Former Cowboy Nevermann now at North Dakota, but not playing this week

Former Wyoming football player Oscar Nevermann is now playing for North Dakota, and ironically, those two teams open the season at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Oscar Nevermann

Oscar Nevermann

Nevermann, who is from Sweden and a junior at UND, came to UW as a running back and was moved to linebacker before he left.

Normally when a player transfers from an FBS school, like UW, to a FCS school, like North Dakota, they can play right away without having to sit out a year. But that’s not the case for Nevermann.

UW coach Craig Bohl and UW sports information director Tim Harkins both said Tuesday that UW athletics has a policy that states if a player transfers to a school that’s on the Cowboys’ schedule the following season, that player must sit out a year.

“That’s standard procedure, and it wasn’t any decision I made,” Bohl said.

Tom Miller, who covers North Dakota football for the Grand Forks Herald, told me via email that Nevermann was in fall camp for UND, and “looked pretty good at running back.” Miller also said that UND folks feel Bohl is being difficult because of the North Dakota-North Dakota State rivalry. As most of you know, Bohl coached at North Dakota State for 11 years from 2003-13 before coming to UW. However, UND and NDSU only played once when Bohl was the NDSU coach, and that was in 2003. North Dakota State made the move from Division II to Division I-AA. North Dakota waited a few years before it made the switch.

I will have a Q&A with Miller later this week about the UW-UND game.

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Bach another in long line of German-born players on UW’s football roster

Wyoming has had a football player on its roster from Germany since 2011, and this season, junior linebacker Eric Nzeocha is competing for a starting spot at middle linebacker.

But there’s another German on the roster who also is competing for playing time at linebacker.

Luis Bach is a 6-foot-2, 208-pound true freshman from Burgoberbach, Germany. He enrolled at UW in January, and played high school-aged football in Germany with Eric Nzeocha and his older brother, Mark.

“Ever since the Nzeochas got over here I was interested in the program,” Bach said. “Mark, Eric and (former UW linebacker Alex Borgs — also from Germany) have all been talking to me and helping me out.”

Bach said some colleges in the United States wanted him to attend their football camps last summer to see him in person. He attended camps at UW and North Dakota State. Bach said he showed enough to the Cowboys’ coaching staff, despite pulling a hamstring, that they offered him a chance to walk on.

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UW spring football notes and quotes

Wyoming is nearly one-third of the way through spring practice. Here are a few notes and quotes that haven’t made this blog yet, or any of the other stories I’ve done to this point.

Seth Edeen

Seth Edeen

–UW coach Craig Bohl said sophomore defensive end Seth Edeen, a walk-on from Cheyenne and graduate of Cheyenne Central, had a good offseason and added about 15 pounds over the winter. During early walk-throughs from the first few practices, Edeen has been rotating in with some of the regular guys such as seniors Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Another guy rotating in is redshirt freshman Jonathan Kongbo. For more on him, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Josh Tapscott

Josh Tapscott

–To no one’s surprise, Bohl said senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill have stood out as UW’s top two running backs this spring. But as the Cowboys look for depth behind those two, the competition appears to be going well. “We’re probably the closest in terms of being friends. The competition level we have allows us to push other so much that it’s crazy. Nobody is going to get mad at each other. Everyone is pushing each other to be the best we can be as a position group.” — sophomore running back Josh Tapscott.

— “I’ll put my momma’s house on it that our defense is going to be ready to play,” senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. “One thing people overlook, we had a lot of seniors  go down and had a lot of young guys play. I’m definitely excited and confident that our guys are going to play well.”

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Bohl says Fresno State game was UW’s most complete effort this season

First-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl began his Monday news conference like he has the others this season — giving a quick recap of the previous game.

And he said the Cowboys’ 45-17 win at Fresno State last Saturday was his team’s most complete game in all three phases of the game this season.

Here is video of the entire news conference:


One question asked by the media that wasn’t on the video was about if there was renewed enthusiasm among the players after the win, and if thoughts or goals of getting bowl eligible with two more wins were being talked about.

Bohl said that hasn’t been an emphasis this season, and that the only goal this team has is to prepare to host Utah State Friday night.

Another good thing that came from the Fresno State game was no new injuries. However, Bohl said senior defensive ends Sonny Puletasi (leg) and Riley Lange (concussion), along with senior safety Jesse Sampson (knee) remain day-to-day. None of those three practiced Monday. UW defensive ends coach AJ Cooper wasn’t optimistic that Lange would play this week.

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No change on injury front for Cowboys

First-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl didn’t have a lot of updates regarding injuries prior to Tuesday’s practice, which was held outdoors in War Memorial Stadium.

Bohl said senior defensive end Sonny Puletasi (leg) and senior safety Jesse Sampson (knee) wouldn’t practice today. They will continue to be monitored throughout the week, but Bohl said even if they could play Saturday night at Fresno State, it would likely be in an emergency situation.

Redshirt freshman Tim Kamana and sophomore Will Tutein likely will start at both safety spots at Fresno State. Sophomore Xavier Lewis also will play. UW also will give true freshman cornerback Ryon’e Winters some snaps at safety this week..

Fresno State uses a lot of three and four wide receiver formations, which means UW could play a lot of nickel defense with more defensive backs in the game. That could help its depleted linebacking corps, who is without senior Mark Nzeocha (knee) and junior Malkaam Muhammad (elbow).

Senior linebacker Devyn Harris has played just about every linebacker position there is in his time at UW, and Bohl said Harris has been “a soldier” in terms being willing and able to learn multiple linebacker positions.

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Nzeocha latest to go down with season-ending injury

The news was expected, but still bad nonetheless.

Mark Nzeocha

Mark Nzeocha

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said prior to Tuesday’s practice that senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha is “extremely doubtful” to be back this season because of a knee injury suffered in the first half in last Saturday’s 27-20 overtime loss to San Jose State.

Nzeocha leads UW with 59 tackles, and also was one of the team’s better players on special teams.

“Mark played critical roles on the punt team and the kickoff coverage team, and we view all those things as critical as well,” Bohl said. “When all those defensive starters get hurt, typically there’s a residual effect that comes on special teams. We are preparing for that right now.”

Nzeocha joins senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White as defensive starters lost due to knee injuries. And, you can make a strong point that both guys are the two most important players on UW’s defense this season.

Nzeocha is a four-down linebacker who is good against the run and the pass. He played middle linebacker in nickel situations this season. White was the quarterback of the defense making calls and also making sure guys were lined up right.

The two combined for 101 tackles, six pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

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Bohl to see much improved Colorado State team Saturday

On Sept. 8, 2012, coach Craig Bohl took his North Dakota State team into Colorado State and beat the Rams 22-7.

That was the second game for then first-year Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, and the first of six straight losses for the Rams as they finished 4-8.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

A little more than two years later, Bohl will take another team to Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins. This time as the first-year coach at Wyoming. While some of the Rams’ players and coaches will be the same, Colorado State is a much different squad.

Different in the fact that it is the hottest team in the Mountain West. The Rams have won five straight games, are 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference and became the first bowl-eligible team in the MW after its 16-13 home win over Utah State last week. The Rams also have won 12 of their last 15 games dating back to last season.

“They’ve made great strides with the program and it will be a big challenge,” said Bohl during his Monday news conference.

“You look at their quarterback and (senior Garrett) Grayson’s a guy who’s played an awful lot of football; he’s got 27 starts. He’s throwing the football well and he’s got a great touchdown-to-interception ratio (16 touchdowns, five interceptions). He’s operated the offense very well and I’ve seen significant improvement in him personally the last couple of years.

“While they replaced an awful lot of offensive linemen, they’re playing well as a group together. And they got good skilled players. On defense they have a strong conviction in their scheme and what they’re doing. Probably their strongest part of their whole football team is their special teams. When you put all three of those phases together, you’ve got a solid football team that’s well coached and that’s why they’re receiving top 25 votes.”

Here is video of Bohl’s news conference from Monday:


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UW-San Jose State postgame thoughts

Another gut-wrenching loss for Wyoming, this time 27-20 in overtime to San Jose State at home this past Saturday.

I thought UW was fortunate it had a chance to in the game in regulation. It did little on offense until the fourth quarter. To its credit, it did make some plays then. The defense, despite a lot of injuries during the game, hung in there. It was one of the better games by the defensive line, especially junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough with eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Here’s first-year coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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UW-San Jose State football key to the game; other notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their homecoming game at 2 p.m. today against San Jose State at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium:

Possess the ball — and finish: Wyoming wants to wear teams down in the fourth quarter. To do that, it must possess the ball and finish drives. Even when the Cowboys can’t do that, they need to avoid a lot of three-and-outs and flip field position in the punt game. UW has a slight edge in time of possession this season at 30 minutes, 50 seconds, but it needs that figure to be around 34 or 35 minutes.

Yes, no? What do you think about this one?

Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph’s preview for today’s game.


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VIDEO: Mark Nzeocha

University of Wyoming senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha talks about the Cowboys’ defense through the first five games, and what needs to improve moving forward.

For analysis of the Cowboys through their first five games, and a look ahead to the final seven games, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Video by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports