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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Media Monday: Wyoming prepares for Utah State on short week

Coming off a 34-14 loss at Boise State last Saturday, Wyoming got back to work Sunday and Monday for its next game at Utah State at 8:15 p.m. Friday.

The news wasn’t good regarding redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman as coach Craig Bohl listed him as doutbful for the Utah State game. Coffman left the Boise State game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. There are not broken bones, but UW is moving forward with redshirt freshman Nick Smith as its starter this week.

Here are Bohl and Smith from Monday’s interview sessions:

 

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UW at Boise State football preview: Notes, quotes and video

As always, I start with my top key for Wyoming for its game at Boise State Saturday:

Clean and complete: Wyoming hasn’t had a large margin of error in any game this season, but that margin is razor-thin in this game. Boise State isn’t 95-4 at home since 2000 by using smoke and mirrors. It capitalizes on opponents’ mistakes. The Cowboys can’t turn the ball over, be plagued by penalties or have breakdowns defensively. They also need to force the Broncos into making mistakes. Boise State had eight turnovers last week in its 52-26 loss at Utah State. UW has forced four turnovers all season. It needs to force multiple turnovers, and score off them if they have any chance of being competitive or winning this game.

What do you think, folks? Yes, no or this guy has no idea what he’s talking about?

Here is my video preview of the game:

Now, a few notes and quotes about the game:

— “I think we’re still a ways away. I’d like to think we’re really close. But we’re playing two true freshmen offensive linemen. Developing fullback play has been a challenge, same with the tight ends. We’ve made progress, but we’re not where we want to be.” — UW coach Craig Bohl about how far his offense has progressed since he took over as coach last year.

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New roles for UW wide receivers amid Gentry injury

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said Monday he’s “hopeful” junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry will play Saturday at Boise State after suffering a sprained shoulder in UW’s 28-21 win over Nevada last Saturday.

Gentry’s status for the game won’t be known until later this week, but it’s probably a long-shot that he plays. Gentry leads UW with 37 catches for 678 yards, and is tied for the team lead with four receiving touchdowns. His receiving  yards is 15th in the country, and his 96.9 receiving yards per game is 19th.

So, who steps up for the Cowboys while Gentry is out, whether it is just the Boise State game or future games?

Jake Maulhardt

Jake Maulhardt

The first guy is junior Jake Maulhardt, who is second behind Gentry with 36 catches for 366 yards, and is tied with Gentry on the team with four touchdowns. Maulhardt plays the ‘X’ receiver spot, while Gentry plays the ‘Y.’ Maulhardt is a bigger target than Gentry at 6-foot-6, but doesn’t have the speed Gentry has.

“My number may be called more,” Maulhardt said. “I need to capitalize on it an make plays for the team. If it happens, Im ready for it.”

The two guys who likely will see more playing time if Gentry is out are a pair of true freshmen — James Price and Joe Parker. Combined, those two have caught 7 passes for 68 yards this season.

James Price

James Price

Maulhardt thinks Price is similar to Gentry in terms of his size (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) and abilities. Parker is smaller (5-10, 182) and seems like more of a slot receiver than an edge guy. Maulhardt said true freshman Justice Murphy played a lot more last week against Nevada, and is “one of the most athletic guys on the team.”

Gentry and Maulhardt have caught 57 percent of UW’s completed passes this season. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said human nature often takes over when guys are pressed into stepping up for a team due to an injury to a teammate as compared to trying to compete for playing time when everyone is healthy and front-line guys are being productive.

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Media Monday: UW football notes

I had to call into Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl’s weekly news conference Monday because I have to catch a flight to Las Vegas for Mountain West men’s basketball media day activities that start Tuesday and run through Wednesday. Look for more on that as the week goes on.

Here are a few notes and highlights from Bohl’s news conference:

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

— Junior linebacker Lucas Wacha, senior defensive end Siaosi Hala’api’api and sophomore cornerback Robert Priester — all starters — continue to be evaluated for concussions suffered in the 31-17 loss at Air Force last Saturday. Bohl said Hala’api’api and Priester are further along than Wacha. All three were listed as starters on UW’s depth chart, but that doesn’t mean any of them will play Saturday at home against Nevada.

— UW is getting dangerously thin at linebacker. Along with Wacha in the middle, junior Devin McKenna injured a knee during the team’s walk-through practice Friday. The only guy left there is junior Eric Nzeocha. Junior weak-side linebacker Will Tutein injured an ankle early against Air Force and didn’t return. His status is unknown. The Cowboys may have only five linebackers available for the Nevada game: Nzeocha, junior D.J. May, true freshmen Christian Irving and Luis Bach and sophomore Tim Kamana.

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Air Force 31, Wyoming 17: postgame thoughts

Six games and six straight double-digit losses for Wyoming.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Yet, the 31-17 setback at Air Force had a different feel to it — at least somewhat.

I thought the defense played its best football for about 2 1/2 quarters. When junior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha left with a concussion, things changed. UW also lost two other starters — senior defensive end Siaosi Hala’api’api and sophomore cornerback Robert Priester — to concussions.

Here is a link to my story about the injuries and other notes from the game:

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/notebook-cowboys-injuries-mount-in-loss/article_9437eb02-6fbd-11e5-ad97-eb005256d373.html

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

I was disappointed in the offense, and I felt bad for sophomore running back Brian Hill. He had 128 yards rushing, his eighth 100-yard game of his career. But two fumbles led to 14 Air Force points. The second fumble came at the Air Force 4-yard line. That fumble looked like Hill simply dropped the ball. The first, which came in the first half, looked like it could have been a bad hand-off from senior quarterback Cameron Coffman.

Here is my column from the game about Hill and the offense, which had a season-low 307 yards of total offense and committed a season-high four turnovers.

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/gagliardi-column-hill-put-wyoming-s-latest-loss-on-his/article_4e0bf984-6fbd-11e5-9001-e32b8f806e70.html

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UW at Appalachian State postgame thoughts

I feel like I am writing the same things when I do this particular blog post talking about Wyoming’s last football game.

Despite moving the ball, UW couldn’t score. The defense got off to a poor start, but came back and played relatively well.

But a season-high three turnovers resulted in 14 Appalachian State points and a 31-13 Cowboys’ loss. They are now 0-5 for the first time since 1975. They’ve also lost their first five games by double-figures for the first time since 1939.

Yikes!

Here is UW coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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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 postgame thoughts, notes, quotes and video

Doing this for the past four Sundays has felt like the movie Groundhog Day — the same thing every week.

Wyoming lost 38-28 at home to New Mexico to fall to 0-4. The Cowboys have lost six straight home games and seven in a row overall going back to last season. And, they lost this game much like it did their last three.

Too many big plays allowed by the defense, and not enough plays overall by this unit. The offense put up some good numbers, at least in the passing game, but it wasn’t consistent enough. Ten penalties for 98 yards didn’t help.

Here is coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Saturday’s scrimmage another step forward for Coffman

It’s not a real game, but it’s the next closest thing for Wyoming as it hosts its first and only major scrimmage of fall camp at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Major may not be a good work as coach Craig Bohl said it will consist of around 42 plays. “That’s an indication that we’ve had a pretty aggressive camp,” he said. “We will get some work to some of the guys we think need work. We will hold some guys out. I’ve looked at the number of guys we need to take a look at, and I also want to make sure we go into our first game healthy.”

The scrimmage is closed to the public and media, but here’s what Bohl said after Friday morning’s practice about it, and a few other things.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Redshirt senior starting quarterback Cameron Coffman feels like the scrimmage is important for him. Coffman has not played in a real game since 2013. The last time in a scrimmage-situation was in April in UW’s spring game.

“It’s as close of a look at a real game before our first one,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to go out, compete and act like it’s a real game.

“It’s definitely a whole lot easier going through this offense for the second time. I feel more comfortable with everybody. I know the plays, the playbook and the reads. I’ve gotten better at it, but need to continue to get better.”

As for what he wants to accomplish in Saturday’s scrimmage, Coffman added: “Compete and do well as an offense. Move the ball down the field, get first downs and get in the end zone.”

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