Thoughts on first week of spring practice for UW football

One week down, four to go.

Wyoming completed its first week of spring football practice Saturday in War Memorial Stadium. Saturday’s practice marked the first one in full pads.

Here’s what fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said after practice:

Media members are allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of each practice, so there isn’t a ton of specific information I can provide, but here are some of the things that stood out to me after the first week:

— A lot of people ask me who made the most gains weight-wise from the end of last season until now. UW’s spring roster lists weights from last season. But I can tell you that junior offensive tackle Zach Wallace, who played at 297 last season, is up to around 310 this spring. All of UW’s tight ends did well in the weight room. I hardly recognized junior Josh Harshman when I went to the first practice. He looks a lot thicker, and I’ve been told he is around 235-237 pounds. He was in the 220s last season. Also, junior safety Marcus Epps looks a lot thicker.

Continue reading

Recruiting rankings can be highly overrated

Another recruiting class is in the books for Wyoming football as the Cowboys signed 24 players Wednesday.

In 20-plus years of covering UW sports, I’ve never heard a coach have a bad thing to say about their recruiting classes — no matter the sport and no matter the coach. Can you imagine what it would be like to have a coach say: “This class is OK, not great, but OK,” or “We didn’t sign a very good class.”

One big thing a lot of people — and the media – looks at in recruiting classes is the number of stars by their names given out by the numerous online recruiting websites like rivals.com, 247sports, scout.com — just to name a few.

Those of you who follow UW football and know UW football know that these national outlets normally don’t think highly of the Cowboys’ recruiting classes. Four and five-star recruits don’t sign with UW. The result are classes ranked near the bottom of all the 120-plus Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Continue reading

Williams poses potential problems for Wyoming defense

Wyoming has faced its share of good running backs this season.

It played against the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher twice in San Diego State senior Donnel Pumphrey. Boise State’s junior Jeremy McNichols, Nevada junior James Butler and a whole host of backs at New Mexico were others, and that’s just in conference play.

Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams

The Cowboys will see another one in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl in Brigham Young senior Jamaal Williams, who is the Cougars’ career rushing leader with 3,691 yards.

I asked a couple of UW defensive players if Williams compares favorably to any of the backs they’ve faced this season.

“He’s kind of like the (junior) Rashaad Penny from San Diego State,” senior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha said. “You don’t see too many backs like him. He’s big, physical and we’re excited to play against him.”

Williams is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He missed three games with an ankle injury, but he ran for 1,165 yards, 11 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. His longest run was 62 yards. He also caught seven passes for 80 yards.

Continue reading

New Mexico 56, Wyoming 35 – postgame thoughts

My initial thought from Wyoming’s lopsided loss — I’m glad that game is over.

From the start it was a disaster for the Cowboys. Big play after big play for New Mexico’s run game. Some said there were a lot of missed tackles. No there weren’t because more often than not UW didn’t get close enough to tackle anyone.

Third-year coach Craig Bohl called the defense’s effort “abysmal.” I saw a lot more stronger adjectives online last night. The 585 yard rushing UW allowed was a school record, and 428 of them were in the first half.

Wyoming (8-4 overall 6-2 Mountain West) clinched the Mountain Division before it played the game when Boise State lost at Air Force Friday night. I thought there was the potential for a letdown from the Cowboys based on that. Bohl said he was “concerned” about it, but didn’t think that was a factor. A couple players also said that wasn’t the case.

One player thought it was — sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard. Here’s what he said after the game:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Postgame thoughts of Wyoming’s 30-28 win over Boise State

Too bad the month of October has to end, because the Wyoming football team has been on a roll.

The Cowboys won their fourth straight game — all in October — with their 30-28 home win over No. 13 Boise State, which fell to No. 24 in the AP poll that was released Sunday.

A lot of late-game dramatics Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium. Here are some of the highlights, which include UW’s game-tying two-point conversion (I just got off the press box elevator when the touchdown was scored), along with the famous safety by senior nose tackle Chase Appleby.

Continue reading

Battle of two of the MW’s best when Wyoming hosts Boise State Saturday

Mondays are busy days for the media that covers Wyoming football as that is the day players and coaches are available for interviews.

The best news from Monday was third-year coach Craig Bohl said senior nose tackle Chase Appleby should play Saturday when UW (5-2 overall, 3-0 MW) hosts No. 13 Boise State (7-0, 3-0). Appleby left UW’s 42-34 win at Nevada in the first half with a head injury and didn’t return. Appleby’s been going through concussion protocol, but did interviews with the media Monday,  was in good spirits and expects to play Saturday and practice as the week progresses.

Here is UW’s depth chart for this week:

img_3230

Continue reading

Wyoming at Nevada football primer

Some news and notes prior to Wyoming’s game at Nevada, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday at Mackay Stadium in Reno.

Per normal, here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

James Butler

James Butler

The Butler didn’t do it: Wyoming’s defense must slow down Nevada junior running back James Butler, who is fourth in the Mountain West in rushing (117.4 yards per game) and third in all-purpose yards (149.3 ypg). UW did a good job against Butler last season as he had 10 carries for 51 yards, but that was due in large part to it leading 28-7 late in the third quarter. If Butler gets going, that opens other things up for Nevada’s offense.

Do you agree or disagree? For more keys to the game, and also a story on Butler, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Continue reading

UW beats Northern Illinois 40-34 in 3OT; what we learned

The No. 1 think I learned from watching Wyoming beat Northern Illinois 40-34 in triple overtime: You  never know what to expect covering college football.

A game that was supposed to start at 8:30 p.m. didn’t start until 10:20 p.m. due to severe weather with a lot of rain and lightning. The lightning was what delayed the game. After redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen’s 7-yard TD run to win he game in the third overtime, it was 2:35 a.m. Sunday when the game ended.

Here are the highlights of UW’s game-winning drive, capped by Allen’s run, and of Northern Illinois kicker Christia Hagen missing a 38-yard field goal in that third overtime.

Continue reading

UW defensive ends didn’t all start their careers there

One of the more surprising aspects of Wyoming’s depth chart for its season-opener Saturday against Northern Illinois was redshirt freshman walk-on Josiah Hall as the starter ahead of sophomore Kevin Prosser.

Josiah Hall

Josiah Hall

However, don’t look too much into that because both will play Saturday, and throughout the season. Hall gives UW a little more size at 237 pounds, compared to 215 for Prosser.

But what’s intriguing about those two and most of UW’s defensive ends is that hardly any of them started their football careers as defensive ends.

Hall and Prosser were linebackers in high school. Same can be said about UW’s other starter, sophomore Carl Granderson. The 6-foot-5, 243-pounder was an outside linebacker who didn’t play with his hand in the dirt like he does at UW. Granderson also played some at wide receiver in high school.

Continue reading