Cowboys reach halfway point of fall camp

Ten down, ten to go.

The University of Wyoming is halfway through fall camp. Tuesday’s practice was its 10th practice. The Cowboys have 10 more practices before camp breaks, and then it is game week in preparation for their season-opening game against Missouri Aug. 31 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Here are some thoughts and observations midway through camp.

— UW got some bad news Tuesday with junior defensive tackle Ravontae Holt being out for the season with a torn ACL. Holt was a projected starter, and based off the daily comments from sixth-year coach Craig Bohl, was having a really good camp. An already thin group of interior defensive linemen in terms of depth got a lot thinner. As of now, UW plans to go with a three man rotation at its two interior line spots with junior Javaree Jackson, sophomore Victor Jones and redshirt freshman Mario Mora. When asked if any other names have started to emerge, Bohl said: “As we go, they’re still unnamed. That’s as clear as I can be.” There is time for others to develop, but one thing is certain, UW will need more than three to get through an entire season.

— Holt’s injury magnifies this issue, but even before that it was evident that if the Cowboys are to be successful defensively this season, they are going to have to do it differently than the last couple of years, which consisted of good play along the defensive line and at safety — especially last season. This isn’t to say those groups can’t or won’t play well in 2019, but depth and proven commodities are simply not there. UW will need to be good at cornerback, especially in passing situations where more man-to-man coverage could be used, and also at linebacker.

— I got a laugh from this quote from Bohl when asked to follow up on a statement he made about the wide receivers needing to be more consistent in practice. He’s talking about their ability to make contested catches. “I always say there’s two hungry dogs and one piece of meat. One dog is getting the meat. We need to get the meat.” That’s the quote of fall camp so far, but a valid point. Bohl said UW’s receivers were decent last season in catching the ball with no one around them. But we all know football isn’t always like that. For an offense that averaged 131.3 passing yards per games, and no returning wide receiver averaging more than 11.1 yards per catch, this area has to improve.

— The battle for the starting job at left guard is still ongoing with sophomores Patrick Arnold and Eric Abojei. Arnold is still working some at center, his natural position. That spot, and perhaps others, should get cleared up more when UW scrimmages on Saturday. That will be its first and likely only major scrimmage during camp. Unfortunately, it is closed to the public and media. We also should have a better idea on who will play at free safety, and the pecking order among UW’s young running backs and wide receivers will be after the scrimmage.

— Been hearing a lot of positive comments about junior right guard Logan Harris of Torrington, who seems to have that starting job locked down. First-year offensive line coach Bart Miller said Harris has made good strides since the spring with his footwork.

— Thank goodness for the new redshirt rule. Last season, freshman defensive end Solomon Byrd saw time in three games and recorded five tackles. Because Byrd played four games or fewer, UW could redshirt him. Now, the 6-foot-4, 243-pounder has emerged to be in the rotation for playing time this season along with senior Josiah Hall and junior Garrett Crall. Now, defensive ends coach AJ Cooper needs to see who will step up behind that trio. There are about five guys in the picture now, including sophomore Davon Wells-Ross, redshirt freshmen Levi Lafaele, Teagan Liufau and Jack Boyer, along with true freshman DeVonne Harris. Liufau and Boyer are walk-ons.

— This is what redshirt freshman starting quarterback Sean Chambers had to say earlier this week about how camp has gone for him: “I think camp has been okay. We’ve done some good things out there. We’ve made some mistakes, but that’s going to happen through the course of camp. I’d say I’m pleased with my performance so far, but there are are lot of things I need to do better. We still have some time, so that’s a positive. I need to be more consistent, not turn the ball over, be accurate and right with the protections. At times it gets frustrating, but I have to remember that this is camp and we’re going against our own team. I can’t take the previous play to the next play — good or bad.”

This likely will be my last post here this week. I am taking some time off to spend some time with my dad. His health isn’t great, and this opportunity to spend this time and do what we have planned is something I can’t pass up. But don’t worry, stories have been planned and written to run through the rest of the week in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net, so check them out.

Wyoming coaches, players weigh in on favorite Easter candy

I do this every year with Easter and Halloween.

This weekend happens to be Easter, and even though the meaning of this holiday is much deeper and important than this, I like to have a little fun with the Wyoming football team and ask them their favorite Easter candy.

Lots of great choices here, so here we go.

Sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay: chocolate bunnies.

Running backs coach Gordie Haug: Reese’s eggs or bunnies.

Senior high end Josh Harshman: Reese’s eggs.

Redshirt freshman running back Brett Brenton: Sour punch straws or sour Mike and Ikes.

Junior nose tackle Justice Borton: Kit Kats.

Senior middle linebacker Logan Wilson: Whoppers Robin Eggs.

Senior kicker Cooper Rothe: Reese’s bunnies or eggs.

Junior fullback Skyler Miller: Cadbury Creame Eggs.

Run game coordinator AJ Cooper: Reese’s bunnies.

Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen: Cadbury Creame Eggs.

Redshirt freshman Cole Godbout: Starburst jelly beans.

Sophomore linebacker Chad Muma: chocolate bunnies.

Junior defensive tackle Ravontae Holt: Reese’s bunnies/eggs.

Sophomore defensive tackle Victor Jones: Marshmallow Peeps.

Me: Anything with Reese’s peanut butter. Doesn’t matter the holiday or occasion, give me some Reese’s and I am golden.

What about you? Would love to hear your favorite.


Easter candy rundown: Wyoming football players weigh in on their favorites

Happy Easter everyone, and the significance and importance of this day goes beyond anything written on this blog.

However, this blog also is meant to be fun so as we approach Easter Sunday, I asked a hard-hitting question to some of the Wyoming football players and coaches — their favorite Easter candy.

Here are the results:

— Sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe: Carmel eggs

Junior quarterback Josh Allen: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Junior safety Marcus Epps: Reese’s peanut butter cups

Sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall: Snickers

Junior offensive lineman Cole Turner: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen: Cadbury eggs

Junior offensive tackle Zach Wallace: “Chocolate bunnies, but not the hollow ones, ones that are solid chocolate.”

Sophomore linebacker Cassh Malauia: Reece’s

Sophomore wide receiver C.J. Johnson: Skittles

Defensive ends coach AJ Cooper: “Reese’s peanut butter eggs. “My wife gets a bag of those and they’re gone.”

Junior tight end Tyree Mayfield: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Redshirt sophomore running back Kellen Overstreet: “I am lactose intolerant, but if I could I would go with things like Kit-Kats. But I also will eat some Laffy Taffy or things like that.”

Junior quarterback Nick Smith: Chocolate Easter eggs and the white chocolate Resse’s peanut butter cups.

Senior outside linebacker Jalen Ortiz: Anything chocolate.

Me: Reese’s peanut butter eggs, bunnies, etc. Can’t go wrong with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter ever!

Sophomore safety Alijah Halliburton: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Redshirt freshman defensive end Garrett Crall: Starburst jelly beans

Sophomore running back Milo Hall: Chocolate bunny

Junior running back Nico Evans: Skittles

Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton and son, Bode: Reese’s peanut butter cups

How about you?

Hope everyone out there has a Happy Easter.

UW football weighs in on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be tough for college football players and coaches because, more often than not, they’re season is still going on.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

Wyoming is no different as it prepares to play its regular-season finale Saturday at New Mexico. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said there will be a “big team dinner” planned for Thanksgiving day.

I asked some guys on the team two questions leading into Thanksgiving: What they’re most thankful for and their favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.

For Bohl, he said he was most thankful for this season’s seniors and how they’ve bought in and stuck it out from the start. As for the food, he said cranberries and turkey.

Here are the responses from others:

True freshman kicker Cooper Rothe

Most thankful: My teammates. Even when I struggled early, they stuck by me, supported me and told me they wanted me because I was good.

Food: Pie, and anything sweet.

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Where UW football ranks among assistant coaches salaries

The USA Today does a great job of creating data bases to compare a lot of financial numbers in college athletics.

Its latest was listing assistant coaches salaries, and what schools spend on assistant salaries, among the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Here is the link to the entire data base:

http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/salaries/football/assistant

As for Wyoming, it spent $1,224,315 on salaries for its assistant coaches. The two highest paid coaches are the coordinators — Steve Stanard on defense ($203,375) and Brent Vigen on offense ($203,275).

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Media Monday: UW looks to send seniors out on winning note

The final news conference and interview session with players and assistant coaches had a definite theme at Wyoming Monday — beating UNLV and sending the eight seniors out on a winning note.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“They’ve just been great friends and great leaders on this team,” said redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman about the other seven seniors. Coffman is in his second year at UW after transferring from Indiana in 2014. “I’m really proud of those guys. It’s easy to quit, easy to give in when you have a season like we are (1-10 overall, 1-6 Mountain West). But they continue to lead, work had and continue to be great role models for the young guys. That’s what I’m most proud of with those guys.”

UW defensive ends coach AJ Cooper has two of the Cowboys’ most well-known seniors in Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Both have played in more than 40 games in their careers, and both also are team captains.

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Granderson growing on and off the field

Carl Granderson is doing something few college football players do during the season: gaining weight.

The Wyoming true freshman defensive end is listed at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. But

Carl Granderson

Carl Granderson

Granderson said this week he’s up to 205 pounds. Yes, that is still 30 to 40 pounds lighter than UW would like him to be, but it’s rare for any player to gain weight through the rigors of a season.

“I keep on eating through the day,” Granderson said. “I eat breakfast, snacks between classes, lunch, dinner. You have to be constantly eating, drinking shakes ad all that.”

Granderson also said he lifts weights twice a day — in the mornings before practice and at night after practice.

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who wish they had to eat more. Sounds like a good thing, but it’s not as easy or fun as it sounds.

“It’s hard. The mornings are hard for me to eat. But gong into the games and playing against these big offensive tackles, I realize I have to put on weight fast. The games have really motivated me to get bigger so I can play better.”

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UW football fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming was back at the North 40 grass practice fields Wednesday morning for its third practice of fall camp. Players were in shoulder pads for the first time. They will be in full pads for the first time on Friday.

Coach Craig Bohl said some of his veteran players continue to play well. Bohl singled out redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman, along with senior

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and junior nickel back/linebacker D.J. May.

“(Coffman’s) competition percentage is up. He’s really getting a good grasp of our offense, making good decisions and adjusting well,” Bohl said.

“D.J. May continues to make progress, and Eddie showed some great bursts. Anytime you seniors and other veterans continue to get better, that’s always a good sign.”

Hear what else Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice right here:


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Bohl says Fresno State game was UW’s most complete effort this season

First-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl began his Monday news conference like he has the others this season — giving a quick recap of the previous game.

And he said the Cowboys’ 45-17 win at Fresno State last Saturday was his team’s most complete game in all three phases of the game this season.

Here is video of the entire news conference:


One question asked by the media that wasn’t on the video was about if there was renewed enthusiasm among the players after the win, and if thoughts or goals of getting bowl eligible with two more wins were being talked about.

Bohl said that hasn’t been an emphasis this season, and that the only goal this team has is to prepare to host Utah State Friday night.

Another good thing that came from the Fresno State game was no new injuries. However, Bohl said senior defensive ends Sonny Puletasi (leg) and Riley Lange (concussion), along with senior safety Jesse Sampson (knee) remain day-to-day. None of those three practiced Monday. UW defensive ends coach AJ Cooper wasn’t optimistic that Lange would play this week.

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