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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Cowboys will showcase several members of its 2015 recruiting class

Not only did second-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl say how many true freshmen will play this season, he listed each player by name.

Those were one of several things Bohl talked about during his Monday news conference in Laramie as UW is in full game week mode for its season-opener Saturday against North Dakota.

Here is the video from the news conference:

Bohl said 13 true freshmen will play, but it is 14 as he didn’t include true freshman walk-on kicker Tristan Bailey, who will handle the extra point and field goal duties this week. Bohl said Bailey earned the job this week through competition, but also said that competition remains open.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

Junior starting punter Ethan Wood was part of that place-kicking competition the last couple of days of fall camp, but hasn’t attempted any in games his first two years at UW. Wood also is competing to handle the kickoff duties, and he described all of that kicking and competition as “exhilarating.”

Added Wood on Bailey: “He handled pressure better than I thought he would. His percentages were better with pressure, that’s great to see going into his first game. (Last Saturday during a scrimmage) he has pressure on every kick, and he made all of his kicks.”

Wood said he’s attempted more of the kickoffs than the other players competing for that job. Wood said will come down to this week to see who does it, but thinks he is the leading candidate.

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UW football fall camp update – Day 17

The grind of preseason practice hasn’t worn down the sense of humor of coach Craig Bohl.
Asked why his team started Thursday’s practice indoors despite a light rain, Bohl drew smiles and laughs.
Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

“We’re soft,” the second-year coach said jokingly.

In reality, Bohl wanted his players focused and not distracted by the precipitation while doing walk-throughs as preparation ramps up for the season opener Sept. 5 against North Dakota.
The team moved outside to the stadium for much of practice, and Bohl said it’s important to practice in poor weather for players to get used to handling wet balls.
Bohl said no new injuries were suffered and the team is getting closer to full strength. 
“We’ll taper back a little bit on contact with half-padded practice (today) and then have a game-like scrimmage on Saturday,” he said. “Usually, on game week we pare way back to make sure we’re fresh and all our bumps and bruises are gone.”

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Thornton making strides at wide receiver

With all the hype of Wyoming five freshmen wide receivers, it was nice to see — and perhaps a little surprising — junior Tom Thornton on the two-deep roster on the latest depth chart released Tuesday.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Thornton was UW’s backup quarterback last season, and was moved to receiver prior to the start of spring drills. Thornton was listed as the backup behind junior Jake Maulhardt at the Cowboys’ ‘X’ receiver spot.

“Any time a guy plays quarterback he has a good understanding of the passing game,” second-year coach Craig Bohl said Tuesday. “The other thing we’ve found through the years is typically quarterbacks have great hand-eye coordination.

“To find a place on the field for Tommy is going to be important. How many meaningful reps he plays is going to be determined by how he does the rest of fall camp.”

Thornton missed some time during fall camp with a concussion, but has been practicing lately.

On a team with a lot of good guys, Thornton is at or near the top of that list. He’s always very friendly and happy. It couldn’t have been easy to make the position change he made, but he has taken it in stride and with great class. It’s hard not to root for a guy like him.

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A look at the first depth chart of spring for Wyoming football

Wyoming released its first depth chart of spring drills Monday. Here is the link to the depth chart:

Will this what it will look like in less than two weeks when spring drills end, or when the Cowboys open the season Sept. 5 against North Dakota?

Some positions, yes. Others, no.

Here is a fairly quick and short breakdown of what I think of this first depth chart:

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Locks: Senior Cameron Coffman at quarterback, senior Shaun Wick and Brian Hill at running back, juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt at wide receiver, junior Jacob Hollister at tight end, sophomore Drew Van Maanen at fullback, junior Chase Roullier at left guard, seniors Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api at defensive end, junior Uso Olive at defensive tackle, junior Lucas Wacha at one of the three linebacker spots (which one is still uncertain) and junior Ethan Wood at punter. I don’t see much movement at any of these spots barring injury.

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UW-Montana notes and quotes

Here are some notes and a few quotes for Saturday’s Wyoming-Montana football game:

–“I think I’ve come far enough, but I wouldn’t say I’m done growing.” — UW senior strong safety and team captain Darrenn White. White was a starter last season, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the sixth game of 2013.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

–When UW coach Craig Bohl was at FCS North Dakota State, his teams didn’t play Montana a lot but came close in two of the last three years in the FCS playoffs where the Bison won three straight FCS national titles. Bohl and many of the staff members he brought with him from North Dakota State to UW scouted Montana plenty. Could that be an advantage for the Cowboys today, and could Montana be at a slight disadvantage not knowing completely what UW will do? “It means a little bit, but we’re not going to do tons of different things that we did at North Dakota State. There will be some new things we do different offensively and defensively to adapt to our personnel here. I’m sure (Montana’s) coaches have taken a look at North Dakota State film. A lot of their guys on their team we tried to recruit (at North Dakota State) so we know a lot about them.”

–Bohl was 7-3 against FBS teams while at North Dakota State. Now he is on the other side of that fence at UW. “A lot of it comes in a point of reference. The years we played a Big Ten school it had some impact. But with (UW and Montana) being bordering states like this, you can throw all the numbers out. This is going to be an excellent game and we’re excited to play it.”

Sam Hardy

Sam Hardy

–“At first I started second-guessing myself if I made the right decision. But as time went on I liked it way more than playing defense.” — UW sophomore offensive guard Sam Hardy, who could start today at right guard, on the move he made from defensive line to offensive line last season.

–Montana junior receiver and return specialist Ellis Henderson is listed as an ‘or’ starter at receiver for the game. Henderson did not do much during fall camp due to an illness. He is one of the Grizzlies’ top big-play threats at receiver and in the return game.

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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 8

Monday marked the eighth day of fall camp for Wyoming, and it will practice twice today.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

But there was some sad news as sophomore punter Ethan Wood will be away from the team for a while because his parents, John and Resia, died in a plane crash over the weekend in Iowa. According to UW’s Facebook page, the Woods’ were coming back from Michigan where they were visiting one of their other sons, Josh, who is an assistant football coach at Michigan Tech.

Woods is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in his first season as UW’s punter last season — and his first punting the ball, period, he averaged 42 yards per punt.

That prompted the return of senior kicker Stuart Williams to camp. Williams was not part of the first week of camp and the 105-man roster so first-year coach Craig Bohl and his staff could look at other guys. Bohl said it was good to have Williams back in camp, and added he made a 55-yard field goal at the end of practice.

Here is more from Bohl after Monday morning’s practice:

Williams is the only punter and kicker available in camp right now. Junior Justin Martin, Williams’ backup at kicker, is out with a sprained ankle.

UW began practice with some 11-on-11 work. Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard — still the probable starter — threw completed a deep ball of 40 or 50 yards to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry. Gentry later made a nice catch along the sideline.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Kirkegaard and sophomore backup Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks that took snaps during that period. Kirkegaard also was wearing a camera attached to his helmet. It was done by UW athletics and footage will likely be posted on its website later today. It has been dubbed “Colby Cam.”

Sophomore cornerback Tim Hayes got drilled on a blitz after a nice block by redshirt sophomore running back D.J. May. Bohl said some new blitzes were introduced Monday, and he liked what he saw. He said it caused the offense some problems.

Senior right tackle Connor Rains was with the No. 1 offense after missing some time with an injury last week. Sophomore left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) is still out, but was at practice watching. Junior Austin Traphagan ran with the No. 1 offense at left tackle.

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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:   Continue reading

UW football fall camp – Day 3

Wednesday was the first day Wyoming put on shoulder pads during fall camp, but its first full-padded practice isn’t until Friday.

The most significant thing the media got to see during the first 30 minutes we are allowed to watch was work on the punt game.

Jordan Stanton

Jordan Stanton

UW worked on a lot of different formations in both is punt and punt block teams. Senior linebacker Jordan Stanton blocked consecutive punts after junior Justin Martin replaced sophomore punter Ethan Wood. Sophomore tight end Jacob Hollister also blocked a punt working with the No. 2 team, and nearly blocked another, and senor linebacker Devyn Harris partially blocked one as well.

Coach Craig Bohl talks about that, and other aspects from practice in this video interview:

Wood handled the majority of the punts. He had a few good kicks, and some not-so-good ones. UW’s pressure was pretty consistent, so that probably didn’t help matters for Wood.

Guys who rotated in and out catching punts included redshirt junior running back D.J. May, senior receivers Dominic Rufran and Jalen Claiborne and redshirt junior cornerback Tyran Finley. Not many guys caught punts as most went out of bounds.

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