UW spring football notes & quotes entering week No. 3

Wyoming spring football practice has hit about the midway point.

No final decisions on who will play and start in the 2019 opener against Missouri Aug. 31 have been decided, but even though the coaches won’t say as much, they likely have a good idea at some positions.

One concern this spring has been along the offensive line. UW lost junior guard Gavin Rush for the season with a torn ACL. That was a big blow to this group. Junior guard Logan Harris missed some time last week with a back injury, but is back at practice. Redshirt freshman Zach Watts has moved around between guard and tackle. Sophomore Keegan Cryder, who earned Freshman All-America honors last season as a center for the Cowboys, has been getting some reps at tackle. Cryder wasn’t supposed to do much this spring due to off-season knee surgery.

Not sure UW will have a lot of definite answers there coming out of spring, and it better hope junior tackle Alonzo Velasquez (knee) returns healthy for fall camp.

Because of the issues along the offensive line, UW hasn’t been able to double-rep much — if at all — this spring, meaning having two groups of offense vs. defense getting snaps.

“We’re a little bit behind where we normally would have been, but some springs are like this,” sixth-year coach Craig Bohl said.

— Last week I did a story on UW’s two most experienced interior defensive linemen in juniors Ravontae Holt and Javaree Jackson. When I asked UW defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis about who else is developing this spring behind Holt and Jackson, he mentioned a kid who may not see the field for the Cowboys, but had glowing things to say about — junior walk-on Justice Borton of Wheatland.

“Justice is so selfless, and that’s why he is a leader. He may not get on the field, and he knows that, but he will do anything for this team. The most important thing to him is we win on Saturdays. The team is more important to him than playing time. I can’t say enough about him. I am blessed to coaches all of these guys, but I love that kid. He is a rock in the locker room, and he’s going to pick people up.”

Borton has never played in a game for UW. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 272 pounds. He has practiced along both the offensive and defensive lines. Hard not to root for a kid like him, but any successful team needs guys like Borton.

— Another story I did last week was on senior wide receiver Austin Conway and his experience as a high school basketball official in Wyoming the last couple of years. Here is a link to that story in case you missed it.

Conway has been one of UW’s most productive and consistent receivers the last three years. This is what he said after I asked him his goals for his final season of playing college football.

“Trying to win a Mountain West championship and as many games as I can to leave a foundation for guys to continue on how coach Bohl wants to run this football team. Since I have been where we almost were MW champs, a bowl winner and not going to a bowl. I’ve seen it all. Stat-wise, I don’t care. I just wnat to win games. I want to come out with another couple of rings on my hand with a MW championship and a bowl win.”

— One last thing: I want to give a huge thank to you to Bohl. After practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays so far he has provided the media with dinner as we do interviews after practice. One night there was pizza, followed by sliders and fried oysters and then some barbecue. Bohl said it was for his appreciation to the media. As a media member for more than 25 years, it is very much appreciated.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

UW football players and coaches reveal their favorite Easter candy

Happy Easter weekend, everyone.

For any of you who read posts on this blog, I like to have a little fun on certain holidays. This week, I asked several Wyoming football players and coaches their favorite Easter candy. Here is what some of them said.

Cornerbacks coach John Richardson: Reese’s eggs.

Redshirt junior cornerback Antonio Hull: “I’d have to call my mom and ask her. I don’t eat candy now that I’m a college football player.”

Redshirt freshman cornerback Keyon Blankenbaker: Chocolate bunny.

Junior defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan: “I don’t know about Easter candy, but I love chocolate.

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Where UW football ranks among assistant coaches salaries

The USA Today does a great job of creating data bases to compare a lot of financial numbers in college athletics.

Its latest was listing assistant coaches salaries, and what schools spend on assistant salaries, among the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Here is the link to the entire data base:

http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/salaries/football/assistant

As for Wyoming, it spent $1,224,315 on salaries for its assistant coaches. The two highest paid coaches are the coordinators — Steve Stanard on defense ($203,375) and Brent Vigen on offense ($203,275).

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UW at San Diego State football: Notes, quotes and video

My top key for Wyoming Saturday at San Diego State; kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. MT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Good start: Something Wyoming hasn’t done much of this season. During their three-game losing streak the Cowboys have fallen behind 17-0 after the first quarter twice, and allowed 48 points in the first quarter in all three contests. UW needs to play its best game from start to finish to have a chance to win, but another poor start will lead to yet another double-digit loss. By the way, all of the Cowboys’ nine losses this season have been by double digits.

More keys and more preview stuff right here:

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Meet the Coach — Pete Kaligis

This is the first of a nine-part video series to get to know the new football coaching staff at the University of Wyoming.

The first is a familiar face, defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis, who coached offensive line and running backs from 2009-13 at UW under the previous coaching staff. Kaligis also was a co-offensive coordinator last season.


Check back to this blog and wyosports.net throughout spring football for more Meet the Coach video features.

VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic: Pete Kaligis

This is the seventh of a season-long series of video interviews with University of Wyoming football coaches, and how they teach and coach certain aspects of the game. This one features assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Pete Kaligis.

Kaligis has running backs Shaun Wick, Brandon Miller, Omar Stover and Tedder Easton go through some drills, and also features former UW player and current graduate assistant Ghaali Muhammad demonstrating a drill.

Check back to wyosports.net every week for this feature.

VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic: Dave Christensen

This is the first of a season-long series of video interviews with University of Wyoming football coaches, and how they teach and coach certain aspects of the game. This first one features head coach Dave Christensen, and how he and his staff approach game planning each week. Christensen, in his fifth-season, also is calling the offensive plays this season.

Check back to the blog and wyosports.net for this feature throughout the football season.

Wacha working to put on the pounds

Wyoming redshirt freshman Lucas Wacha came out of spring drills as the starter at weakside linebacker.

All 6-foot-1, 210 pounds of him.

Four days into fall camp Wacha has put on some weight. … about two to four pounds.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

It is not like Wacha isn’t trying to add weight. Linebackers coach Robin Ross said during UW’s media day on Friday that Wacha is required to be eating food every time he attends a team meeting or film session.

“Anything that has calories,” said Wacha when asked what he eats. “It ranges from fruit, to crackers, to chocolate. Anything having to do with weight.”

After a summer workout in July, Wacha came to do an interview eating out of a big jar of peanuts.

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