Wyoming 45, Texas State 10 – postgame thoughts

Wyoming concluded its four-game home stand with fairly impressive 45-10 victory over Texas State in front of 21,784 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium this past Saturday to improve to 3-2 overall. The Cowboys are off this coming week before it plays at Utah State on Oct. 14.

My column from the game was about how this was a complete team win for UW, as touchdowns were scored offensively, defensively and on special teams.

Here’s the link to it, which is currently free at wyosports.net:

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/gagliardi-column-uw-s-win-over-texas-state-epitomizes-team/article_5b41e57e-a665-11e7-8071-a3f2b75b3b89.html

Here is fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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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.”

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UW fall camp – practice No. 21

Wyoming practiced Thursday morning in War Memorial Stadium, and the weather had a fall-feel as it was a little chilly and breezy.

Third-year coach Craig Bohl the practice, which lasted a little over two hours, was “work-man like. At this point in camp, UW also is installing some of its game play for its opener Sept. 3 against Northern Illinois. Bohl moved Wednesday afternoon’s practice to evening so some of the players can get used to playing under the lights. Such will be the case in the opener.

Here are some highlights from practice.

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UW football’s biggest gainers

Here are some of the biggest “gains” in terms of Wyoming football players and weight from the end of last season and as spring drills began Tuesday in Laramie.

Weights are from UW’s depth chart prior to its 2015 season-finale against UNLV and its current depth chart before the start of spring football. In the case of running back Brian Hill, I went off the weights he told me personally. Players’ classes in terms of eligibility are listed next to each weight.

Player                                End of 2015                          Spring of 2016

OT Zach Wallace                    265 (Fr.)                                    297 (So.)

QB Josh Allen                       216  (So.)                                 230 (RSo.)

FS Andrew Wingard               194  (Fr.)                                   207 (So.)

LB Lucas Wacha                    214  (Jr.)                                    230 (Sr.)

LB Eric Nzeocha                    218  (Jr.)                                     231 (Sr.)

NT Dalton Fields                    274  (So.)                                   293 (Jr.)

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Cowboys’ O-line showing progress, will return experience

Two of the eight seniors on the Wyoming football roster are seniors — guard Troy Boyland and center Rafe Kiely.

Troy Boyland

Troy Boyland

However, in offensive line coach Scott Fuchs’ mind, he returns five starting offensive linemen for the 2016 season.

That’s because sophomore Charlie Renfree started the first 10 games this season at center. Kiely did some good things in practice late in the season, and Renfree was a bit banged up. Kiely started in UW’s Nov. 14 game at San Diego State and will start in the Cowboys’ season-finale Saturday at home against UNLV. Renfee and Kiely have split time in UW’s first 10 games, but Renfree saw most of the playing time.

Boyland started in nine of 11 games, but true freshman Kaden Jackson started two. And, both have played in all 11 games this season. Boyland moved from defensive line to offensive line this season.

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Media Monday: Wyoming starts preparations for Air Force

At 0-5, to say anything came easy for the Cowboys would be grossly false. But the Cowboys start a string of six consecutive Mountain West games this week against teams that went to bowl games last season. The first is at Air Force at 8:15 p.m. MT in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

Here is second-year-coach Craig Bohl at his weekly news conference Monday.

There wasn’t a lot of movement on UW’s depth chart heading into this game. Bohl is hopeful senior running back Shaun Wick (concussion) will return this week. Wick was not listed on the depth chart.

Sophomore Josh Tapscott was the backup behind sophomore Brian Hill. Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans both got carries in UW’s 31-13 loss at Appalachian State last week as Wick didn’t make the trip.

Hill had 208 yards on a career-high 30 carries last week, and until Wick returns, look to see a lot of Hill in UW’s backfield.

“There’s a pretty significant drop-off between Brian and the other players,” Bohl said. “We thought about getting (true freshman Kellen Overstreet) in there, but we we also thought having three or four tailbacks in the game would be counter-productive. Depending on the type of run, we can insert Josh and Nico, and they held their own last week. But Brian is going to get the lion’s share of the carries. As he goes, our offense goes.”

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Media Monday: News, notes, video from UW football’s weekly news conference

Most of the talk on this day was the moves UW is making defensively, especially at linebacker.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Junior Lucas Wacha moves from weak-side to the middle. Sophomore Tim Kamana moves from the strong-side to the weak-side. Junior Eric Nzeocha is benched and now will back up Wacha in the middle.

UW also wills start true freshman Antonio Hull at one of the two cornerback spots, opposite of sophomore Robert Priester.

Here is UW defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Steve Stanard on the moves:

What do you think folks, do you think these moves will help UW’s defense, especially against the big plays it has given up (12 of 30 yards or more, nine of which for touchdowns)?

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UW-New Mexico football notes, quotes and video

My No. 1 key for Wyoming Saturday if it hopes to win its first game of the season, and its Mountain West opener against New Mexico:

Complete offensive game: Wyoming averages 400 yards of total offense per game, has the Mountain West leader in rushing in sophomore running back Brian Hill (411 yards) and a quarterback in redshirt senior Cameron Coffman who has thrown for 578 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Yet, the Cowboys are 10th out of 12 teams in the MW in scoring (18.7 points per game). It’s great UW has shown it can move the ball, but it has to finish drives with points.

Agree, disagree? There are many more things the Cowboys must do well if they hope to win. See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net for more on that.

You also can see how I break down this game from my preview video:


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Safety shuffle for Cowboys may be slowing down

Three games and three different combinations at the two safety spots for the Wyoming football team.

But when UW (0-3) hosts New Mexico (1-2) in the Mountain West opener for both teams Saturday, it expects to keep the same two starters who played most of the game in last Saturday’s 31-14 loss at Washington State.

Andrew Wingard

Andrew Wingard

True freshman Andrew Wingard is slated to start at free safety, and redshirt freshman walk-on Marcus Epps at strong safety. Wingard made his first-career start Sept. 12 against Eastern Michigan, and he led the Cowboys in tackles at Washington state with 12. Wingard has 24 tackles in the last two games. Wingard played mostly on special teams in UW’s opener against North Dakota on Sept. 5.

Epps started at free safety against North Dakota, and had 11 tackles. He suffered a concussion in that game and missed the Eastern Michigan contest. Epps produced the Cowboys’ first turnover of the season with an interception in the third quarter. Epps also had five tackles and broke up one pass.

The Cowboys had three different starters at strong safety in their first three games. Redshirt freshman Chavez Pownell Jr. started the opener, followed by redshirt freshman walk-on Adam Pilapil against Eastern Michigan.

Marcus Epps

Marcus Epps

UW safeties coach and pass game coordinator Curt Mallory said all four safeties have played both positions during fall camp, and Epps, Pilapil and Pownell did the same during spring drills. Despite the youth, Mallory likes this group and the way it approaches the game.

“All four guys have been competing, and is a fun group to coach because they’re unselfish and want to help one another,” Mallory said. “It’s shown on the field. On the sideline at Washington State Chavez and Adam, even though they weren’t playing, were right in the ears of Marcus and Andrew. That’s maturity, and I’m pleased with that. Marcus and Andrew made some strides for having their second start. I’m encouraged with that.”

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UW football Media Monday: Some thoughts, notes and video

As Wyoming prepares this week for its first Mountain West game, the question was posed to a lot of the players, and coach Craig Bohl, if this week was a sort of fresh start. You know, kind of a feel like a season-opener with the first conference game after a frustrating 0-3 start to the season.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

Most of the people I talked to didn’t take that approach. Sophomore running back Brian Hill described the game as a “must win.” Bohl said this is another week for the team to show improvement.

Here’s Bohl on that and several other things during his news conference Monday:

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