Oregon 49, Wyoming 13 – postgame thoughts

Well, that wasn’t pleasant.

Wyoming’s 49-13 loss to Oregon this past Saturday continued to show the Cowboys’ shortcomings — no running game, little to no pass protection, overall inconsistencies in the pass game and struggles on third down.

That’s just of the offense. The defense had few answers for Oregon’s speed and skill. But it also was on the field too much — 57 plays in the first half and 95 for the game. You can go back to the offensive struggles for that, and also the fact Oregon was pretty good. The Ducks cracked into the AP top 25 this week at No. 24.

Here’s fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Wyoming vs. Gardner-Webb pregame primer

As always, let’s start with my No. 1 key for Wyoming in Saturday’s home-opener, which kicks off at 2 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium and will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.

Be good up front: Wyoming needs to win the battle along the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively. You can say this in any game, but it’s critical for the Cowboys today. The offensive line must open holes for the run game that gained only 59 yards last week at Iowa. It also must keep junior quarterback Josh Allen upright and prevent him from being hit. Defensively, the line must be disruptive and not allow Gardner-Webb to get its run game going. The Runnin’ Bulldogs want to run the ball to open things up for its play-action pass and for dual-threat senior quarterback Tyrell Maxwell to run or throw.

More keys and info on the game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net

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Wyoming at Iowa pregame primer

Finally, a game to talk about.

Wyoming plays at Iowa at 10 a.m. MT Saturday in the season-opener for both squads. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

To follow with tradition, here is my No. 1 key for UW in the game:

Josh Allen

Balancing act: Despite the skills and abilities of junior quarterback Josh Allen, UW can’t be one-dimensional offensively. It has to run the ball, or at least run it well at critical times. That will be a tall task against a big and experienced Iowa front seven. Still, the Cowboys can’t make it easy for Iowa’s defense to come after Allen so some semblance of a running game is a must.

Agree, disagree?

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 21

Wednesday was a day for mental and fundamental work as the Cowboys practiced outside on the practice fields south of War Memorial Stadium in spiders (lighter shoulder pads), helmets and shorts.

The best news was there were no new injuries to report.

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

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Cowboys begin fall camp Monday

Players reported Sunday, and the first practice of fall camp for the Wyoming football team is Monday morning. There is no media access to Monday’s practice because UW will have its media day for football at noon Monday.

Craig Bohl

But during the MW Media Summit in Las Vegas I talked to fourth-year coach Craig Bohl and junior safety Andrew Wingard about a few things about the team heading into camp.

This is what Bohl said about the position battles he expects to see in camp: “At running back, we made progress during the spring, and I would like to and see someone come to forefront there. At tight end, we have a lot of players, but they are guys who have not played a lot. I also see a pretty intense battle at cornerback. We have some experienced players, but a young guy like (sophomore) Tyler Hall really came on during the spring.”

Sophomore Milo Hall came out of spring as the starter at running back, but junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet aren’t that far behind. Two Wyoming

Milo Hall

products are atop the depth chart at tight end in junior Josh Harshman of Casper and junior Austin Fort of Gillette. Junior Tyree Mayfield may be the most talented tight end UW has, but he is listed third on the depth chart entering fall camp. Hall earned one of the two starting jobs at cornerback after spring drills, but junior Antonio Hull and seniors Robert Priester and Rico Gafford have played a lot of football for the Cowboys.

“The only position we don’t figure to be a lot of competition (in terms of being the starter) is at quarterback,” said Bohl with a smile when talking about junior quarterback Josh Allen, the preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year voted on by the media.

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How I voted in the preseason All-MW football team

The annual Mountain West “Media Summit” kicked off Tuesday at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Simply put, it’s MW football media days. The league just gave it a fancy new name.

The preseason All-MW team and predicted order of finish was announced Tuesday morning. Both were voted by selected media, including myself.

Here’s how the voting turned out:

2017 Preseason All-MW Football Team

Offense

QB: Josh Allen**, jr., Wyoming

WR: Michael Gallup*, sr., Colorado State; Devonte Boyd, sr., UNLV

RB: Rashaad Penny, sr., San Diego State*; Tyrone Owens, jr., New Mexico

OL: Jake Bennett**, sr., Colorado State; Austin Corbett**, sr., Nevada, Dejon Allen**, sr., Hawaii, Aaron Jenkins, jr., New Mexico; Mason Hampton, sr., Boise State.

TE: David Wells**, sr., San Diego State

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What to interpret from UW’s post-spring depth chart

Wyoming football released its post-spring depth chart earlier this week. For a look at it, click the link below:

http://wyo-platform-prod.silverchalice.co/v3/files/59026264e4b08ff5edddbf00

To me there were not a lot of big surprised, but a couple of small ones.

Milo Hall

At running back, I was both a little surprised and happy to see sophomore Milo Hall as the starter — not that I have anything against the other two guys: junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet. But based on what the coaches said throughout spring, all three backs will play this season and the competition will continue into fall camp. That’s not saying Hall’s No. 1 spot is a fluke. But as I’ve written before, I think this will be a running back by committee type year for UW, and the guy who is playing the best will get the majority of the carries.

It’s the same deal at tight end. Juniors Josh Harshman of Casper or Austin Fort of Gillette — according to the depth chart — would start if there was a game played right now. Junior Tyree Mayfield is third. UW played three tight ends last season, even though senior Jacob Hollister was by far the go-to guy in the pass game. Harshman, Fort and Mayfield all will play, and likely will play a lot this season. Although, I will say it’s nice to see two Wyoming kids doing well at that position.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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