UW at Boise State football preview: Notes, quotes and video

As always, I start with my top key for Wyoming for its game at Boise State Saturday:

Clean and complete: Wyoming hasn’t had a large margin of error in any game this season, but that margin is razor-thin in this game. Boise State isn’t 95-4 at home since 2000 by using smoke and mirrors. It capitalizes on opponents’ mistakes. The Cowboys can’t turn the ball over, be plagued by penalties or have breakdowns defensively. They also need to force the Broncos into making mistakes. Boise State had eight turnovers last week in its 52-26 loss at Utah State. UW has forced four turnovers all season. It needs to force multiple turnovers, and score off them if they have any chance of being competitive or winning this game.

What do you think, folks? Yes, no or this guy has no idea what he’s talking about?

Here is my video preview of the game:

Now, a few notes and quotes about the game:

— “I think we’re still a ways away. I’d like to think we’re really close. But we’re playing two true freshmen offensive linemen. Developing fullback play has been a challenge, same with the tight ends. We’ve made progress, but we’re not where we want to be.” — UW coach Craig Bohl about how far his offense has progressed since he took over as coach last year.

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New roles for UW wide receivers amid Gentry injury

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said Monday he’s “hopeful” junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry will play Saturday at Boise State after suffering a sprained shoulder in UW’s 28-21 win over Nevada last Saturday.

Gentry’s status for the game won’t be known until later this week, but it’s probably a long-shot that he plays. Gentry leads UW with 37 catches for 678 yards, and is tied for the team lead with four receiving touchdowns. His receiving  yards is 15th in the country, and his 96.9 receiving yards per game is 19th.

So, who steps up for the Cowboys while Gentry is out, whether it is just the Boise State game or future games?

Jake Maulhardt

Jake Maulhardt

The first guy is junior Jake Maulhardt, who is second behind Gentry with 36 catches for 366 yards, and is tied with Gentry on the team with four touchdowns. Maulhardt plays the ‘X’ receiver spot, while Gentry plays the ‘Y.’ Maulhardt is a bigger target than Gentry at 6-foot-6, but doesn’t have the speed Gentry has.

“My number may be called more,” Maulhardt said. “I need to capitalize on it an make plays for the team. If it happens, Im ready for it.”

The two guys who likely will see more playing time if Gentry is out are a pair of true freshmen — James Price and Joe Parker. Combined, those two have caught 7 passes for 68 yards this season.

James Price

James Price

Maulhardt thinks Price is similar to Gentry in terms of his size (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) and abilities. Parker is smaller (5-10, 182) and seems like more of a slot receiver than an edge guy. Maulhardt said true freshman Justice Murphy played a lot more last week against Nevada, and is “one of the most athletic guys on the team.”

Gentry and Maulhardt have caught 57 percent of UW’s completed passes this season. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said human nature often takes over when guys are pressed into stepping up for a team due to an injury to a teammate as compared to trying to compete for playing time when everyone is healthy and front-line guys are being productive.

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UW at Appalachian State football – notes, quotes and video

As usual, I start with my No. 1 key for Wyoming in its game Saturday at Appalachian State:

Better start defensively: Wyoming has allowed 101 first-half points, compared to 42 in the second half. It can’t dig itself an early hole on the road today against a good team. The Cowboys must do a better job of adjusting to the speed of the game early, tackle well and not allow the big play. In four games they’ve allowed 12 plays of 30 yards or more, nine of which have resulted in touchdowns. Wyoming also must do a good job of slowing down Appalachian State’s run game. The Mountaineers average 298.7 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys allow 207.2. On paper this isn’t a good match-up.

For more keys and a preview of the game, here’s my video preview:


Some notes and quotes on the game:

— “They definitely have guys that fly around, play with great technique and are

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

experienced defensively. It would be a misstep for us not to know they can throw the ball pretty well. They run the ball well (298.3 yards per game). The quarterback isn’t as much of a run threat as what we faced last week, but still a threat. We think they have a great offensive line that creates some holes and pose some challenges — not like we need any challenges.” — UW coach Craig Bohl on Appalachian State.

— “Some of the young guys are probably pretty fragile right now thinking this college football sucks, and do I really want to do this for the next four or years. It’s our job as older guys to encourage them and let them know if we keep working success will come.” — UW redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman on the mental state of the team, especially the younger players.

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UW-Eastern Michigan football: notes, quotes and video

First, my No. 1 key for Wyoming in its game Saturday with Eastern Michigan:

Run the football: Pretty simple. Wyoming has get back to what it does best offensively. Twenty-nine yards last week versus North Dakota won’t cut it. The run game will keep a vulnerable UW defense off the field, and also take pressure off whoever plays quarterback for the Cowboys today. UW needs to run the ball, then run it some more.

More on that, and other things about the game in my video preview:

A few other notes and quotes:

–“We’ve got to move forward. I learned a long time ago if you look in the rear-view mirror a long time, you’re going to have those same results.” — UW coach Craig Bohl after last week’s 24-13 season-opening loss to North Dakota.

— Senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough ranks 10th nationally among all active FBS players with 29.5 tackles for loss. He had one last week against North Dakota.

Tanner Gentry

Tanner Gentry

–“He was doing a good job of getting open, and I also feel like I have good chemistry with him. I know where he’s going and what he’s going to do. I feel comfortable with all the guys, too. It’s still coming along with the young guys.” — UW redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman on the play of junior receiver Tanner Gentry last week (nine catches for 176 yards and a touchdown) and his comfort level with the Cowboys’ other wide receivers.

— Gentry leads the Mountain West after one week of games in catches and receiving yards. His receiving yards is fifth nationally and his catches are ninth.

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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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UW looking ahead to final week of spring drills

Wyoming begins its final week of spring drills Monday with the first of three practices, capped by the spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday in Laramie.
Here is what some of the players and coaches said they hope to accomplish this week:
Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

–“We’re going to continue to get some padded work. There won’t be a lot of scrimmage downs. We’ll look at redefining the packages that we do have. There will be some more evaluation, but the cream is starting to rise to the crop.” — coach Craig Bohl

–“We have one more week now to get better and get ready for the spring game. At first spring practice was just a lot of install. Now we’ve got everything pretty much installed and now it’s just getting more comfortable with everything every day. I felt more comfortable this week than I did in last week’s scrimmage and I’m hoping to say the same thing Saturday. I’m hoping I can take that next step and feel really comfortable with the offense in the spring game.” — senior quarterback Cameron Coffman

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What to take from Wyoming’s first scrimmage of spring drills

Normally after Wyoming football or basketball games I will post my three takes or other observations.

Since the Cowboys’ first scrimmage of spring drills was closed to the public and media Saturday, it’s hard to do that, but I can offer you some stats, quotes and a couple of opinions based off those items.

First, here’s coach Craig Bohl after the scrimmage:

The offense ran for 226 yards — averaged 4.6 yards per carry — and the passing game was 13 of 38 for 136 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Bohl said he liked how sophomore running back Brian Hill ran the ball, but he had only five carries for 15 yards. Sophomore Josh Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans led the Cowboys with 65 and 51 yards, respectively. I would think UW has a good idea of what Hill and senior Shaun Wick can do at running back (Wick had 40 yards on seven carries and lost a fumble).

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3 things to watch for UW’s first spring scrimmage Saturday

Wyoming first scrimmage of spring drills is at 11 a.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, it is closed to the public and media so getting a good perspective from it will be based off the statistics afterwards,and what the coaches and players say.

But when those stats come out, here are three things you should look for.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

1. Quarterback reps: Earlier this week offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said senior Cameron Coffman is the front-runner to be the starter. Not a surprise there. Not only will it be interesting to see his stats, but how many reps/throws will the other four quarterbacks get? One would think the best of the other four quarterbacks will remain in the mix to compete with Coffman and solidifying their names on the depth chart moving forward. But if we see most quarterbacks get, for instance, 20 throws and one or two get five, one would assume they lower down in the pecking order right now.

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Hill continues to draw high praise

No game for Wyoming football this week, but the praise continues for true freshman running back Brian Hill.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

Hill had his third consecutive 100-yard game with 122 yards on 25 carries in the Cowboys’ 20-3 home loss to Utah State last Friday. Hill didn’t lose any yards, and his long run was 18 yards against a Utah State defense that allowed 90 rushing yards per game entering the contest.

“I think what we learned from Friday night is it’s going to take more than one guy to get him down,” offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. “He had some easier opportunities against Fresno State (Hill had 281 yards in that game on Nov. 1), but against Utah State he didn’t have a lot of big runs — just one of 15-plus yards. It took two to three guys to consistently get him to the ground.

“For a guy that has played mostly in the last three games (this season) and to have more than 500 yards rushing in a variety of different ways — tough inside runs and big runs to the outside where he showed his speed — he’s going to have a chance to be real dynamic here. He already has been.”

Hill has 574 yards and an average of six yards per carry this season. He is second on the team with four rushing touchdowns.”

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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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