Wyoming 28, Hawaii 21 OT – postgame thoughts

It wasn’t always pretty, in fact, it was ugly more often than not, but Wyoming’s 28-21 overtime win over Hawaii Saturday night was big because I got the sense if UW had lost that game it would have been very tough to recover from, despite eight more regular-season games to play.

It doesn’t mean that UW will go on a long winning streak now, although anything is possible. But to me, the way the Cowboys persevered though the game to get a win showed a lot of grit and toughness.

Here are the late-game highlights, including the game-winning plays in overtime:

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Wyoming vs. Gardner-Webb pregame primer

As always, let’s start with my No. 1 key for Wyoming in Saturday’s home-opener, which kicks off at 2 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium and will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.

Be good up front: Wyoming needs to win the battle along the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively. You can say this in any game, but it’s critical for the Cowboys today. The offensive line must open holes for the run game that gained only 59 yards last week at Iowa. It also must keep junior quarterback Josh Allen upright and prevent him from being hit. Defensively, the line must be disruptive and not allow Gardner-Webb to get its run game going. The Runnin’ Bulldogs want to run the ball to open things up for its play-action pass and for dual-threat senior quarterback Tyrell Maxwell to run or throw.

More keys and info on the game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net

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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. 21

Wednesday was a day for mental and fundamental work as the Cowboys practiced outside on the practice fields south of War Memorial Stadium in spiders (lighter shoulder pads), helmets and shorts.

The best news was there were no new injuries to report.

Here’s what fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said after practice.

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What to interpret from UW’s post-spring depth chart

Wyoming football released its post-spring depth chart earlier this week. For a look at it, click the link below:

http://wyo-platform-prod.silverchalice.co/v3/files/59026264e4b08ff5edddbf00

To me there were not a lot of big surprised, but a couple of small ones.

Milo Hall

At running back, I was both a little surprised and happy to see sophomore Milo Hall as the starter — not that I have anything against the other two guys: junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet. But based on what the coaches said throughout spring, all three backs will play this season and the competition will continue into fall camp. That’s not saying Hall’s No. 1 spot is a fluke. But as I’ve written before, I think this will be a running back by committee type year for UW, and the guy who is playing the best will get the majority of the carries.

It’s the same deal at tight end. Juniors Josh Harshman of Casper or Austin Fort of Gillette — according to the depth chart — would start if there was a game played right now. Junior Tyree Mayfield is third. UW played three tight ends last season, even though senior Jacob Hollister was by far the go-to guy in the pass game. Harshman, Fort and Mayfield all will play, and likely will play a lot this season. Although, I will say it’s nice to see two Wyoming kids doing well at that position.

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Easter candy rundown: Wyoming football players weigh in on their favorites

Happy Easter everyone, and the significance and importance of this day goes beyond anything written on this blog.

However, this blog also is meant to be fun so as we approach Easter Sunday, I asked a hard-hitting question to some of the Wyoming football players and coaches — their favorite Easter candy.

Here are the results:

— Sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe: Carmel eggs

Junior quarterback Josh Allen: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Junior safety Marcus Epps: Reese’s peanut butter cups

Sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall: Snickers

Junior offensive lineman Cole Turner: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen: Cadbury eggs

Junior offensive tackle Zach Wallace: “Chocolate bunnies, but not the hollow ones, ones that are solid chocolate.”

Sophomore linebacker Cassh Malauia: Reece’s

Sophomore wide receiver C.J. Johnson: Skittles

Defensive ends coach AJ Cooper: “Reese’s peanut butter eggs. “My wife gets a bag of those and they’re gone.”

Junior tight end Tyree Mayfield: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Redshirt sophomore running back Kellen Overstreet: “I am lactose intolerant, but if I could I would go with things like Kit-Kats. But I also will eat some Laffy Taffy or things like that.”

Junior quarterback Nick Smith: Chocolate Easter eggs and the white chocolate Resse’s peanut butter cups.

Senior outside linebacker Jalen Ortiz: Anything chocolate.

Me: Reese’s peanut butter eggs, bunnies, etc. Can’t go wrong with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter ever!

Sophomore safety Alijah Halliburton: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Redshirt freshman defensive end Garrett Crall: Starburst jelly beans

Sophomore running back Milo Hall: Chocolate bunny

Junior running back Nico Evans: Skittles

Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton and son, Bode: Reese’s peanut butter cups

How about you?

Hope everyone out there has a Happy Easter.

Thoughts on first week of spring practice for UW football

One week down, four to go.

Wyoming completed its first week of spring football practice Saturday in War Memorial Stadium. Saturday’s practice marked the first one in full pads.

Here’s what fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said after practice:

Media members are allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of each practice, so there isn’t a ton of specific information I can provide, but here are some of the things that stood out to me after the first week:

— A lot of people ask me who made the most gains weight-wise from the end of last season until now. UW’s spring roster lists weights from last season. But I can tell you that junior offensive tackle Zach Wallace, who played at 297 last season, is up to around 310 this spring. All of UW’s tight ends did well in the weight room. I hardly recognized junior Josh Harshman when I went to the first practice. He looks a lot thicker, and I’ve been told he is around 235-237 pounds. He was in the 220s last season. Also, junior safety Marcus Epps looks a lot thicker.

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Poinsettia Bowl postgame thoughts

It wasn’t the ending players, coaches and fans wanted, but if anything, UW’s 24-21 loss to Brigham Young in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl was entertaining and exciting — at least in the second half.

The Cowboys (8-6) followed a familiar pattern as the season concluded. Slow or sluggish starts to games — even extending to the first half and third quarter — and then a furious rally late.

But just like in the 27-24 loss to San Diego State in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 3, that rally fell short.

Some initial thoughts/observations:

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

— Disappointing to see junior running back Brian Hill benched for the first quarter by third-year coach Craig Bohl, who said after the game it was a “coach’s decision.” Obviously, Hill didn’t do anything earth-shattering wrong, but disappointing to see. Would things have changed if he played? Maybe, maybe not. Hill played well when he returned (93 yards, 1 TD, and one catch for 19 yards). I thought senior Shaun Wick played really well — even when Hill returned. Wick had 13 carries for 55 yards and caught one pass for six yards.

— Sunny San Diego didn’t live up to its hype. Yeah, the game was at night but it rained like crazy in the first half. Both teams had to play in it, but it definitely affected UW the worst. A bobbled snap on a punt (the snap was good) and a botched hold on a field goal (the snap was good) cost UW dearly. Other shortcomings cost UW, but those special teams gaffs hurt a lot.

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MW Championship Football Game – pregame primer

Are you ready for some championship football — in Laramie?

For the first time in school history, Wyoming hosts a conference championship game as it takes on San Diego State at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The winner will be crowned 2016 Mountain West champs.

This is UW’s first home football game in the month of December since 1902.

First, here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

Adjusting on the fly: Both teams played each other two weeks ago so they have a good idea of what each other is about. However, both squads will tweak or change a few things, and the team that adjusts the best and fastest will have a significant edge.

For more keys, and more coverage leading up to today’s game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

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Allen has a new favorite throw; other UW football notes

Last week, Wyoming redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen’s 27-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry in the fourth quarter against then No. 13 Boise

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

State was his most memorable throw. In fact, Allen told me Monday that at the time, that throw was “the best I’ve made in my life.”

Fast-forward to a week later and Allen has new one.

Allen said the 46-yard touchdown pass he threw to Gentry late in the first half of the Cowboys’ 52-28 win over Utah State moved to the top of his list. Allen scrambled to his left, and the right-hander threw a dart to Gentry who was able to drag his feet in bounds.

“That was a tough throw to make. Maybe nine times out of 10 I don’t make it, but it only needed to be made once,” Allen said.

Allen threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth against Utah State. He was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Logan Wilson was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week. It is the second straight week UW has had the MW Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. Last week it was senior tight end Jacob Hollister and senior nose tackle Chase Appleby.

It also is the third consecutive week UW has had the MW Offensive Player of the Week. On Oct. 24 junior running back Brian Hill got it.

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