Wyoming 28, Hawaii 21 OT – postgame thoughts

It wasn’t always pretty, in fact, it was ugly more often than not, but Wyoming’s 28-21 overtime win over Hawaii Saturday night was big because I got the sense if UW had lost that game it would have been very tough to recover from, despite eight more regular-season games to play.

It doesn’t mean that UW will go on a long winning streak now, although anything is possible. But to me, the way the Cowboys persevered though the game to get a win showed a lot of grit and toughness.

Here are the late-game highlights, including the game-winning plays in overtime:

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 20

The biggest news coming from Tuesday’s practice was that junior wide receiver James Price will miss the next six weeks with a broken left clavicle suffered in last Saturday’s scrimmage.

James Price

Price’s left arm was in a sling as he watched practice in War Memorial Stadium. UW worked out in full pads. Price was listed as a starter, and was emerging as a leader among the Cowboys’ wide receivers.

According to the depth chart UW released late Monday afternoon, sophomore John Okowli is Price’s backup. Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said true freshman Jared Scott, at 6-6, 230 pounds, also is expected to see more playing time.

Here is Bohl after Tuesday’s practice:

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 19

The Cowboys began their final week of fall camp with a Monday morning practice on the practice fields just south of War Memorial Stadium.

UW held a 100-plus play scrimmage last Saturday, which fourth-year coach Craig Bohl described as “good.” Bohl said junior quarterback Josh Allen made some “good decisions.” The scrimmage was not open to the media, and no stats were kept.

Here is Bohl after Monday’s practice with more on the scrimmage and other UW football news:

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 13

The second half of fall camp for the Cowboys started Monday morning as they practiced in full pads in War Memorial Stadium.

Austin Fort

Injury-wise, fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said junior tight end Austin Fort of Gillette will have an MRI on his knee Monday. Fort hurt his right knee in a non-contact drill Friday. He watched Monday’s practice wearing a large brace on the knee.

“We think he is okay, and the initial response was positive with some improvement over the weekend,” Bohl said. “We’ll get more information, but Austin has had a great fall camp. We are at the point now where we have experienced tight ends and more depth.”

Fort and junior Josh Harshman of Casper entered fall camp as tied atop the depth chart, with junior Tyree Mayfield not far behind. Fort played only three offensive snaps last season — his first in making the transition from quarterback to tight end.

Here’s Bohl after practice:

 

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 11

The Cowboys worked out in War Memorial Stadium Friday morning in shorts, helmets and “spider” pads — a step down from regular shoulder pads.

UW did some special teams work, and sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe attempted field goals at various spots on the field. Rothe did a solid job in the intermediate ranges. Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said UW also did some two-minute work and he liked what he saw from the defense.

As far as individual players from Friday’s practice, Bohl said sophomore defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan, junior wide receiver James Price and true freshman center Logan Harris of Torrington caught his eye.

Bohl on Harris: “He’s really emerging, and for a freshman that’s a difficult task. He has a great demeanor and good strength. Nothing’s finalized, but we’re taking a hard, hard look at him as our center.”

Here is Bohl after practice:

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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.

Hill inching closer to UW’s career rushing record

Wyoming junior running back Brian Hill needs 74 yards to pass Devin Moore (2005-08) and become the Cowboys’ career rushing leader. Hill enters Saturday night’s Border War at Colorado State with 2,890 yards in 28 games.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

To put that in some perspective, Moore needed 44 games and broke the mark in UW’s last game of the 2008 season against … you guessed it, Colorado State. The Cowboys hope Hill breaks the record Saturday, and then some. They also hope for a better outcome than Moore experienced. UW lost that 2008 game at Colorado State 31-20.

Hill first must pass Ryan Christopherson (1991-94) for second place, but needs only 17 yards to do that. The last time a UW running back broke the school’s career rushing record on the road was Gerald Abraham (1984-87) in the Cowboys’ regular-season finale at Hawaii. Abraham broke the mark with 2,278 yards. That’s now sixth in school history.

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UW beats Northern Illinois 40-34 in 3OT; what we learned

The No. 1 think I learned from watching Wyoming beat Northern Illinois 40-34 in triple overtime: You  never know what to expect covering college football.

A game that was supposed to start at 8:30 p.m. didn’t start until 10:20 p.m. due to severe weather with a lot of rain and lightning. The lightning was what delayed the game. After redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen’s 7-yard TD run to win he game in the third overtime, it was 2:35 a.m. Sunday when the game ended.

Here are the highlights of UW’s game-winning drive, capped by Allen’s run, and of Northern Illinois kicker Christia Hagen missing a 38-yard field goal in that third overtime.

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Conway, Okwoli having good camps at WR for Cowboys

Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of proven depth at the wide receiver spot behind seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt.

Redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson had a good spring, and continues to be solid in fall camp and figures to be in the mix behind Gentry and Maulhardt. Same is true for sophomores Joe Parker and James Price.

Two more guys may be getting into the mix as well — redshirt freshman Austin Conway and true freshman John Okwoli.

Gentry has been out with a strained hamstring, which has given Conway and Okwoli more chances for reps with he No. 1 offense during camp. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s morning practice both Conway and Okwoli have “exceeded expectations” so far in fall camp.

Here’s more from Bohl on Tuesday’s practice.

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Grant talks about UW’s wide receivers

New Wyoming wide receivers coach Mike Grant hit the ground running when he was hired back in late January.

Mike Grant

Mike Grant

Grant has 22 years of experience as a college coach, and was on Nebraska’s staff as a graduate assistant when current UW coach Craig Bohl was an assistant with the Cornhuskers.

Grant has two veteran receivers to work with in seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt, and has liked what he’s seen from both so far this spring, and even going back to winter workouts.

I asked Grant about UW’s young receivers, and here’s what he said about sophomores James Price and Justice Murphy, along with redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson. Here’s what he said.

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