UW football Media Monday

He was humbled by the experience, sorry that it happened and grateful to be back.

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was all of that Monday, which was his first time talking to the media since he was suspended by UW last week for the Oct. 13 tirade after the Air Force game. Christensen returned to work Sunday.

“Not being able to coach this football team was probably the most difficult pill I’ve ever had to swallow,” he said.

“These players mean the world to me. There’s no one else to blame for what happened except for myself. I also ask for forgiveness and an opportunity to move on and make the best of a bad situation.

“I’m sorry for it. I regret it and now I’m gong to move on.”

For more on Christensen’s return and his comments, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and also log on to www.wyosports.net.

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Early UW-Texas Q&A

We’re three months away from Wyoming’s season-opener at Texas, but it’s never too early to talk college football.

Carter Strickland from ESPN asked me this week to answer five questions about Wyoming, so I asked him to answer five questions for me about Texas. So here it is. We start with my questions and his answers, followed by my answers to his questions. Be sure to follow Strickland on Twitter: @espnstrickland

Hope you enjoy it, and hope to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Texas returns one of the better defenses in the country. What are those strengths and are there some possible weaknesses Wyoming could exploit?Texas was the 11th in the country in overall defense last year and for a five-game stretch late in the season the only two defenses that were more productive were LSU and Alabama. The issue for Wyoming is that Texas is faster on defense this year and has much more depth across the line. The Longhorns added junior college transfer Brandon Moore as well as the top defensive tackle in the country Malcom Brown to the roster.  They will go 10-deep across the line with both defensive ends, Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat, being for sure NFL players in 2013.
The spot where Wyoming might be able to exploit Texas is at linebacker. Texas has two first time starters in Steve Edmond and Demarco Cobbs. While both have very good upside, they are not used to all the schemes called by defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. This could cause them to get out of their lanes every once in a while and if that happens, Wyoming needs to exploit it.
The secondary is very tough and returns three of four starters, including two corners, Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs, who are considered two of the best in the Big 12.

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UW spring game thoughts

Wyoming wrapped up spring drills Saturday with its spring game, and the Gold beat the White 20-7. This was more like a real game in terms of rules and scoring. There were four 12-minute quarters with a running clock in each quarter excpet for the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

I thought the defense came out as the winner, although both teams consisted of a mix of starters and back-ups. The defenses on both teams forced three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble) and allowed only 67 rushing yards (38 yards were lost on sacks of junior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard).

Kirkegaard quarterbacked both teams and took every snap. He was 28 of 47 for 324 yards including a 37-yard touchdown to sophomore receiver Dominic Rufran and a 33-yarder to sophomore Trey Norman. Kirkegaard missed on several long throws where receivers were open. One attempt was badly underthrown and intercepted by sophomore cornerback Darrenn White. Senior safety Kenny Browder returned a pick 34 yards and a touchdown on a play he read well, but that Kirkegaard shouldn’t have thrown.

Still, I think Kirkegaard improved enough in the spring to be a viable backup. But make no  mistake about it, this team needs to have sophomore starter Brett Smith back to his old form — and even better — in the fall.

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UW scrimmage thoughts

To say the defense dominated in Wyoming’s first official spring scrimamge Wednesday would be an understatement.

The defense forced six turnovers, including four interceptions and defeated the offense in UW’s unique scoring system 72-41.

Was more impressed with the defensive dominance than concerned about the offensive woes. There’s some concern about the offense, but the defense was just down right good.

The line was active, whether it was in a 3-4 or 4-3. This is a true multiple defense folks. The guy that was a stud was senior defensive tackle Kurt Taufa’asau. He had nine tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. He was unblockable.

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UW-Nebraska postgame news and notes

I thought Wyoming’s mistakes caused it more problems than Nebraska did, for the most part, in the Cowboys 38-14 loss.

Seven penalties, 20-plus missed tackles, a dropped TD pass by Ogbonna (or at least a long pass play), a missed field goal, failed fake punt.

Nebraska is good, and I really liked RB Rex Burkhead. Guy runs hard, man! Not sure, however if the Huskers are top 10 good.

UW players and coaches weren’t happy after the game, and true freshman quarterback Brett Smith said he hates losing more than anything. Good to hear he doesn’t like it.

But I didn’t think UW was over matched and out manned (that’s the basis of my column Sunday). At times it struggled, but this game was nothing like past beatdowns it took to top 10 teams like Texas, Boise State and TCU. To me that’s a little progress. Thoughts?

A few quick notes:

–Sophomore tight end Spencer Bruce, junior safety Kenny Browder and junior defensive lineman Miraldo Michel played in their first games of the season. Browder had a tackle.

–UW had one sack, and has had at least one in 10 straight games dating back to last season.

–Thought senior CB Tashaun Gipson had his best game of the season. Finished with five tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The forced and recovered fumble came on one play.

Will post video later on Sunday from a few postgame interviews. See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for more coverage.

Browder to play vs. Nebraska

Wyoming junior safety Kenny Browder will play today vs. No. 9 Nebraska. Browder was suspended by coach Dave Christensen prior to the season-opener for a violation of team rules stemming from alleged DUI charges in Laramie.

I was told Browder “could play a lot” today by a UW official, but he isn’t expected to start.

Browder was the projected starter at free safety, and held that role through spring drills and fall camp prior to his suspension. For a defense that’s allowed 287.7 passing yards per game and has struggled in the secondary at times, Browder could be a key addition.

Some other quick hits:

–Just asked Brian Rosenthal from the Lincoln Journal-Star if he thought Nebraska senior defensive tackle Jared Crick would play today. He said he “didn’t think so.” Crick is arguable one of the best defensive linemen in the country.

–Freshman cornerback Blair Burns’ two interceptions and fumble recovery last week at Bowling Green earned him Honorable Mention honors from Collegefootballperformance.com.

–Senior defensive end Josh Biezuns was the Co-Defensive Player of the Week in the Mountain West, and also the league’s Defensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

–UW is 1-14 against Big Ten Conference teams. The lone win came at Wisconsin on Sept. 27, 1986, which ironically was the last time it played a Big Ten team.

–Senior defensive lineman Gabe Knapton is three tackles from tying former linebacker Brian Brown (1996-98) for 10th place in career tackles. Knapton has 300 tackles, one of only 11 players in school history to have 300 or more tackles in a career.

–Junior running back Alvester Alexander is one touchdown shy of a tie for fifth place with Marques Brigham (1995-98) in career rushing touchdowns. Alexander has 24 TDs, and has had at least one in the last seven games dating back to last season.

–Nebraska is the winningest college football team since 1970 with 406 wins, and is the only team with more than 400 wins during that time.

–I have always been a guy who gets to games early, but this is an all-time record as I got here about four hours prior to kickoff. Yes, I’m a dork! LOL

–Lots of Red around War Memorial Stadium right now in terms of Nebraska fans, but a quick glance I see a lot more Brown and Gold.

Hope you will join me for the live blog that starts in three hours — just reinforcing that I’m a dork for getting to games early. Check back to the top of the blog for the link.

Monday’s football quick hits

Some highlights from Monday’s news conference with Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen and interviews with players:

–The defense garnered most of the attention after giving up 541 yards and 32 points against Weber State. There was a 5-minute players only meeting Sunday, and defensive coordinator Marty English described the defensive effort as “embarrassing.” Christensen said the schemes were good, but the execution wasn’t.

–UW will face a Texas State team Saturday — another FCS foe — that runs a pistol/option offense similar to Nevada. That means the Cowboys will have to be more assignment oriented on defense.

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UW releases depth chart for Weber State

Well, here it is. Wyoming is thin at safety with the indefinite suspension of projected junior starter Kenny Browder at free safety, and the one-game suspension of his backup, senior Eric Mitchell.

Was also a little suprised to see as much change along the offensive line, since we didn’t see as much during the three scrimmages of fall camp.

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