Wyoming first practice of the final week of fall camp was Monday morning in War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys will practice twice Monday, with the second one at 3:50 p.m.
Monday is the 14th straight day UW has practiced since the start of fall camp, and Monday afternoon’s work out will be its 20th.
The Cowboys had their full collection of running backs. Senior Shaun Wick (concussion), sophomore Josh Tapscott (illness) and redshirt freshman Nico Evans (hamstring) all practiced, as did sophomore Brian Hill, who didn’t play in last Saturday’s scrimmage due to a tight hamstring.
Here are some highlights from the early portions of practice.
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.
“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.
Here are the combined stats from Wyoming’s first two scrimmages of spring drills, along with some quick thoughts.
UW’s spring game is at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25 in Laramie.
Rushing: Tapscott 25-177, Evans 21-182 2TD, Wick 12-81 1TD, Hill 14-64. Thoughts: UW know what senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill can do. Sophomore Josh Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans gives UW good depth. Easily the strongest position on the team.
Passing: Coffman 13-27 133 1TD, Allen 6-17 134 1TD, 1INT, Smith 5-12 25 1TD, 1INT, Young 2-10 15. Thoughts: The completion percentage needs to improve for all the quarterbacks. Both scrimmages have emphasized the run more than the pass.
Receiving: Maulhardt 8-110, Gentry 5-82 1TD, Hollister 5-44 1TD, Mayfield 4-52, Lewis 2-15 1TD, Ellis 2-6, Parker 1-9, Tapscott 1-6. Thoughts: Juniors Jake Maulhardt and Tanner Gentry continue to show they are the Cowboys’ top two wide receivers, but only true freshman Joe Parker has caught a pass in the two scrimmages among the other wide receivers. Junior tight end Jacob Hollister will be a threat in the pass game.
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:
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.
Wyoming first scrimmage of spring drills is at 11 a.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, it is closed to the public and media so getting a good perspective from it will be based off the statistics afterwards,and what the coaches and players say.
But when those stats come out, here are three things you should look for.
1. Quarterback reps: Earlier this week offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said senior Cameron Coffman is the front-runner to be the starter. Not a surprise there. Not only will it be interesting to see his stats, but how many reps/throws will the other four quarterbacks get? One would think the best of the other four quarterbacks will remain in the mix to compete with Coffman and solidifying their names on the depth chart moving forward. But if we see most quarterbacks get, for instance, 20 throws and one or two get five, one would assume they lower down in the pecking order right now.
Three years ago, Jacob Hollister was a quarterback — and a pretty good one.
Hollister was an all-state pick at Mountain View High in Bend, Oregon and started his career as a walk-on quarterback at Nevada in 2012. At 6-foot-4 and around 200 pounds back then, Hollister had the makings to be a good one at the college level.
Fast-forward to now, and Hollister looks to be a good tight end for the Wyoming Cowboys.
“He’s been fantastic and is going to be a really good players for us,” UW tight ends coach Shane LaDage said.
After his short stay at Nevada, Hollister transferred to Arizona Western Community College where he switched from quarterback to tight end. In one season there, he caught 10 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
When coach Craig Bohl and his staff was hired at UW prior to last season, Bohl brought with him a pro-style offense that uses tight ends — both in the run and pass game. The Cowboys were a spread offense prior to Bohl’s arrival with no tight ends.
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.
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.
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.
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.