UW spring football notes & quotes entering week No. 3

Wyoming spring football practice has hit about the midway point.

No final decisions on who will play and start in the 2019 opener against Missouri Aug. 31 have been decided, but even though the coaches won’t say as much, they likely have a good idea at some positions.

One concern this spring has been along the offensive line. UW lost junior guard Gavin Rush for the season with a torn ACL. That was a big blow to this group. Junior guard Logan Harris missed some time last week with a back injury, but is back at practice. Redshirt freshman Zach Watts has moved around between guard and tackle. Sophomore Keegan Cryder, who earned Freshman All-America honors last season as a center for the Cowboys, has been getting some reps at tackle. Cryder wasn’t supposed to do much this spring due to off-season knee surgery.

Not sure UW will have a lot of definite answers there coming out of spring, and it better hope junior tackle Alonzo Velasquez (knee) returns healthy for fall camp.

Because of the issues along the offensive line, UW hasn’t been able to double-rep much — if at all — this spring, meaning having two groups of offense vs. defense getting snaps.

“We’re a little bit behind where we normally would have been, but some springs are like this,” sixth-year coach Craig Bohl said.

— Last week I did a story on UW’s two most experienced interior defensive linemen in juniors Ravontae Holt and Javaree Jackson. When I asked UW defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis about who else is developing this spring behind Holt and Jackson, he mentioned a kid who may not see the field for the Cowboys, but had glowing things to say about — junior walk-on Justice Borton of Wheatland.

“Justice is so selfless, and that’s why he is a leader. He may not get on the field, and he knows that, but he will do anything for this team. The most important thing to him is we win on Saturdays. The team is more important to him than playing time. I can’t say enough about him. I am blessed to coaches all of these guys, but I love that kid. He is a rock in the locker room, and he’s going to pick people up.”

Borton has never played in a game for UW. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 272 pounds. He has practiced along both the offensive and defensive lines. Hard not to root for a kid like him, but any successful team needs guys like Borton.

— Another story I did last week was on senior wide receiver Austin Conway and his experience as a high school basketball official in Wyoming the last couple of years. Here is a link to that story in case you missed it.

Conway has been one of UW’s most productive and consistent receivers the last three years. This is what he said after I asked him his goals for his final season of playing college football.

“Trying to win a Mountain West championship and as many games as I can to leave a foundation for guys to continue on how coach Bohl wants to run this football team. Since I have been where we almost were MW champs, a bowl winner and not going to a bowl. I’ve seen it all. Stat-wise, I don’t care. I just wnat to win games. I want to come out with another couple of rings on my hand with a MW championship and a bowl win.”

— One last thing: I want to give a huge thank to you to Bohl. After practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays so far he has provided the media with dinner as we do interviews after practice. One night there was pizza, followed by sliders and fried oysters and then some barbecue. Bohl said it was for his appreciation to the media. As a media member for more than 25 years, it is very much appreciated.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Pregame Primer

Are you ready for some football, as in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl football as Wyoming (7-5) takes on Central Michigan (8-4) at 2 p.m. Friday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game will be televised on ESPN.

As I’ve done all season with every UW game, here is my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:

Josh Allen

Be offensive: Meaning that the Cowboys must show some consistency in moving the ball and scoring points. For the most part that has lacked against quality opponents this season. This doesn’t mean perfection, but Wyoming must limit the three-and-out possessions, try to be as balanced offensively as possible and finish drives with points. Yeah, a lot depends on who plays quarterback, but whether it is Josh Allen (who will start the game) or Nick Smith, UW must have plans in place for either one — or perhaps both — to succeed. Establishing a run game would be a big-time help. The Cowboys likely will lean on their defense like they have all season, but they need to lean more on the offense in this game.

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Iowa 24, Wyoming 3 – postgame thoughts

Wyoming’s first game didn’t go as I thought.

I will be honest, I didn’t expect the Cowboys to win at Iowa. However, the way the 24-3 loss went was kind of a surprise.

I didn’t think UW would roll a ton of yards and the points against Iowa’s defense, probably the best front seven it will play this season, I thought it would have more overall offensive success, however. I thought junior quarterback Josh Allen and the passing game would be more efficient. I thought the Cowboys would try to exploit an inexperienced Hawkeyes secondary with more deep throws.

That wasn’t the game plan. Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl discussed that and some other things in his postgame interview with the media:

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 11

The Cowboys worked out in War Memorial Stadium Friday morning in shorts, helmets and “spider” pads — a step down from regular shoulder pads.

UW did some special teams work, and sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe attempted field goals at various spots on the field. Rothe did a solid job in the intermediate ranges. Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said UW also did some two-minute work and he liked what he saw from the defense.

As far as individual players from Friday’s practice, Bohl said sophomore defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan, junior wide receiver James Price and true freshman center Logan Harris of Torrington caught his eye.

Bohl on Harris: “He’s really emerging, and for a freshman that’s a difficult task. He has a great demeanor and good strength. Nothing’s finalized, but we’re taking a hard, hard look at him as our center.”

Here is Bohl after practice:

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 9

Wyoming practiced in War Memorial Stadium Wednesday morning, and worked on some two-minute offense and the kicking game. The players worked out in “spiders,” which are smaller and lighter shoulder pads, helmets and shorts.

The construction progress continues for UW’s $44 High Altitude Performance Center, which is still set to open next summer. Here’s a picture of that from Wednesday’s practice:

Wyoming’s High Altitude Performance Center on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Robert Gagliardi

Here are some highlights of some drill work during practice:

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UW football fall camp – Practice 7

Temperatures in the high 50s, overcast and breezy — welcome to fall camp at Wyoming at 7,220 feet.

Those were the weather conditions Monday morning for the Cowboys seventh practice of camp. Junior outside linebacker Chavez Pownell Jr., who is from Florida, dressed like it was November instead of August, but joked that he probably over did it a little bit.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of practice:

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