Allen has a new favorite throw; other UW football notes

Last week, Wyoming redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen’s 27-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry in the fourth quarter against then No. 13 Boise

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

State was his most memorable throw. In fact, Allen told me Monday that at the time, that throw was “the best I’ve made in my life.”

Fast-forward to a week later and Allen has new one.

Allen said the 46-yard touchdown pass he threw to Gentry late in the first half of the Cowboys’ 52-28 win over Utah State moved to the top of his list. Allen scrambled to his left, and the right-hander threw a dart to Gentry who was able to drag his feet in bounds.

“That was a tough throw to make. Maybe nine times out of 10 I don’t make it, but it only needed to be made once,” Allen said.

Allen threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth against Utah State. He was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Logan Wilson was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week. It is the second straight week UW has had the MW Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. Last week it was senior tight end Jacob Hollister and senior nose tackle Chase Appleby.

It also is the third consecutive week UW has had the MW Offensive Player of the Week. On Oct. 24 junior running back Brian Hill got it.

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Wyoming 52, Utah State 28 – postgame thoughts

The first half and fourth quarter were impressive. The third quarter: not so much.

But in the end, Wyoming’s 52-28 home win over Utah State in front of a solid crowd of 17,837 for the late-night kickoff was a good win. The Cowboys won their fifth straight game, improve to 7-2 overall and remain in first place in the Mountain Division of the MW at 5-0.

Here is third-year coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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UW fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming put on the shoulder pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday. The first practice in full pads is set for Friday.

UW did a lot of special teams and one-on-one drills during the early portions of Wednesday’s practice that the media was allowed to watch. Here are some highlights of the action.

Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard (hamstring strain) had been limited during the first two days of camp as a precaution. He was expected to do more at Wednesday’s practice. Junior cornerback Robert Priester (hamstring strain) also has been limited more out of precaution, but still was limited Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Davion Freeman looks to be getting some of the reps with the No. 1 defense in place of Priester. Sophomore Chavez Pownell Jr. has received more reps in place of Wingard.

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Safety shuffle for Cowboys may be slowing down

Three games and three different combinations at the two safety spots for the Wyoming football team.

But when UW (0-3) hosts New Mexico (1-2) in the Mountain West opener for both teams Saturday, it expects to keep the same two starters who played most of the game in last Saturday’s 31-14 loss at Washington State.

Andrew Wingard

Andrew Wingard

True freshman Andrew Wingard is slated to start at free safety, and redshirt freshman walk-on Marcus Epps at strong safety. Wingard made his first-career start Sept. 12 against Eastern Michigan, and he led the Cowboys in tackles at Washington state with 12. Wingard has 24 tackles in the last two games. Wingard played mostly on special teams in UW’s opener against North Dakota on Sept. 5.

Epps started at free safety against North Dakota, and had 11 tackles. He suffered a concussion in that game and missed the Eastern Michigan contest. Epps produced the Cowboys’ first turnover of the season with an interception in the third quarter. Epps also had five tackles and broke up one pass.

The Cowboys had three different starters at strong safety in their first three games. Redshirt freshman Chavez Pownell Jr. started the opener, followed by redshirt freshman walk-on Adam Pilapil against Eastern Michigan.

Marcus Epps

Marcus Epps

UW safeties coach and pass game coordinator Curt Mallory said all four safeties have played both positions during fall camp, and Epps, Pilapil and Pownell did the same during spring drills. Despite the youth, Mallory likes this group and the way it approaches the game.

“All four guys have been competing, and is a fun group to coach because they’re unselfish and want to help one another,” Mallory said. “It’s shown on the field. On the sideline at Washington State Chavez and Adam, even though they weren’t playing, were right in the ears of Marcus and Andrew. That’s maturity, and I’m pleased with that. Marcus and Andrew made some strides for having their second start. I’m encouraged with that.”

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Some final UW spring football notes, quotes and video

Some observations and quotes from Wyoming’s spring football game Saturday in Laramie.

–The hit of the game came in the first half when redshirt freshman free safety Chavez Pownell Jr. drilled junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry over the middle. Pownell was penalized for targeting, which could lead to an ejection in a real game. As a learning lesson, UW coach Craig Bohl had Pownell sit the rest of the game.

Tanner Gentry

Tanner Gentry

“I looked up for the ball and he made a really good hit,” Gentry said. “He put his helmet right in my chest. It didn’t feel too good, but he made a good play on the ball and it was a good hit. There was nothing dirty about it.”

Gentry was shaken up on the play, but he came back and played the second half. He led the Gold team with five catches for 62 yards.

Added Pownell: “The quarterback was looking down Tanner, I knew the post was coming so I ended up breaking on the play and it was just football after that. We did all this hard work during the spring and winter conditioning so I just wanted to play.”

–Gentry was one of only three wide receivers who caught passes in the spring game for either team. Junior Jake Maulhardt sat out with a sprained shoulder. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do, for sure,” Gentry said. “We definitely have to get better. I feel like we progressed pretty well this spring. We have to have a great summer.”

UW has four true freshmen receivers that join the team this summer.

Here is Bohl talking with the media after the spring game.


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Pownell Jr. looking to make impact for Cowboys this season

Chavez Pownell Jr. came close to playing last season at safety for Wyoming.

But in the end, coach Craig Bohl and the staff decided to keep the redshirt on Pownell to get him ready for the 2015 season.

Chavez Pownell Jr.

Chavez Pownell Jr.

“It all worked out in the end. Whatever coach Bohl said I know it’s for the best,” Pownell said.

Pownell is the only safety on scholarship on the roster right now for the Cowboys. After last Saturday’s first spring scrimmage, he was listed as the starter at strong safety — ahead of redshirt freshman walk-on Marcus Epps.

Pownell had six tackles in that first scrimmage — the second-most among all defensive players. His four solo stops tied for the second-most.

“It makes me feel good, but you never know what can happen,” Pownell said. “Me, (redshirt freshman walk-on Adam Pilapil) and Marcus are all about at the same skill level. We have to make sure we’re grinding every day.”

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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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UW fall camp – Day 18

The schedule says Thursday was practice No. 22 of fall camp, but as senior quarterback Sam Stratton led the team break after stretching, he said it was the start of game week preparation for the Aug. 30 opener against Montana.

And, there was some evidence of that as true freshmen quarterbacks Nick Smith and Austin Fort wore No. 10 jerseys — the same as Montana senior quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Either way, UW practiced in shoulder pads and shorts in War Memorial Stadium.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

Sophomore punter Ethan Wood was back for the first time since his parents were killed in a plane crash Aug. 9. Prior to practice Wood and senior Stuart Williams did some punting. There was no punt rush or anything like that. However, Wood looked pretty good as he got some good height and distance on many of his at or near his own end zone. Wood drew some praise from first-year coach Craig Bohl.

UW started practice with some 11-on-11 work. There was not a lot of big plays by the offense, but redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard threw a nice, medium-ranged pass to senior receiver Jalen Claiborne along the sideline. Kirkegaard was accurate throughout the drill. Sophomore Tom Thornton, Kirkegaard’s backup, was the only other quarterback to take snaps in the drill.

The Cowboys rotated guys along the offensive line. Sophomore guard Sam Hardy took snaps at both the left and right side. Junior Jake Jones did as well. Sophomore Chase Roullier also took some snaps at center, as did sophomore Jacob English.

Here is what Bohl said after practice:


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UW fall camp – Day 17

Special teams took center stage during Wyoming’s 21st practice and 17th day of fall camp Wednesday morning in cool and breezy conditions at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

UW worked on things such as field-goal return, punting out of the end zone and kickoffs during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. First-year coach Craig Bohl also said the team worked on other special situations like when to take a safety and onside kicks.

One might ask about field-goal return? Remember the Alabama-Auburn game last year where Auburn returned a missed field goal for a touchdown to win the game?

Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice:


Bohl during one of North Dakota State’s three consecutive FCS national title games, Sam Houston State had a returner back in case of a missed field goal.

Blair Burns

Blair Burns

Senior cornerback Blair Burns was the return man for UW during that period. During the punt drill, where the Cowboys punted out of their own end zone, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne was the return man.

Speaking of punting, Bohl said sophomore punter Ethan Wood will return to Laramie Wednesday night. Wood’s parents were killed in a plane crash on Aug. 9, and the funeral was last Friday.

At the end of practice, Bohl said the team had some fun and had a few of the offensive and defensive linemen try to field onside kicks. Sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby, the media was told, showed some good hands.

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UW fall camp – Day 9

Once again, Wyoming started its ninth day and 11th practice of fall camp Tuesday with some 11-on-11 work as the team practiced in full pads. It was all passes by the offense, and it looked like the defense took a look at some different blitz packages.

DeAndre Jones

DeAndre Jones

Senior cornerback DeAndre Jones had a good session. He broke up a deep pass from redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry deep down the field. Later, Jones jarred the ball loose from sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt on a short pass over the middle.

The defense had the advantage over the offense for the most part, and it looked like at times the quarterbacks had issues with getting the play off before the play clock expired. Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough had two sacks — although quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Troy Boyland had a sack, and senior defensive end Sonny Puletasi had an athletic pass break-up in pass coverage.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

Per usual, Kirkegaard and sophomore Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks to take snaps during this period. All indications are that Kirkegaard still has a firm grasp of the starting job, and Thornton is the backup.

UW mixed and matched a few offensive linemen in with the No. 1 offense at times. Sophomore Sam Hardy played some at guard and redshirt freshman Kurtis Stirneman played a few snaps at left tackle. Sophomore starter Nathan Leddige remains out with a concussion. Most of the snaps there went to junior Austin Traphagan.

True freshman cornerback Robert Priester and true freshman safety Chavez Pownell Jr. got some reps with the No. 2 defense.

Here is what first-year coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s practice:


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