UW at Appalachian State postgame thoughts

I feel like I am writing the same things when I do this particular blog post talking about Wyoming’s last football game.

Despite moving the ball, UW couldn’t score. The defense got off to a poor start, but came back and played relatively well.

But a season-high three turnovers resulted in 14 Appalachian State points and a 31-13 Cowboys’ loss. They are now 0-5 for the first time since 1975. They’ve also lost their first five games by double-figures for the first time since 1939.

Yikes!

Here is UW coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Former Cowboy Nevermann now at North Dakota, but not playing this week

Former Wyoming football player Oscar Nevermann is now playing for North Dakota, and ironically, those two teams open the season at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Oscar Nevermann

Oscar Nevermann

Nevermann, who is from Sweden and a junior at UND, came to UW as a running back and was moved to linebacker before he left.

Normally when a player transfers from an FBS school, like UW, to a FCS school, like North Dakota, they can play right away without having to sit out a year. But that’s not the case for Nevermann.

UW coach Craig Bohl and UW sports information director Tim Harkins both said Tuesday that UW athletics has a policy that states if a player transfers to a school that’s on the Cowboys’ schedule the following season, that player must sit out a year.

“That’s standard procedure, and it wasn’t any decision I made,” Bohl said.

Tom Miller, who covers North Dakota football for the Grand Forks Herald, told me via email that Nevermann was in fall camp for UND, and “looked pretty good at running back.” Miller also said that UND folks feel Bohl is being difficult because of the North Dakota-North Dakota State rivalry. As most of you know, Bohl coached at North Dakota State for 11 years from 2003-13 before coming to UW. However, UND and NDSU only played once when Bohl was the NDSU coach, and that was in 2003. North Dakota State made the move from Division II to Division I-AA. North Dakota waited a few years before it made the switch.

I will have a Q&A with Miller later this week about the UW-UND game.

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Smith liked his California experience

Former Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith didn’t have some of the experiences as a couple of his teammates, or others who are eligible for this year’s NFL Draft, which is Thursday through Saturday in New York City.

Smith didn’t play in any of the college all-star games. But that wasn’t his fault. Those games are for college seniors. Smith announced in December he would forego his senior season at UW to enter the draft.

Brett Smith

Brett Smith

Smith also wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, in February. That was more of a surprise to many, including Smith. Former UW receiver Robert Herron and defensive back Marqueton Huff were invited to the combine.

But Smith did work out with EXOS, formerly known as Athletes Performance, in Carlsbad, California over the winter. He worked with renowned trainer Brent Callaway and former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia. Some of the other quarterbacks that trained with Smith were San Jose State’s David Fales, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Washington’s Keith Price.

“I got to see a lot of cool stuff, and I love California,” Smith said. “I grew up going to California every summer with my family, and I missed it a lot. I met a lot of new people and experienced a lot of cool things.”

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Some Wednesday news and notes

It’s that time of year where postings on the blog slow down, but here are few news and notes:

–I will be at spring football practice today in Laramie, at least the first 30 minutes UW allows us to watch. Today is the first practice in full pads and fourth of 15 overall this spring. Will report back later on any big happenings. The first scrimmage of spring is set for a week from today.

–Unfortunate to see true freshman forward Tyrone Marshall will transfer at the end of the semester from the UW men’s basketball team. It’s not unexpected after a posting on his Twitter account a couple of weeks ago all but indicated he would. Hard to miss someone that didn’t do much this season. Marshall played in just nine games and averaged less than a point and a rebound per game. He was raw and athletic, but a lot of seasoning needed to be done. This leaves coach Larry Shyatt with three scholarships in the spring signing season. He needs to find some size.

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Prosinski drafted by Jaguars

Wyoming safety Chris Prosinski was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday.

He was the 121st overall pick.

Some quick notes:

–Prosinski is the first UW player to be drafted since safety John Wendling was taken in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills in 2007.

–Ironically, Prosinski and Wendling are both Wyoming products; Prosinski from Buffalo and Wendling from Rock Springs.

–Prosinski is the highest draft pick from UW since offensive lineman Steve Scifres was taken in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1997.

–The last three players drafted from UW were defensive backs: Prosinski, Wendling and Derrick Martin (Batlimore, 2006).

–Jacksonville has drafted two UW players in its history. The other was running back Ryan Christopherson in the fifth round in 1995.

–According to UW’s football media guide, Prosinski is the 83rd player ever taken in the NFL Draft.

–Current UW players in the NFL, not including Prosinski, are: WR Malcom Floyd (San Diego), DL Mitch Unrein (Denver), DL Corey Mace (Buffalo), OL Adam Goldberg (St. Louis) and Martin (Green Bay).

UW pro timing day highlights

Five former Wyoming football players performed for nine NFL scouts Thursday during UW’s pro timing day at the school’s indoor practice facility.

Defensive backs Chris Prosinski and Marcel Gibson, receiver David Leonard, offensive lineman Sam Sterner and running back Wynel Seldon worked out in front of scouts from the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.

The most anticipated drill was the 40-yard dash, and Prosinski had the fastest time at 4.42 seconds. All times were recorded on hand-held devices.

Prosinski has been training in Orlando, Fla., and said most of his training involved speed work.

“I was happy with that,” said Prosinski of his time.

After the drills, scouts worked extensively with Prosinski and Gipson doing a wide range of skill and agility drills specified for defensive backs. Prosinski was impressive in just about every drill he did.

Gipson said he ran a 4.45-second 40, but added he ran in soccer cleats hoping the lighter shoes would help his time. That wasn’t the case.

“I’ve got to wear the right shoes next time,” said Gipson, who will have another shot at a pro day at UW on March 24.

Seldon played at UW from 2005-08 and is the school’s third-leading rusher with 2,672 yards. When he left UW Seldon played for the Washington Redskins, and has had three different brief stays with the Buffalo Bills, and was last cut prior to the 2010 season.

Seldon currently lives in Dallas and just wants another chance to play in the NFL, whenever that may be with the pending lockout of players coming up at midnight tonight.

“I felt like I was in good shape and executed the drills pretty well,” said Seldon, who ran a 4.53 40. “I wanted to show teams I’m still in shape and ready to go. I wanted to come up here and re-market myself.”

Leonard ran a 4.54 40 and said he liked the chance to out and compete with former teammates. He would like a chance to play at the next level as much as the next guy, but also is trying not to put too much pressure on himself.

“I had a few drops I’d like to have back, but hopefully someone will like what they saw and give me a shot,” he said. “With high pressure on a day like this with scouts and fans watching, you just have to keep your composure and realize it’s just football. This is stuff you’ve been doing for years. You need to believe in your work and believe in your skills.”

Several fans attended the event, along with a lot of current UW players and coaches.

Cowboy Combine concludes

Wyoming held its second annual Cowboy Combine Monday afternoon at the indoor practice facility. Players were tested for the final time before the start of spring drills on Saturday.

Players were tested in the: 40-yard dash, I-drill (tests lateral movement), L-drill (also known as the cone drill), standing broad jump and standing vertical leap.

Coach Dave Christensen won’t release times and distances. As he told me in his office Monday morning: “That’s for our opponents to find out on the field.”

This was the last of five consecutive weeks of testing for UW, and I would estimate there easily was 30 personal-records set by numerous players.

Some quick highlights:

–One of the fastest, if not the fastest player on the team looks to be junior-college safety Luke Anderson from Blinn College in Texas. He had PR-ed in the 40, I-test and L-drill.

“I was the fastest at Blinn and I came in here hoping I would be the fastest here. I’m not going to say I’m the fastest,” Anderson said.

If that kind of speed can translate on the field, Anderson will have a great chance to start at one of the two safety positions vacated by Chris Prosinski, who was a senior last season, and sophomore Shamiel Gary, who left after the season and who is currently a walk-on at Oklahoma State.

–Juniors B.J. Sumter and Kurt Taufa’asua, both transfers from New Mexico Military Institute and were redshirted last season, set PRs in the 40, broad jump and L-drill. Both were brought in to play defensive tackle, but Sumter was moved to offensive line, where he will get a look at guard this spring. Sumter said he played offensive tackle in high school in South Carolina.

–Senior safety Tashaun Gipson had PRs in everything but the vertical jump. Gipson said he’s up to 210 pounds and looks bigger. Last year’s roster listed him at 6-foot, 203 pounds, but Gipson said he played at about 195.

–“The thing I notice the most is the guys that weren’t really competing last year have really stepped up and are showing themselves. Those are the guys you notice coming out of their shells.” — senior defensive end Gabe Knapton.

See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more from the Cowboy Combine, including a couple of key defensive players who have added weight but haven’t lost any speed or skill.

Prosinski plays in NFLPA game

Former Wyoming safety Chris Prosinski played in Saturday’s NFLPA All-Star game, which used to be called the Texas vs. The Nation game.

The two teams were divided into Team Texas and Team Nation, and Prosinski was on Team Texas (why I don’t know). He started at safety and played a lot. I didn’t see him make many plays or tackles, and he missed an open-field tackle that helped spring Miami (Fla.) running back Damien Berry for a 72-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Prosinski also played on some special team units.

Team Texas won 13-7.

Prosinski was the only UW player to receive an invitation to any of the college all-star games. Perhaps playing in this game was a good sign for the Buffalo product based on the fact 95 percent of the players in last year’s game were either drafted or ended up in an NFL training camp.

Perhaps Prosinski’s biggest moment of fame in the game came at the end. Texas Tech QB  Taylor Potts was named the game’s offensive MVP, and when CBS College Sports put his stats up from the game they ran a mug of Prosinski with it by mistake. Any exposure is good exposure, right? LOL

UW high on prep kicker from Washington

The Wyoming football team suffered a blow when it learned sophomore kicker Ian Watts won’t return because of academic reasons.

But the Cowboys are after a high school kicker in Washington who looks to be one of the best in the nation. Looks like they are willing to sign one fewer offensive lineman to get this kid. Here is a link to the story http://tinyurl.com/265fzwh

As far as losing strong safety Shamiel Gary and receiver/tight end David Tooley, UW should be fine there, too.

Gary was good in his two years with the Cowboys. Ninety-plus tackles each of his first two seasons and Freshman All-American honors in 2009. The death of his uncle back in November took its toll on him. Even though I never talked to him there was a sense he wasn’t happy at UW or in Laramie. However, reliable sources are telling me Gary is having a tough time finding another school to play for. I also can tell you grades were not a factor in his departure.

Look for junior-college transfer Luke Anderson to have a great chance to replace Gary. Anderson will be at UW when classes start Monday and will go through spring drills. I also wonder since UW must replace both Gary and free safety Chris Prosinski that if that opens the door more for senior Tashaun Gipson to play safety. UW experimented with him there near the end of the season. Gipson has been a three-year starter at cornerback, but could be a star at safety.

Look for the competition to be fierce at both safety and cornerback positions in spring drills and fall camp.

Hard to miss a guy like Tooley when he didn’t play at all last season. He showed promise late in 2009 as a true freshman. But the knee injury he suffered in the regular-season finale at CSU was devistating and he wasn’t even close to ready when fall camp started in August. Not long after that he was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

UW must replace its top two receivers in David Leonard and Zach Bolger, but nine of the top 10 pass-catchers after that are back. And, don’t be surprised if true freshman Josh Doctson from Masfield, Texas, sees the field this season. He was a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. And if you’re looking for a guy to have a break-out year currently on the UW roster, how about sophomore T.J. Smith. He came on late in the year with eight catches for 175 yards and a touchdown.

All-MWC football team released

Here is the link to the First and Second Team All-Mountain West Conference football team:

http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/113010aac.html

I was fortunate enough to vote on this, and was pretty close to how the two teams turned out.

I put Wyoming junior defensive end Josh Biezuns and junior defensive back Tashaun Gipson on my first team. Biezuns made the second team and Gipson earned honorable mention honors. I put senior safety Chris Prosinski on the second team and that’s where he ended up for the second straight year. I also had junior punter Austin McCoy on the second team, but he was honorable mention.

Air Force had the second-best rushing offense in the nation, yet none of its offensive linemen made the first team. I had junior A.J. Wallerstein on the first team, yet he made the second team.

I voted TCU’s Gary Patterson the coach of the year. San Diego State’s Brady Hoke won the award and it’s hard to argue that after the Aztecs went 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the MWC and will play in their first bowl since 1998. Still, to go undefeated like TCU did for the second straight season is also quite an accomplishment.

There was some discussion among the writers about the Defensive Player of the Year. It went to TCU junior linebacker Tank Carder, who was fourth on his own team in tackles. San Diego State junior linebacker Miles Burris led the league in sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (19). I thought about going with him, but how do you not pick a player on the nation’s top-ranked defense? You could go with any number of guys, but I also went with Carder.

Thoughts?