UW quarterbacks take their hits in second scrimmage

Most of the time, quarterbacks are off limits in terms of being hit during practices or scrimmages.

Not Saturday for the four University of Wyoming quarterbacks in the Cowboys’ second scrimmage of spring drills.

Quarterbacks were live, and did take some hits.

“That first hit I took was a little bit of a shock,” said senior Sam Stratton, who was 7 of 10 for 69 yards and touchdown passes to sophomore receiver Nico Brown and sophomore running back Omar Stover. “It had been a while, and it was like ‘okay, we’re playing tackle football.’ It felt good, and after that first hit your brain goes into a different place.”

Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard was 8 of 12 for 126 yards and a touchdown to senior receiver Keenan Montgomery. Kirkegaard’s long pass was 50 yards to Montgomery. Stratton said he didn’t remember who hit him, but Kirkegaard remembered his first hit by senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha on a run up the middle.

“That first hit wakes you up a little bit and you realize you don’t have that blue jersey on and will just get tagged on the shoulder instead of being hit. It’s real football.”

Kirkegaard had ice on his right throwing shoulder after the scrimmage and during interviews with the media, but he said he does that after every game and practice.

Sophomore Aaron Young was 3 of 12 for 28 yards, and sophomore Tom Thornton was 4 of 5 for 45 yards and a touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said he wants to look at the film before making an evaluation on the quarterbacks. Bohl is expected to release a “fluid” depth chart as early as Monday. The scrimamge was closed to the public and media, but here is what Bohl told the media about the scrimmage:


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Bohl impressed with veteran defensive ends

One of the first things first-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said that stood out about Saturday’s first spring practice in full pads (third overall) was the play of two veteran defensive ends — senior Sonny Puletasi and junior Eddie Yarbrough.

“That was real encouraging,” said Bohl on both players so far this spring. “We have some seasoned and veteran guys there, and it is important for them to get acclimated to the 4-3. Their leadership on the field has been good. We are young inside, but I’ve seen our ends pop up.”

Yarbrough led all of UW’s defensvie linemen last season with 89 tackles. He also had team-highs with 12 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as he earned First Team All-Mountain West honors.

Puletasi, who switched his jersey number from 12 to 50 this season, had 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season. Puletasi has started in 21 games.

Here are some highlights from the defense from Saturday’s practice:

Bohl said no one has stood out among the five quarterbacks this spring. “We have a lot of work to do there,” Bohl added. We’re putting in a lot of offense. I think the guys are paying attention to detail, but it’s not easy.”

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UW’s offensive depth chart for Nebraska

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen will release his first depth chart of the season Monday.

But I thought I would take a shot of predicting how it will look now, starting with the offense. Look for the defense and special teams to come later this weekend. As always, I welcome your comments, thoughts and questions.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

Brett Smith, Jr., 6-3, 206

Jason Thompson, So., 6-2, 206

Colby Kirkegaard, Sr., 6-3, 205

Tommy Thornton, Fr., 6-1, 205

Notes: There was never a doubt Smith would be the starter. In three fall camp scrimmages Smith was 39-55 for 553 yards with nine TDs and one INT. … Thompson also had a solid camp. He was 33-49 for 440 yards with four TDs and two INTs. … There was good competition at the No. 3 spot. I give Kirkegaard the edge based on his experience, but it would not surprise me if Thornton is No. 3 on Monday.

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UW scrimmage news and notes

VIDEO INTERVIEWS FROM SUNDAY’S SCRIMMAGE

DAVE CHRISTENSEN: http://youtu.be/nwMkzrSv11Q

TRYAN FINLEY: http://youtu.be/lsgnmSirUHU

Want another Wyoming wide receiver to talk about?

How about senior Jarrod Darden.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior who transferred from Colorado but is eligible this season

Jarrod Darden

Jarrod Darden

because he graduated from CU in the spring, caught three passes for 95 yards and a touchdown working with the No. 2 offense during Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

His TD catch was 46 yards, and he had a nice one-handed catch for 40 yards later on. All of his catches came from sophomore backup quarterback Jason Thompson.

“They have me in the slot, which I haven’t played before, and this is a new kind of offense for me,” Darden said. “I played in more of a pro-style offense at Colorado, but I like this offense a lot.”

Darden said he transferred from Colorado because he went through three coaching changes in four years, and he was simply “tired of it.”

Darden said he looked for schools that threw the ball a lot, and UW fit the description.

“At Colorado I was burried on the depth chart and a new coach was coming in. I wanted to go a school that wanted me and could use me. Right now I feel like I can contribute. If I keep making plays, hopefully they can use me.

“This is the best I felt during camp in a while. I am getting feedback and reps. I will enjoy this day, but our first two-a-days are Monday so I can’t enjoy it for long before it is time to get back to work.”

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Christensen wants team to be more physical

Saturday was the first day Wyoming practiced in full pads during fall camp, and one of the first things fifth-year coach Dave Christensen talked to his team about was being more physical.

He also addressed that with the media after practice.

“We have to be more physical,” he said. “At times we were, but it is something you have to do consistently. We will keep working on it. I was pleased with effort, but we have to be a more physical football team.”

Here is a video link to a few highlights of one of the team periods from Saturday’s practice.

Newcomers working their way up

Junior-college transfer Tyran Finley and true freshman Timmy Hayes worked with the No. 2 defense at cornerback during team periods Saturday, as did true freshman Xavier Lewis and redshirt freshman Cortland Fort at the safety spots.

Lewis and Fort both had interceptions during practice.

“They are competing well and the competition level there is rising,” Christensen said.

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Cowboys Camp: Day 2

A lot of the same from Wyoming’s second day of fall camp Wednesday morning in Laramie.

But here is a video link of a couple of plays during an 11-on-11 team period early in practice.


The team practiced for the second straight day in shorts, jerseys and helmets. It puts on the shoulder pads for the first time Thursday.

It was announced Tuesday that junior Riley Lange moved from tight end to defensive

Riley Lange

Riley Lange

end — the position he was recruited for when he signed in 2010. Since then he has played defensive tackle, fullback/H-back and tight end. Lange went to the coaches and asked to move back to defensive end a few weeks before the start of fall camp. He should provide depth there, and took some reps with the No. 1 defense during team periods Wednesday.

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Cowboys camp: Day 1

A couple of links to video highlights of UW’s first practice of fall camp:


Wyoming’s first practice of fall camp was pretty uneventful as the team worked out for just under two hours Tuesday morning in just helmets and shorts.

“I thought it was a good practice,” coach Dave Christensen said. “There was good energy level and intensity. We are not used to practicing on grass, and need to get used to the footing a little bit. We dropped too many balls, but we will get that fixed.”

UW practiced on the fields south of War Memorial Stadium. During the season it practices in the stadium’s artificial surface. The Cowboys have not played a game on grass since Oct. 29, 2011 at San Diego State.

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UW depth chart heading into fall camp

Wyoming released its summer prospectus for the upcoming football season, which included a depth chart heading into fall camp in early August.

No real surprises, but here are a couple of interesting notes:

Omar Stover

Omar Stover

–True freshman running back Omar Stover is second behind senior Brandon Miller, who missed the spring recovering from a broken arm. Stover is ahead of sophomores Shaun Wick and D.J. May, who all played and started games last season as true freshmen. Expect Miller, Stover, May and Wick to play this season, but Stover’s move up was impressive.

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Spring offensive leaders/analysis for Cowboys

Here are some of Wyoming’s offensive statistical leaders from three scrimmages and its spring game, which was last Saturday.

Passing

Brett Smith

Brett Smith

Brett Smith              44-70 (62.8 percent) 661 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT

Jason Thompson     51-74 (68.9 percent) 568 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT

Colby Kirkegaard    20-35 (57.1 percent) 259 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Tommy Thornton     15-31 (48.3 percent) 158 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

My thoughts: Smith is hands down the starter. Thompson has a lot of ability and potential, but remember, he has not been in college a full year yet and he came in after running a Wing-T offense in high school. He still has a lot of development to go. Nonetheless, UW has two quality guys at this spot. Kirkegaard should be the No. 3 guy heading into fall camp, and is a senior. Thornton showed good arm strength in the spring.

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Roullier stabilizes center position for Pokes

Wyoming has struggled to find a center this spring, but it may have found its guy in redshirt freshman Chase Roullier.

The former guard took most of the snaps with the No. 1 offense during Monday’s practice.

“He’s been the most consistent so far this spring,” coach Dave Christensen said.

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