Poinsettia Bowl pregame primer

I’ve done this all season, so why stop now. Here’s my No. 1 key for Wyoming in tonight’s Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. MT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The game is televised on ESPN.

Players making plays: Meaning Wyoming’s best players must make plays. Whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams, the guys the Cowboys have leaned on throughout the season must be good from start to finish. If some unsung players do so, even better. But in big games like this, big-time players make big-time plays.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Nineteen seniors will play their last game for UW. Some will have bigger roles than others, but one who will have the biggest role is middle linebacker Lucas Wacha, who also is a team captain. This is what third-year-coach Craig Bohl said of Wacha earlier this week in San Diego.

“The biggest transition he made was taking ownership in the defense. I saw a transition last year when we were struggling, he always had a positive attitude and at times challenged some of the guys that weren’t performing or preparing to perform the way they needed to.

“They say nice guys are a dime a dozen, but a leader is priceless. Lucas is a nice guy, but he’s a great leader.”

Wacha is third on the team with 104 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss, and is tied for third with three quarterback sacks. He needs three tackles to move into seventh place and 12 to be sixth in career tackles in school history. Wacha enters the game with 340 tackles.

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Bowl swag aplenty for players

One of the many cool things for players who participate in bowl game are the gifts they receive.

Brendan Turelli

Brendan Turelli

Wyoming senior long snapper Brendan Turelli has been kind enough to provide the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and wyosports.net a daily take on what’s going on with the Cowboys as they prepare for Brigham Young in the Poinsettia Bowl a week from today in San Diego.

In Turelli’s latest piece, he describes what UW and BYU players are offered in what is called the “gift suite,” which nearly every bowl offers.

Here’s the link to that:

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/poinsettia-bowl-preparation-bowl-swag-on-agenda-for-wyoming/article_cad57390-c1c5-11e6-8da9-df1c6cecf1ba.html

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Images from UW football fall camp

Fall camp concluded for Wyoming Saturday with its second and final scrimmage.

Hope you enjoyed the video highlights and interviews I posted throughout camp. I shot a few photos I wanted to share that I though were fun and somewhat funny.

Brendan Turelli and his short shorts.

Brendan Turelli and his short shorts.

First, senior long snapper Brendan Turelli is one of my favorite guys on the team. A great guy who does his job well. During the last week of camp, Turelli and senior punter Ethan Wood got some pairs of workout shorts from UW’s equipment guys, and they are very much old school. Here is Turelli showing them off. Sorry for the titled angle on all these photos you are about to see. Both Wood and Turelli said they made them look like your old-school gym teacher/coach. I think that description does it justice.

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UW fall camp – Day 6

Wyoming had its first two-a-day session of fall camp Saturday. The morning practice was in War Memorial Stadium. The players were in shorts and “spider pads,” which are a step down from shoulder pads.

The afternoon practice was expected to be in full pads with some scrimmaging. However, that practice was closed to the public and media.

Here are some highlights from the morning practice.

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UW fall camp — Day 1

Wyoming started fall camp Monday morning at the North 40 practice fields on campus.

As in the past, media was allowed to watch the first 30 minutes. Here are some video highlights from the morning. The Cowboys worked a lot of forcing and recovering fumbles early on. Forcing more turnovers is a must. Last season, UW forced just 10 turnovers (five fumbles and five interceptions).

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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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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

UW football fall camp – Day 4

The early portion of Thursday’s Wyoming football practice again centered around special teams. Wednesday there was a lot of work on punt return and punt block. Thursday was drill work for kickoff returns. No actual 11-on-11 work there, just drills. Here is some video from that.

Thursday marked the camp debut of sophomore long snapper Brendan Turelli. He got

Brendan Turelli

Brendan Turelli

some handshakes and good-natured teasing from teammates. Turelli and senior kicker have been in Laramie but not part of camp as coach Craig Bohl wants to look at some players at other positions early in camp. Williams will be in camp soon, but is working on his own.   Continue reading

Williams shines for UW special teams

The most positive aspect of Wyoming’s special teams from the spring was junior kicker Stuart Williams.

In three scrimmages and the spring game, Williams made all 25 of his extra-point attempts and was 20 of 21 on field goals, with a long of 41. Williams also did a lot of kicking during practices, and was accurate then, too.

Stuart Williams

Stuart Williams

His efforts earned him a scholarship starting this fall.

Williams worked hard in the offseason, and it showed. The ball is getting off his foot faster and higher. I think he is most comfortable from 40 yards and in, but he has the leg to make field goals of up to 50 yards.

The two field goals Williams missed were blocked.

What also made his spring effort impressive was that UW didn’t have a consistent long snapper. Often times the snaps were low and slow, which can mess up the timing on kicks. The Cowboys are relying on true freshman Brendan Turelli to come in this fall and handle those duties.

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