Three weeks and nine practices in the books for UW spring football

Wyoming football is in the homestretch of spring football with nine of its 15 practices in the books.

The Cowboys’ scrimmage in Casper this past Saturday provided some glimpses of what could be this season, although its difficult to get a great gauge of what to expect this season when a team goes against each other.

Still, it appears that junior quarterback Josh Allen is making good progress in building chemistry with the weapons around him. Allen was relatively sharp in Casper, going 11 of 19 for 133 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to junior wide receiver James Price. However, sophomore wide receivers C.J. Johnson and Austin Conway also looked good.

Here is Allen after the scrimmage:

Earlier this spring, fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl was concerned about the way the tight ends were catching the ball. But in Casper, juniors Josh Harshman, Austin Fort and Tyree Mayfield all showed good skills catching the ball.

As far as the running backs go, I still contend that UW will have more of a three-back attack this fall. Redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet (11 carries 49 yards in the scrimmage) showed some nice speed and power, as did junior Nico Evans (10 carries, 30 yards). Don’t be surprised if sophomore Milo Hall becomes a third-down weapon out of the backfield, both carrying the ball and catching it.

It will be nice once the illness bug that has run through this team finally ends. UW was without its starting center in Casper — sophomore Gavin Rush — due to illness. Backup Boyd Draeger also was out with a concussion. Rush needs as many reps as possible the rest of spring. But I thought junior Cole Turner more than held his own at center in the scrimmage so perhaps some depth is being established there.

UW’s defense had its moments in the scrimmage. Sophomore defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan stood out to Bohl. Junior nose tackle Sidney Malauulu looked good — going mostly against backup — as well with a sack and a fumble recovery.

Casper’s Logan Wilson played only 21 snaps in 70-play scrimmage at middle linebacker, but that was by design to get other younger players some looks. Wilson and sophomore Cassh Malauia should be a solid duo, and it appears senior Jalen Ortiz is establishing himself well at the other outside linebacker spot.

The dismissal of three players, and suspensions of five others earlier this week for a violation of team rules was unfortunate, but it also creates opportunities for others. One player who may benefit the most is sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall. Hall is one of four UW corners who have been getting a lot of reps with the No. 1 defense all spring, but with junior Antonio Hull suspended, don’t be surprised if Hall is the starter coming out of spring along with senior Rico Gafford. Hall isn’t all that big at 5-10, 184 pounds, but he’s tough and has shown good effort most of the spring.

Here is Bohl after the scrimmage:

The Cowboys return to practice Tuesday for their 10th spring practice. They will also practice on Thursday and Saturday. The spring game is set for 2 p.m. April 22.

If you have any questions or comments about the Cowboys, I’d love to hear them. You can post comments on this blog, or shoot me a question via Twitter: @rpgagliardi.
Also, be sure to check out the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net for more UW spring football coverage.

Younger guys get some work as UW prepares for Poinsettia Bowl

Extra practices and and an extra game are some of the benefits of bowl game, especially for younger players.

Wyoming is taking advantage of that as several players in its two deep roster on offense, defense and special teams return next season.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

But it’s also a chance for those who are redshirting and are on the scout teams to get in more reps. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said Tuesday that at the end of some of UW’s practices for the Dec. 21 Poinsettia Bowl that some of the scout team guys will get a chance to scrimmage and get in some live action.

One of those was Monday night, and this is what Bohl said he liked from some of his younger guys.

“I thought (true freshman running back) Mike Green did some good things, along with (true freshman wide receiver) Parker Dumas on offense,” Bohl said. “On defense I liked some things from (true freshman linebacker) Jahmari Moore and (true freshman walk-on defensive end) Garrett Crall.”

Continue reading

Roullier, UW offensive line off to solid start this season

The Wyoming offensive line is off to a solid start through three games of the 2016 season.

Chase Roullier

Chase Roullier

The Cowboys have averaged 216 rushing and 210 passing yards per game, and they’ve allowed just one quarterback sack.

There was some concern prior to the season when UW moved senior all-conference guard Chase Roullier to center, and put in true freshman Gavin Rush at left guard. To say the line play has been perfect would be false, but to say it’s been a weakness would be, too.

UW has started and played the same five guys through the first three games. Along with Roullier and Rush, there is sophomore Zach Wallace (left tackle), sophomore Kaden Jackson (right guard) and junior Ryan Cummings (right tackle).

“Things have gone really well,” Roullier said. “Most of the guys have at least a full year of experience, and that’s really helped us out.”

Continue reading

UW fall camp – practice No. 20

Wyoming practiced once Wednesday for about 1 hour and 10 minutes in War Memorial Stadium. That was planned by coach Craig Bohl, who said the team would lift weights and do some mental work in the afternoon.

UW’s final two-a-day session of fall camp is Thursday. It’s pattern for this was to go with a lighter practice in the morning, and a heavier one in the afternoon. However, Bohl said he will flip-flop that Thursday since Wednesday was a lighter day on the field.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of Wednesday’s practice.

Continue reading

UW fall camp – practice No. 18

Wyoming held its Tuesday morning practice at the North 40 practice fields, and third-year coach Craig Bohl wasn’t happy that UW’s facilities crew watered the grass fields prior to practice, which created a lot of slipping and mis-timing in certain instances.

Here’s what Bohl told the media after practice.

Continue reading

Updated weights to 2016 UW football roster

Wyoming released its latest roster Wednesday night with updated heights and weights. The previous roster UW had out was around late June to early July.

Not a lot changed in terms of heights, but here are some of the more noticeable weight differences.

Player                                      Old Roster                                  New Roster

FB Drew Van Maanen               230                                             241

*LB Cassh Maluia                      210                                             223

*LB Drew Harvey                       210                                             234

^DE Josiah Hall                         232                                              237

*OG Gavin Rush                       285                                              301

Continue reading

UW fall camp – Day 9

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl wasn’t pleased with what he saw from the Cowboys’ practice Wednesday — the 11th of fall camp.

I’ll let you listen to what Bohl had to say about it.

If you watched the entire Bohl video, you heard him say that senior wide receiver Jake Maulhardt and junior fullback Drew Van Maanen didn’t finish practice with “soft tissue issues.” That means hamstring strains. Senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry, junior cornerback Robert Priester and sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard — all starters — have been dealing with the same thing throughout camp and remain out. However, Bohl is optimistic all three will return soon.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Who could play as freshman for UW football in 2016

Fall camp begins Monday for Wyoming football, which consists of 24 practices.

There are lots of questions and storylines going into camp, but one that always intrigues me is who among the newcomers will play.

Last season, 26 true freshmen or redshirt freshmen played for the Cowboys, which was the seventh-most in the country.

Third-year coach Craig Bohl said during Mountain West Football Media Days in late July that he doesn’t expect as many this season, nor does he expect 16 true freshman to see playing time like in 2015.

John Okwoli

John Okwoli

But there will be some true freshmen who play, and Bohl said that three things play factors in that: physical ability, emotional maturity and need at certain positions.

Here are some true freshman Bohl mentioned to me who UW likely will take a hard look at during camp:

WR John Okwoli: The 6-2, 205-pounder from Phoenix was a three-star recruit by ESPN and 247sports.com. He was one of the more highly-touted recruits in UW’s 2016 class. UW looks to be set among its top two receivers in seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt. Redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson had a good spring. UW needs more wide receivers other than Gentry and Maulhardt to step up, and Okwoli could get a chance.

Continue reading

Haug talks UW football recruiting

Gordie Haug is in his first year as Wyoming’s wide receivers coach, but he is in his second year with coach Craig Bohl as the Cowboys’ director of recruiting.

Gordie Haug

Gordie Haug

To date, UW has 10 verbal commitments for its 2016 class — all high school kids. The latest came Tuesday night when kicker Cooper Rothe from Longmont High in Longmont, Colorado, committed via his Twitter account. The 6-foot-, 180-pound Rothe, also plays defensive back and has four interceptions this season, and had nine last season. He is 3 of 4 on field goals this season with a long of 55. He was 4 of 8 last season with a long of 42. Rothe also was offered by Air Force.

UW isn’t a program that normally gets a lot of early verbals, and 10 to this point is the most in nearly 20 years of me covering this beat.

“It’s a pretty comfortable spot,” Haug said. You dont what to have too many at this point because we want those players who see themselves playing at the highest levels who may wait for offers from bigger conferences. When those offers don’t come, we’ve been there through the (recruiting process) and talking to them throughout.

“Nine is about where we want to be. I think we will get a couple more before the season is done. Then in December and January we will close out the class.”

Continue reading