UW pro timing day highlights

Five former Wyoming football players performed for nine NFL scouts Thursday during UW’s pro timing day at the school’s indoor practice facility.

Defensive backs Chris Prosinski and Marcel Gibson, receiver David Leonard, offensive lineman Sam Sterner and running back Wynel Seldon worked out in front of scouts from the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.

The most anticipated drill was the 40-yard dash, and Prosinski had the fastest time at 4.42 seconds. All times were recorded on hand-held devices.

Prosinski has been training in Orlando, Fla., and said most of his training involved speed work.

“I was happy with that,” said Prosinski of his time.

After the drills, scouts worked extensively with Prosinski and Gipson doing a wide range of skill and agility drills specified for defensive backs. Prosinski was impressive in just about every drill he did.

Gipson said he ran a 4.45-second 40, but added he ran in soccer cleats hoping the lighter shoes would help his time. That wasn’t the case.

“I’ve got to wear the right shoes next time,” said Gipson, who will have another shot at a pro day at UW on March 24.

Seldon played at UW from 2005-08 and is the school’s third-leading rusher with 2,672 yards. When he left UW Seldon played for the Washington Redskins, and has had three different brief stays with the Buffalo Bills, and was last cut prior to the 2010 season.

Seldon currently lives in Dallas and just wants another chance to play in the NFL, whenever that may be with the pending lockout of players coming up at midnight tonight.

“I felt like I was in good shape and executed the drills pretty well,” said Seldon, who ran a 4.53 40. “I wanted to show teams I’m still in shape and ready to go. I wanted to come up here and re-market myself.”

Leonard ran a 4.54 40 and said he liked the chance to out and compete with former teammates. He would like a chance to play at the next level as much as the next guy, but also is trying not to put too much pressure on himself.

“I had a few drops I’d like to have back, but hopefully someone will like what they saw and give me a shot,” he said. “With high pressure on a day like this with scouts and fans watching, you just have to keep your composure and realize it’s just football. This is stuff you’ve been doing for years. You need to believe in your work and believe in your skills.”

Several fans attended the event, along with a lot of current UW players and coaches.

UW-CSU photos and quotes

First off, check out some photos from Wyoming’s 44-0 win over Colorado State Saturday by Wyoming Tribune Eagle photographer AAron Ontiveroz. This was AAron’s final sports assignment for the WTE and WyoSports. He recently accepted a photographer job at The Denver Post.

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Here are some leftover quotes from the game:

–“That’s the funnest I’ve had playing football for a while now. … You couldn’t ask for any other way to go out in keeping the Bronze Boot here against our arch rivals, and doing it the way we did.” — senior free safety Chris Prosinski

–“They were yakking and talking the whole game. I had to punish them a little bit.” — sophomore running back Alvester Alexander, who ran for 147 yards and a school-record five touchdowns.

–” I was real proud of the kids up front. They came off the ball. They blocked well and gave Al some running lanes. Alvester did a good job of carrying the load for us. He’s a young man getting better every single day and maturing as a Division I tailback.” — coach Dave Christensen

–“(CSU) saw the last couple of games we played and maybe they thought we were a pushover coming into the game. But we thought if we got three-and-outs right away and if the offense scored some points they would quit and lay down. Which as you could see, they did.” — junior defensive end Josh Biezuns

–“This was by far No. 1. I don’t think we’ve ever had a game like this since I’ve been here.” — senior cornerback Marcell Gipson on how this game compared to the others in his career.

–“I met (Friday) morning with every kid I recruited here and talked about the most important thing for next season was (the CSU) game and would springboard us into the off-season. They believe in what we’re doing. We have great athletes. We’re going to get better. We’re going to stay the course, stay positive and we’re going to be fine.” — Christensen

–“We’ve been playing well together the whole year, and I think we’re learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses up front. We know what everybody can do and what everybody can’t do. We know how to get to the quarterback now.” — Biezuns, who had 3.5 of UW’s six quarterback sacks in the game.

–“We’re going to recruit 25 more guys. We recruit across the board at every position. We have a lot of kids in our program that have been here for six months, or a year and six months. We have to keep developing them.”

Notes and quotes from BYU

Went through my notebook and recorder last night and found these quotes following the Wyoming-BYU game.

–“We’ve got a lot of faith in the offense that they can drive down the field and score. We’ll be real confident in them next week. They just had a hard time getting started.” — senior linebacker Keith Lewis.

–“With Austyn it’s no secret, he’s a tough kid. He’s going to do whatever he can to rally the troops and get us a ‘W.’ Austyn is just Austyn. I don’t  think I saw anything change or anything I haven’t seen before.” — sophomore receiver Chris McNeill on sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and how he played in the second half.

–I think so and obviously we hope so. Anytime you can get some execution on consecutive drives it lights a fire under you and makes you believe. We have to do it throughout the course of a game.” — McNeill on the offense.

–“This is a game we should have won.” — senior cornerback Marcell Gipson

–“I told him he got slow because he almost got caught before he scored.” — Gipson on Lewis’ 55-yard interception return for a touchdown.

–“We relied heavily on the run game and completed some passes at critical times. There were still plenty of drops, but we are making progress. It’s not that I’m saying we have arrived, but we have inched forward and that’s better than backward.” — BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall.

See Monday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com for what UW thinks it needs to do to win its last four games to become bowl eligible. Can you say cliche?

UW-Utah post-game thoughts

Honestly, I thought the score would be more lopsided than 30-6.

Wyoming hung in there early, and in the ultimate “what if” what if the Cowboys had scored on those first two offensive possessions where they moved the ball pretty well? Especially that second one where they had the ball at the Utah 11-yard line.

I know a lot of fans out there don’t like the offensive play-calling, and I will admit there are some that make me scratch my head. But I like the fact the Cowboys are trying some things on offense and special teams to try and create some yards and points. Yes, it doesn’t always work and maybe early on UW got a little too fancy for its own good.

But that tells me the coaches aren’t content with being base and vanilla. They’re trying, which has to mean a lot to the players.

Even though senior backup quarterback Dax Crum led UW on its only scoring drive in the fourth quarter, there is no quarterback controversey or secret injury to sophomore Austyn Carta-Samuels. Coach Dave Christensen wanted to give Crum a shot with UW down 30-0 in the fourth quarter. Carta-Samuels didn’t seem too happy about it, but it was more of him being a competitor than anything else. He wasn’t bad in his first game after missing the TCU game, I thought.

Noticed a few times where UW had its defensive linemen all standing at the line of scrimmage trying to confuse Utah. The Utes burned a timeout on one of those occasions.

Sophomore defensive tackle Ben Durbin recorded the first sack against Utah’s No. 1 offensive line this season, and only the second overall. Nice job young man!

Nice to see the Gipson brothers each get an interception. Marcell went out with what looked to be an ankle injury, but he’s confident he will be OK. He was in a protective boot after the game.

Liked the play of true freshman cornerback Marqueston Huff, who replaced Gipson. He made an nice interception in the end zone. I think this kid is going to be good. More on him in the coming days.

I was disappointed in the kicking of sophomore Ian Watts. Two missed field goals, technically one, on that second UW possession. One was negated by a Utah penalty. Maybe he’s rusty. Those were only his fourth attempts in a game this season.

Christensen was asked to compare Utah, TCU, Boise State, Texas and Air Force — all teams that were are currently are ranked with UW played and lost to them. Christensen refused to, but I think Utah is better than Texas and Air Force. It might be just a slight notch below Boise State and TCU.

See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more game coverage.

Gipsons heading home

Hard to believe brothers Marcell and Tashaun Gipson have started 30 consecutive games together at cornerback for Wyoming.

They will make it 31 Saturday at No. 5 TCU and it will be a homecoming of sorts for the Gipsons, who are from nearby Dallas.

Their last game at TCU two years ago was forgetable. UW lost 54-7 and receiver Jimmy Young had a school-record 226 yards and three touchdowns. Young had TD catches of 60, 55 and 39 yards, and also had a 65-yard catch.

“Me and my brother both vowed that will never happen again,” said Tashaun, a freshman back then. “Now we’re going back to the place where it happened.”

Young had only two catches for 25 yards in TCU’s 45-10 victory over UW in Laramie last season.

In the two games they’ve played against TCU together, the Gipsons have combined for 12 tackles and two pass break-ups.

The Gipsons said they don’t know a lot of players on the TCU roster. Marcell, now a senior, said he knew some former players. Tashaun knows TCU junior and starting cornerback Greg McCoy. Tashaun said they played high school football against each other, but McCoy was a receiver back then. Tashaun added that McCoy’s team beat his squad in a playoff game, but added that he “stuck him good” a time or two in that game.

Both said anytime they go back to their home state to play is special, but playing together at UW has been the best part of the deal even though they are a long way from home.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” Marcell said. “A lot of guys don’t get an opportunity to play with a family member in college. Considering we’re a few years apart in age and with the schools that were recruiting (Tashaun) out of high school, I never thought he would come here.

“God just put us together and it was for a reason. We both needed each other, whether it was about stuff back home, with school or with the coaching change a couple of years ago. We helped each other get through those things. Things you could only talk to your brother about.”

For more on the Gipsons, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

See Friday’s papers and websites for more on TCU, and how UW’s recruiting efforts in the state of Texas have progressed with this coaching staff.

Hope you will join me for the live chat at 3 p.m. today. Here is the direct link http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2010/10/06/u-of-w-live-chat-thursday-300/

UW-Southern Utah five things to watch

1. Line play: How will the Cowboys’ new defensive line look in their 4-3 scheme debut? More importantly, can the defensive tackles get a push inside? I think a lot of people are curious and wondering how the offensive line will play. All five starters got most of the reps in fall camp, which is a good sign. Can this group open up running lanes and protect sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels? We shall see.

2. Receiver watch: UW is supposed to be faster and more athletic at receiver. Will Southern Utah be a good test to show this? Probably not as good as next week’s game at Texas. But can this group stretch the field deep and get more yards after the catch? Don’t be surprised if UW tries to find this out early in the game.

3. Corner coverage: The Gipson brothers, Marcell and Tashaun, both had great off-seasons and are poised to have big years. There is talk there will be more man-to-man coverage with them. We may see that in this game. Southern Utah does have some good receivers. This should be a good test to see if UW takes a few more chances with its coverages or will still try not to get burned deep.

4. End of the line: This kind of goes back to line play, but watch what junior defensive ends Gabe Knapton and Josh Biezuns do in their debuts. Knapton was an inside linebacker last season and Biezuns was a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. I got a feeling these two will play well. They also will play a key role in keeping Southern Utah sophomore quarterback Brad Sorensen in the pocket, and possibly dragging him down. Sorensen is a big fella at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds.

5. Showing off Schober: Sounds silly, but one of the most exciting things to watch in fall camp was first-year player and junior linebacker Oliver Schober of Germany boot the ball on kickoffs. His ability to kick the ball into and through end zone was one of the biggest highlights and positives that came from camp. And as a linebacker, he’s not afraid to run down and make a tackle. Kickoffs normally are not that fun to watch, but watching Schober is.

Southern Utah has some good players and UW won’t be picture-perfect. But it still will be impressive and the fans will leave the seventh night game in War Memorial Stadium history happy and hopeful.

Wyoming 38, Southern Utah 16

Join me at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the live blog for the game. Here is the link http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2010/09/01/live-blog-wyoming-vs-southern-utah/

Week 1 depth chart is out

No big surprises among the starters and backups. This first depth chart pretty much held true from the start of fall camp in early August. Here is the link to the depth chart: http://www.wyomingathletics.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/wyo/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/depth-chart

Some things that caught my eye:

–The two junior-college defensive tackles: Kurt Taufa’asau and B.J. Sumter are both No. 3. Taufa’asau worked with the No. 2s a lot during camp. Sophomore Ben Durbin and true freshman Tyler Strong are the backups behind sophomore Mike Purcell and redshirt freshman Patrick Mertens.

“Both those kids have a redshirt year and we think they can be great prospects here,” Christensen said. “If we can redshirt them and they had a year to grow in our program they both could be impact players for us.”

Christensen added the decision to redshirt those two isn’t final, merely and option at this point.

–The depth chart listed sophomore James Caraway and true freshman Robert Herron as the No. 1 kickoff return duo. But during his news conference Christensen said sophomore outside linebacker Ghaali Muhammad will join Caraway. He said it was an “executive decision.” Herron is still in the mix, but Christensen wanted a more experienced player out there in Muhammad.

Last year’s top duo was cornerback Marcell Gipson and running back Alvester Alexander. Both averaged between 22 and 23 yards per return. Gipson said he was disappointed not to be returning kicks, but understood the move when the coaches told him they wanted to keep him on the field more as a cornerback. Alexander is the only running back on the roster with game experience.

–UW will have a linebacker return kicks in Muhammad and a linebacker kicking the ball off in junior Oliver Schober.

“I’m glad we’ve got a guy that can kick (the ball) in the end zone, and it doesn’t matter that he plays linebacker and looks like Vin Diesel.”

Schober also is listed as the backup behind junior Brian Hendricks at middle linebacker, and Christensen said Schober will play in the opener.

As far as the possiblity of getting Hendricks and Schober on the field at the same time, Christensen said: “I don’t know. We’ll have to see.” Christensen later said it’s a possibility both will play at the same time.

–Secondary coach Alex Grinch said the first cornerback to come off the bench in passing situations will be true freshman Marqueston Huff. Huff also is listed as the backup behind junior Tashaun Gipson.

–The Cowboys played 12 true freshmen and started eight last year. According to the two-deep heading into this game the only freshman starter is Mertens, but he is a redshirt freshman and was in the program last season.

–As far as the No. 2s go on offense and defense, 15 of the 22 have never played in a game at UW, including all five offensive linemen. Three are true freshmen: Huff, Strong and right tackle Justin DiRe.

–Christensen said he doesn’t plan to rotate guys in and out along the offensive line right now.

“I like our second guys, but our first five are definitely our first five at this point and time,” he said.

See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more on UW’s first depth chart and other news and notes.

And a reminder that I will have a live chat at 3 p.m. Friday to discuss the Cowboys’ opener and anything else UW or sports related. A link will be posted later this week. And I will live blog Saturday’s season-opener beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Scrimmage No. 3 update

The offense finally came to life for Wyoming in its third scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning in Laramie.

The No. 1 offense scored 17 points on its three possessions. Sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was 11 of 13 for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 26 yards on four carries.

“I knew we had it the whole time. But then two (scrimmages) in a row it doesn’t happen and you wonder where it went and when will it come out again,” Carta-Samuels said. “It came out  today. I knew we were going to be fine, it’s good to see it come out today rather than in Week 1 or Week 2.”

Carta-Samuels threw an 11-yard TD pass to junior Jonathan Aiken in the back of the end zone in the first quarter. During a two-minute drill near the end of the scrimmage, he connected with senior David Leonard for 15 yards. Leonard did most of the work on his own.

“(Carta-Samuels) played well and made good decisions with the football,” coach Dave Christensen said. “I thought he did a lot of good things. He used his feet well, he made good throws, he protected the football. He had a good day.”

So did all of the offensive units with 345 yards and 6.5 yards per play. They also didn’t have a turnover and didn’t commit a penalty (or at least one that was accepted).

Christensen would like to see better play from his red zone offense, and said that will be worked on a lot leading up to the season-opener in two weeks against Southern Utah.

The No. 1 defense didn’t allow any points, but Christensen didn’t like the fact the No. 2 offense drove it 65 yards in 12 plays on its second possession. A blocked field goal by senior Marcell Gipson kept the offense off the board.

Some other notes and observations:

–True freshman Robert Herron looked good at running back, and took several snaps with the starters. He finished with 17 yards on four carries, and caught one pass for 31 yards.

“I want to watch the video and make sure he’s running hard and making the right cuts,” Christensen said. “He protected the ball and took some shots. I would like to see him do some more Wednesday in our next scrimmage.”

See more on Herron in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com

–Oliver Schober had the play of the scrimmage. The junior middle linebacker returned a Dax Crum interception 59 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the day. Schober is playing with the starters as junior Brian Hendricks recovers from an injury.

“It’s a normal competition but (Hendricks) has been helping me a lot and I have a lot of respect for that man,” Schober said.

Schober also had three kickoffs all go into the end zone.

“I still have to work on that and my consistency so I kick every one out (of the endzone),” he said.

–Junior Austin McCoy struggled kicking field goals. He was 3 of 6 with a long of 32. He had a 23-yarder blocked. He will kick in the season-opener as sophomore Ian Watts serves a one-game suspension. Watts made all seven if his field-goal attempts. McCoy was 4 of 6 last year in field goals, but all of his makes were from 20 to 29 yards.

–True freshman quarterback Emory Miller Jr., continues to look good with the No. 3 offense. He had a 21-yard touchdown pass to true freshman receiver C.J. Morgan, and he was the second-leading rusher with 27 yards on four carries.

–No injuries were reported.

For more on the scrimmage, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Also what WyoSports senior columnist/writer Bob Hammond thinks of BYU and its actions this past week.

Thanks to those who joined me for the live blog today during the scrimmage. It was a blast as always. We will do it again Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. for the final one.