Thoughts on QB Thompson leaving UW for Utah

First it was Brett Smith, now it’s Jason Thompson.

Wyoming has lost its top two quarterbacks heading into the 2014 season. Smith declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft on the final Friday of 2013. On the first Tuesday of 2014, Thompson transferred to Utah.

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

Thompson, who would have been a redshirt sophomore this season, wasn’t guaranteed the job for first-year coach Craig Bohl. But he was the most experienced player on the roster having played six games and starting one in 2012. He redshirted in 2013 to hone his quarterbacking skills.

Is it ironic that Thompson is going to Utah where his former coach — Dave Christensen — if the offensive coordinator? Probably not. To think that didn’t play a factor would be naive.

In fact, Christensen was officially introduced as Utah’s offensive coordinator Tuesday. Here are some links to what he said, and some stories by the fine folks at The Salt Lake Tribune.
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UW’s Smith declares for NFL Draft

Talk about a bombshell of news.

Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith announced Friday night that he will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Smith is the third UW player in the “modern era” to do this. Cornerback Derrick Martin did it after his junior season in 2005. Martin, at the time, said he was projected to be a third or fourth-round draft pick. He went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Ravens. Since then he has played for eight years for five different teams and is currently with the Chicago Bears. Martin has had the most success playing on special teams.

Running back Alvester Alexander did so after his junior season of 2011. He has been on practice squads of a couple of NFL teams, most recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. He has yet to have a carry in a NFL regular-season game.

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VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic: Jason Gesser

This is the ninth of a 10-part series of video interviews with University of Wyoming football coaches, and how they teach and coach certain aspects of the game. This one features quarterbacks coach Jason Gesser

Gesser has UW quarterbacks Jason Thompson, Colby Kirkegaard, Tommy Thornton and walk-on T.J. Patterson go through a few different drills.

Check back to this blog and next week for the final installment of this video series.

UW ready for heat, humidity of Nebraska

No. 18 Nebraska poses plenty of challenges on the field for the University of Wyoming football team Saturday.

And so does the weather.

The forecast for Lincoln, Neb., Saturday is a high of 98 degrees with 58 percent humidity. By the time the game kicks off at 7 p.m. local time, the temperature should be cooler but probably in the mid to high 80s.

UW has played in hot and humid conditions in the past: last year and 2010 at Texas, and in 2009 at Florida Atlantic. The Cowboys handled the heat and humidity well then, and coach Dave Christensen doesn’t think it will be an issue Saturday, either.

“It will be the same program we have used every year,” Christensen said. “The humidity hasn’t been an issue for us yet, so we don’t imagine it will be too much of a problem Saturday night.”

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UW football brings show to Cheyenne

Wyoming’s football team used one of its practices to prepare for its season-opener a week from today at No. 18 Nebraska to show the fans in Cheyenne what it has.

Wyoming sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker Siaosi Hala'api'api signs the short of a young fan after the Cowboys practiced at Cheyenne Central High Saturday afternoon. The event was dubbed "Cowboys in the Capital."/Photo by Blaine McCartney, Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker Siaosi Hala’api’api signs the short of a young fan after the Cowboys practiced at Cheyenne Central High Saturday afternoon. The event was dubbed “Cowboys in the Capital.”/Photo by Blaine McCartney, Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Dubbed as the “Cowboys in the Capital,” UW practiced for about two hours at Cheyenne Central’s Riske Field. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people attended the event. Players and coaches signed autographs after practice.

It was a good outreach effort by UW, and one of the first major efforts from the football program in quite some time. It makes sense to come to Cheyenne as it has more than 8,000 UW alumns living there.

Jackson Gray, 3, shows University of Wyoming of Wyoming running back Brandon Miller how hold he his before having his football signed by him after the Cowboys finished practice Saturday afternoon at Riske Field in Cheyenne. The Cowboys will open the season on the road against No. 18 Nebraska a week from Saturday. Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Jackson Gray, 3, shows University of Wyoming of Wyoming running back Brandon Miller how hold he his before having his football signed by him after the Cowboys finished practice Saturday afternoon at Riske Field in Cheyenne. The Cowboys will open the season on the road against No. 18 Nebraska a week from Saturday. Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

“I looked up in the stands at one time and I said ‘holy cow, this place is packed,’ ” coach Dave Christensen said. “There were lines everywhere. It was great.”

The players also seemed to enjoy it.

“It was neat to practice in front of an atmosphere like this,” junior quarterback Brett Smith said. “I expected it. There is a lot of passion for Wyoming football in this sate, and it is always great to play in front of the Wyoming fans. I think this was kind of an ego boost for everybody.”

Added junior conrerback Blair Burns:  “It’s great to come out an show them what we are made of. It was a great opportunity to practice in front of fans. Next week we are going to be playing in front of 90,000. Maybe next year we ill take it around the state.”

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UW’s offensive depth chart for Nebraska

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen will release his first depth chart of the season Monday.

But I thought I would take a shot of predicting how it will look now, starting with the offense. Look for the defense and special teams to come later this weekend. As always, I welcome your comments, thoughts and questions.



Brett Smith, Jr., 6-3, 206

Jason Thompson, So., 6-2, 206

Colby Kirkegaard, Sr., 6-3, 205

Tommy Thornton, Fr., 6-1, 205

Notes: There was never a doubt Smith would be the starter. In three fall camp scrimmages Smith was 39-55 for 553 yards with nine TDs and one INT. … Thompson also had a solid camp. He was 33-49 for 440 yards with four TDs and two INTs. … There was good competition at the No. 3 spot. I give Kirkegaard the edge based on his experience, but it would not surprise me if Thornton is No. 3 on Monday.

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UW football fall camp: Practice 17

Wyoming junior starting quarterback Brett Smith was at practice Tuesday morning, but he didn’t do much.

Smith missed Monday’s workouts with flu-like symptoms. Smith participated in some individual drills, but didn’t take part in any of the team periods. Sophomore backup Jason Thompson replaced Smith for the second consecutive day.

Brett Smith

Brett Smith

“Not very good,” said Smith when I asked him how he felt after practice Tuesday. He said he had the flu and also an ear infection, which caused him to feel dizzy at times during practice. I would be surprised if Smith participates in Wednesday’s scrimmage, which marks the end of fall camp.

When asked what he is doing to get better, Smith said: “Medicine and rest.”

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UW fall football camp: Practice 15

There was a significant absence during Wyoming Monday morning practice: junior starting quarterback Brett Smith.

“He was driving in this morning and had to pull over and throw up,” said coach Dave Christensen, who added that Smith had flu-like symptoms. “We sent him to see a doctor. If it is contagious we don’t want him to give it to the rest of the team.

“I talked to him at 10:30 last night. He called me and woke me up at home to tell me how excited he was. He was’t sick then.”

Sophomore backup Jason Thompson took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense. His first pass during an 11-on-11 drill was intercepted by junior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Later during a 7-on-7 drill, Thompson was intercepted by true freshman free safety Xavier Lewis in a ball that was tipped by a receiver on a high throw from Thompson.

“It was just another day to come out and get better,” Thompson said. “There was nothing different scheme-wise, but just getting on the same page with the rest of the guys. It was kind of tough playing with a different group ,but it got better near the end.”

For more on Thompson, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to

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UW football fall camp: Day 7

Coaches get a better feel for a practice or scrimmage after watching film. After Monday’s morning practice coach Dave Christensen said a few things stood out after watching the film of Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

–Christensen was impressed with the plays made by junior Tyran Finley, both at cornerback and returning punts. Finley, a junior-college transfer this summer, returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. The interception was thrown by junior starter Brett Smith

–He thought all of the quarterbacks managed the offense well. Smith and sophomore backup Jason Thompson got most of the reps, and had most of the production. Combined they were 39-of-49 for 529 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.

–Christensen liked the play of the starting offensive line.

–Defensively, Christensen  wants to see more pressure on the quarterback and for the unit to get off the field. There were only two three-and-outs during the scrimmage.

Here is some video highlights during a team period during Monday morning’s practice.

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UW scrimmage news and notes




Want another Wyoming wide receiver to talk about?

How about senior Jarrod Darden.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior who transferred from Colorado but is eligible this season

Jarrod Darden

Jarrod Darden

because he graduated from CU in the spring, caught three passes for 95 yards and a touchdown working with the No. 2 offense during Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

His TD catch was 46 yards, and he had a nice one-handed catch for 40 yards later on. All of his catches came from sophomore backup quarterback Jason Thompson.

“They have me in the slot, which I haven’t played before, and this is a new kind of offense for me,” Darden said. “I played in more of a pro-style offense at Colorado, but I like this offense a lot.”

Darden said he transferred from Colorado because he went through three coaching changes in four years, and he was simply “tired of it.”

Darden said he looked for schools that threw the ball a lot, and UW fit the description.

“At Colorado I was burried on the depth chart and a new coach was coming in. I wanted to go a school that wanted me and could use me. Right now I feel like I can contribute. If I keep making plays, hopefully they can use me.

“This is the best I felt during camp in a while. I am getting feedback and reps. I will enjoy this day, but our first two-a-days are Monday so I can’t enjoy it for long before it is time to get back to work.”

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