the middle.

“That first hit wakes you up a little bit and you realize you don’t have that blue jersey on and will just get tagged on the shoulder instead of being hit. It’s real football.”

Kirkegaard had ice on his right throwing shoulder after the scrimmage and during interviews with the media, but he said he does that after every game and practice.

Sophomore Aaron Young was 3 of 12 for 28 yards, and sophomore Tom Thornton was 4 of 5 for 45 yards and a touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said he wants to look at the film before making an evaluation on the quarterbacks. Bohl is expected to release a “fluid” depth chart as early as Monday. The scrimamge was closed to the public and media, but here is what Bohl told the media about the scrimmage:


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Upon further review …

First-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl talked to the media for the first time Monday since last Saturday’s first scrimmage of spring drills.

After looking at the film, Bohl said there was a lot to be encouraged about.

As of now, the top two quarterbacks are redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard and senior Sam Stratton. Bohl said sophomore Aaron Young is still learning, but doing some good things, and sophomore Tom Thornton is behind the other three — as of now.

For more on that, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Here is what Bohl said after Monday’s practice:


Bohl said redshirt sophomore D.J. May and junior Shaun Wick have separated themselves at the running back spot. “D.J. has more breakaway ability,” Bohl said. “Shaun is really paying attention to the details, and is getting his reads and assignments down.”

UW’s starting defensive line of senior Sonny Puletasi and junior Eddie Yarbrough at the ends, along with senior Patrick Mertens and sophomore Uso Olive at defensive tackle is solid. Depth behind Mertens and Olive is not.

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