UW football weighs in on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be tough for college football players and coaches because, more often than not, they’re season is still going on.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

Wyoming is no different as it prepares to play its regular-season finale Saturday at New Mexico. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said there will be a “big team dinner” planned for Thanksgiving day.

I asked some guys on the team two questions leading into Thanksgiving: What they’re most thankful for and their favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.

For Bohl, he said he was most thankful for this season’s seniors and how they’ve bought in and stuck it out from the start. As for the food, he said cranberries and turkey.

Here are the responses from others:

True freshman kicker Cooper Rothe

Most thankful: My teammates. Even when I struggled early, they stuck by me, supported me and told me they wanted me because I was good.

Food: Pie, and anything sweet.

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UW defensive ends didn’t all start their careers there

One of the more surprising aspects of Wyoming’s depth chart for its season-opener Saturday against Northern Illinois was redshirt freshman walk-on Josiah Hall as the starter ahead of sophomore Kevin Prosser.

Josiah Hall

Josiah Hall

However, don’t look too much into that because both will play Saturday, and throughout the season. Hall gives UW a little more size at 237 pounds, compared to 215 for Prosser.

But what’s intriguing about those two and most of UW’s defensive ends is that hardly any of them started their football careers as defensive ends.

Hall and Prosser were linebackers in high school. Same can be said about UW’s other starter, sophomore Carl Granderson. The 6-foot-5, 243-pounder was an outside linebacker who didn’t play with his hand in the dirt like he does at UW. Granderson also played some at wide receiver in high school.

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Cowboys release depth chart for opener vs. Northern Illinois

We’re finally in game-week mode for Wyoming football, and that means the first depth chart of the regular season.

Instead of just listing names, here is a photo of the first depth chart.

Wyoming football depth chart vs. Northern Illinois

Wyoming football depth chart vs. Northern Illinois

Not a lot of big surprises here. Perhaps the biggest is redshirt freshman walk-on Josiah Hall starting at one defensive end spot over sophomore Kevin Prosser. Both will play, but Hall gives UW a little more size at 237 pounds. Prosser is 215. Third-year UW coach Craig Bohl said: “It’s not a knock on Prosser, but more of a compliment to Hall.”

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UW fall camp – practice No. 20

Wyoming practiced once Wednesday for about 1 hour and 10 minutes in War Memorial Stadium. That was planned by coach Craig Bohl, who said the team would lift weights and do some mental work in the afternoon.

UW’s final two-a-day session of fall camp is Thursday. It’s pattern for this was to go with a lighter practice in the morning, and a heavier one in the afternoon. However, Bohl said he will flip-flop that Thursday since Wednesday was a lighter day on the field.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of Wednesday’s practice.

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Granderson progressing nicely at defensive end for Cowboys

Wyoming is only four days into fall camp, and when third-year coach Craig Bohl talks to the media after each practice and goes over some of the highlights of individual players, Carl Granderson’s name usually comes up.

Here is Bohl after Thursday’s practice.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore defensive end played at around 200 pounds last season as a true freshman. He’s now at 243. Granderson said he still feels fast with the added weight, which is a big part of his game. For more on that, see Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, or log on to wyosports.net.

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UW fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming put on the shoulder pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday. The first practice in full pads is set for Friday.

UW did a lot of special teams and one-on-one drills during the early portions of Wednesday’s practice that the media was allowed to watch. Here are some highlights of the action.

Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard (hamstring strain) had been limited during the first two days of camp as a precaution. He was expected to do more at Wednesday’s practice. Junior cornerback Robert Priester (hamstring strain) also has been limited more out of precaution, but still was limited Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Davion Freeman looks to be getting some of the reps with the No. 1 defense in place of Priester. Sophomore Chavez Pownell Jr. has received more reps in place of Wingard.

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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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Granderson growing on and off the field

Carl Granderson is doing something few college football players do during the season: gaining weight.

The Wyoming true freshman defensive end is listed at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. But

Carl Granderson

Carl Granderson

Granderson said this week he’s up to 205 pounds. Yes, that is still 30 to 40 pounds lighter than UW would like him to be, but it’s rare for any player to gain weight through the rigors of a season.

“I keep on eating through the day,” Granderson said. “I eat breakfast, snacks between classes, lunch, dinner. You have to be constantly eating, drinking shakes ad all that.”

Granderson also said he lifts weights twice a day — in the mornings before practice and at night after practice.

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who wish they had to eat more. Sounds like a good thing, but it’s not as easy or fun as it sounds.

“It’s hard. The mornings are hard for me to eat. But gong into the games and playing against these big offensive tackles, I realize I have to put on weight fast. The games have really motivated me to get bigger so I can play better.”

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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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Finley hopes to give a struggling UW defense a boost

He’s a senior by class only.

One of the changes Wyoming made defensively was putting senior cornerback Tyran Finley in the starting lineup when it plays at Washington State Saturday.

Tyran Finley

Tyran Finley

But it’s not like Finley has a ton of game experience with the Cowboys.

The junior college transfer started in UW’s opener in 2013 at No. 18 Nebraska, but injured a knee and was lost for the season. He was granted a medical redshirt.

Last year, with new coach Craig Bohl and staff, Finley struggled to adjust to a new system. He played in 11 games, but early on most of that time was on special teams. But in UW’s 45-17 win at Fresno State on Nov. 1, 2014, Finley had two interceptions and returned one of them 51 yards for a touchdown. He led UW with those two interceptions, and the team had only one other interception that season.

During spring drills, Finley was beat out by redshirt freshmen walk-ons. And, he missed about a week because — for a lack of a better term — he needed an attitude adjustment in Bohl’s opinion. But now, as a senior Finley gets a chance to start just this third game for the Cowboys and play in his 15th game of his career. And, he gets to do it against a pass-happy team like Washington State that may throw it 60 times Saturday.

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