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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Makransky taking advantage of opportunities this spring at CB

After signing day in February of 2014, cornerback Anthony Makransky was home in Friendswood, Texas, still looking for a place to play college football.

Anthony Makransky

Anthony Makransky

Through the aid of a recruiting service, his highlight tape ended up at Wyoming. Makransky came to Laramie as a walk-on, and less than a year later, he is listed as a starter for the Cowboys heading into its second spring scrimmage at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“He’s definitely a competitor. He pays attention to detail and doing all the little things right,” UW cornerbacks coach John Richardson said. “We’re focusing this year doing the things that take no effort correctly, and he’s doing those things in terms of running to the football and attempting to make plays. We’re looking at guys willing to compete day in and day out, and he’s doing those thins. He’s shown up very impressively so far.”

Makransky had two tackles and broke up one pass in UW’s first scrimmage last Saturday. Right now, he’s ahead of redshirt freshman C.J. Jennings — who is on scholarship — on the depth chart.

“I was so happy, but at the same time, (safeties coach Curt Mallory) and coach Richardson preach open competition,” Makransky said. “Every single day is a grind. Every single day you have to have the same intensity and attention to detail.”

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UW spring football notes and quotes

Wyoming is nearly one-third of the way through spring practice. Here are a few notes and quotes that haven’t made this blog yet, or any of the other stories I’ve done to this point.

Seth Edeen

Seth Edeen

–UW coach Craig Bohl said sophomore defensive end Seth Edeen, a walk-on from Cheyenne and graduate of Cheyenne Central, had a good offseason and added about 15 pounds over the winter. During early walk-throughs from the first few practices, Edeen has been rotating in with some of the regular guys such as seniors Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Another guy rotating in is redshirt freshman Jonathan Kongbo. For more on him, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Josh Tapscott

Josh Tapscott

–To no one’s surprise, Bohl said senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill have stood out as UW’s top two running backs this spring. But as the Cowboys look for depth behind those two, the competition appears to be going well. “We’re probably the closest in terms of being friends. The competition level we have allows us to push other so much that it’s crazy. Nobody is going to get mad at each other. Everyone is pushing each other to be the best we can be as a position group.” — sophomore running back Josh Tapscott.

— “I’ll put my momma’s house on it that our defense is going to be ready to play,” senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. “One thing people overlook, we had a lot of seniors  go down and had a lot of young guys play. I’m definitely excited and confident that our guys are going to play well.”

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UW spring football roundup – Day 1

It was back to work Monday for the Wyoming football team as it held its first of 15 spring practices.

UW used both its indoor facility and War Memorial Stadium for its workout, which lasted a little more than two hours. Players will be in shorts and helmets for the first two practices. They won’t be in full pads until the third practice on Saturday.

Here are some highlights from the first practice. Media is allowed to stay for only the first 30 minutes.


A few points of observation from Day 1:

–UW did some walk-through work prior to the start of practice and the guys who got most of the reps with the No. 1 offense along the offensive line were sophomore Ryan Cummings (left tackle), junior Chase Roullier (left guard), sophomore Charlie Renfree (center), redshirt freshman Richard Bettencourt (right guard) and sophomore Taylor Knestis (right tackle). Another who got in some work on the left side was sophomore tackle Kurtis Stirneman.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

–Senior Cameron Coffman always seemed to be the first guy when the quarterbacks did individual drills, and he also worked with the No. 1 offense the most of the other four guys. What that means this early in spring is debatable, but I still believe he is the guy to beat in terms of UW’s starting quarterback.

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Three concerns for Wyoming football heading into spring drills

Are you ready for some football?

Wyoming is, and it starts spring drills Monday. It will be culminated by its spring game on Saturday, April 25.

I will have an analysis piece and feature in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and also at wyosports.net with more on UW spring football in terms of things to watch, etc.

But for now, here are my top three concerns for the Cowboys heading into spring:

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

1. Linebacker: Other than junior Lucas Wacha, there really isn’t much experience at any of the three linebacker spots. Senior Malkaam Muhammad returns, but even though he’s played in 17 games over his career, it mostly has been on special teams. Players and coaches have raved about Wacha this offseason, and he’s up to about 218 pounds now compared to 205 last season. Wacha will be the middle linebacker this season, and 218 pounds is awful small for that position. However, Wacha has shown that size doesn’t always matter for him as he’s been productive over his first two seasons along the outside. Muhammad must show he can play consistently well. Several players have switched positions and moved to linebacker. I think one of the outside spots will be secured by

Will Tutein

Will Tutein

junior Will Tutein, who moved over from safety. Tutein played more of a linebacker in UW’s final game against New Mexico last season, and he has good athletic ability to play there. Also will be curious to see how junior Eric Nzeocha makes the transition from receiver/tight end to linebacker. The brother of former UW linebacker Mark Nzeocha, Eric has some good natural ability and athleticism. How he makes the transition from offense to defense will be interesting. If I had to guess right now, those would be the three guys I think would be the starters coming out of spring.

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UW fall camp – Day 19

It was breezy and cool for Wyoming’s 23rd practice of fall camp Friday morning, and it was one of the longer practices as it was scheduled to go for about two-and-a-half hours

The team was in full pads.

Tim Hayes

Tim Hayes

The defense had a walk-through prior to practice with the back seven in what looked to be nickel situations. Sophomore Tim Hayes saw the most time as the nickel defensive back. There were no significant personnel changes. True freshman Robert Priester and redshirt junior Tyran Finley worked with the No. 2 defense at cornerback. Redshirt freshman Tim Kamana and sophomore Xavier Lewis were the safeties with the No. 2 defense.

UW worked on punting early in practice. Sophomore Ethan Wood and senior Stuart Williams both had some good punts. Even true freshman walk-on Pierce Royster had a nice one. First-year coach Craig Bohl said Wood has done a good job since returning to practice Thursday punting the ball, and also likes how Williams has done kicking field goals.

Here is Bohl after practice:


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VIDEO: UW’s three freshmen defensive backs from Florida ready to play

Here is a video interview with Wyoming true freshmen defensive backs C.J. Jennings, Robert Priester and Chavez Pownell Jr. — all from Florida — taken during the team’s media day on Monday, Aug. 4.

For more on their story and plans for the 2014 season, see Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

UW fall sports media day in the books

Wyoming’s fall sports media day was held Monday afternoon at the Wildcatter Club & Suites atop Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Coaches from football, cross-country, women’s soccer and volleyball spoke to a large crowd of media and fans. Later, football players were made available in the indoor practice facility due to thunderstorms outside.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

First-year football coach Craig Bohl was the guy most came to listen to, and he didn’t disappoint. Although he knows the challenges ahead, it was hard to leave there not feeling good about this team and the future of UW football.

Bohl has talked a lot about being “Cowboy Tough” and bringing that back to the program. He spoke about that Monday, but said it’s time to show that on the field.

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Thoughts of UW football depth chart entering fall camp

Wyoming released its football depth chart prior to the start of fall camp, which begins Monday.

There wasn’t much change from this depth chart compared to the one that was released in April after spring drills.

Dominic Rufran

Dominic Rufran

Senior receiver Dominic Rufran was listed in the most updated depth chart as the starter at one of the two receiver spots. Rufran missed spring drills recovering from a broken foot suffered during winter workouts, and was not listed on the depth chart coming out of spring. But as the team’s leading returning receiver, and with a chance to be among the top five all-time at UW in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns with a solid season in 2014, it is no surprise Rufran is a starter.

There is only one fullback listed in redshirt freshman Drew Van Maanen. Sophomore Brandon Lukenbill, a walk-on, did not return after school ended in May. First-year coach Craig Bohl said some true freshmen walk-ons will get looks at full back in fall camp.

Speaking of true freshmen, none of those guys that came in this summer are listed on the latest depth chart. How many will make it into the two-deep by the time UW hosts Montana Aug. 30  will be interesting.

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