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.

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UW vs. UNLV football preview: Notes, quotes and video

My top key for Wyoming Saturday in its season-finale football game against UNLV:

Balanced offense: Wyoming needs to run the ball, but it also needs to get the pass game going. A big reason why the Cowboys have scored 10 points over their last two games is that the production through the air hasn’t been there. The weather will be cold and more geared toward running the ball, but UW can’t be one dimensional and must make some plays throwing the ball.

Here are more keys in my preview video:

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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.”

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Notes from UW spring practice No. 6

It didn’t appear that Wyoming’s sixth practice of spring drills was a walk in the park, even though the Cowboys have their first scrimmage of the spring at 11 a.m. Saturday.

UW practiced Friday in full pads, and went for a little more than two hours.

Seth Edeen

Seth Edeen

It was good to see sophomore defensive end and Cheyenne Central graduate Seth Edeen at practice. He was just watching, but he was there. On Monday, he took a hit to his side and after practice had some blood in his urine. A couple of tests later it was discovered Edeen was born without his right kidney, and also has a cyst on top of his pancreas.

Edeen is out for the rest of spring, and will have more medical procedures done in the coming weeks. For more on Edeen, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

UW had a walk-through at the beginning of practice with its run game. Senior Cameron Coffman took most of the reps, but the other four quarterbacks participated in the walk-through.

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Spring practice important for trio of UW wide receivers

Wyoming has held only one of its 15 spring practices, with the second and third workouts coming Friday and Saturday.

All are important for the team, but perhaps none more for three receivers who hope to see the field this season.

It’s safe to assume that juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt will play. They are the Cowboys’ leading returning receivers as both combined for 53 catches for 709 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Their roles will change this season, and there will be more on that down the road.

But for junior Tanner Simpson of Lander, senior Justin Berger and true freshman Joe Parker, the next month will be their chances to see if they have what it takes to have a role on the field this season.

Kenni Burns

Kenni Burns

“You don’t always have to be a big play-maker all the time,” UW receivers coach Kenni Burns said. “You can be a guy that goes in and spells a guy for 10 or 15 plays a game. A guy that knows what he’s doing and competes at a high level, like (senior) Keenan Montgomery did for us last season.”

“A guy that knows his role and knows his limitations of what he can or can’t do. I think Tanner’s gravitated to that a little bit, along with Justin.”

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A look at position battles for UW heading into fall camp

Fall camp begins Monday for Wyoming football, and a lot needs to be figured out prior to the season-opener Aug. 30 against Montana.

But in terms of position battles, things likely will be relatively quiet.

UW’s depth chart prior to fall camp lists three positions that are “or” in terms of the starter. But no matter who the starter is, let’s make one thing clear: both guys at those positions will play — and need to play. All three are on defense, which is dangerously thin in terms od depth to begin with.

With that said, here is a breakdown of those three spots and who will likely end up as the starter.

Middle linebacker

Candidates: Jordan Stanton, Sr., 6-0, 246; Alex Borgs, Sr., 6-2, 229.

Jordan Stanton

Jordan Stanton

Who will start: Stanton, because he led the team in tackles last season — his first at UW after transferring from junior college — with 134. He also was tied for second with 10 tackles for loss and led the team with two interceptions. He simply is productive, which is what you want from your middle linebacker. Borgs has six career tackles in three seasons. However, he has a want-to that many coaches would like to see from all their players. Borgs is from Germany and has had to deal with numerous defensive schemes and changes over his career. If he picks up where he left off from spring drills, he will be a good backup behind Stanton and can give UW some quality snaps. It is vital that Borgs can, even in a backup role, so Stanton is not on the field so much.

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UW announces depth chart for Nebraska

Wyoming’s first depth chart of the season for Saturday’s game at Nebraska came out Monday, and there were not a lot of surprises.

Eight first-year players are projected to start — three true freshmen, one redshirt freshmen, two redshirt juniors and two junior-college transfers. Here are some notable items from Monday’s depth chart:

–True freshman receiver Tanner Gentry will start at one of the four receiver spots. Gentry rapidly climbed up the depth chart throughout fall camp. He beat out junior Trey Norman.

–Senior Robert Herron, juniors Dominic Rufran and Jalen Claiborne are the other starting receivers. Others listed on the depth chart this week are redshirt freshmen Eric Nzeocha, Nico Brown, Trent Sewell, Tanner Simpson and Jake Maulhardt; senior Jarrod Darden (a transfer from Colorado), and juniors Keenan Montgomery, Norman and Justin Berger.

–Junior-college transfer Tyran Finley will start at cornerback opposite of junior Blair Burns. Not a surprise there since the injury to junior DeAndre Jones midway through camp.

–Three of the four backups at the cornerback and safety positions are manned by guys who have never played a game at UW. True freshman Tim Hayes is behind Burns at one cornerback spot. Redshirt freshman Cortland Fort, who has gone back and forth from cornerback and safety, is behind Finley. True freshman Xavier Lewis is the backup at strong safety behind junior Darrenn White. Jones, who was the starter at cornerback when fall camp started before he was injured, is the backup for senior Marqueston Huff at free safety.

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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.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

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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Christensen not happy with practice

Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen didn’t pull any punches when I asked him how the first practice of game week leading up to Saturday’s game at No. 15 Texas went Tuesday.

“It was probably the worst practice we’ve had all fall (camp),” he said. “We have a lot of work to get to get done the next two days. We have to practice much better than that.

“I’m not one to make excuses. It sucked, and it’s on them to get better by (today).”

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the big practice days for UW for Saturday games. Friday, obviously, is a travel day, this week.

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