Makransky taking advantage of opportunities this spring at CB

After signing day in February of 2014, cornerback Anthony Makransky was home in Friendswood, Texas, still looking for a place to play college football.

Anthony Makransky

Anthony Makransky

Through the aid of a recruiting service, his highlight tape ended up at Wyoming. Makransky came to Laramie as a walk-on, and less than a year later, he is listed as a starter for the Cowboys heading into its second spring scrimmage at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“He’s definitely a competitor. He pays attention to detail and doing all the little things right,” UW cornerbacks coach John Richardson said. “We’re focusing this year doing the things that take no effort correctly, and he’s doing those things in terms of running to the football and attempting to make plays. We’re looking at guys willing to compete day in and day out, and he’s doing those thins. He’s shown up very impressively so far.”

Makransky had two tackles and broke up one pass in UW’s first scrimmage last Saturday. Right now, he’s ahead of redshirt freshman C.J. Jennings — who is on scholarship — on the depth chart.

“I was so happy, but at the same time, (safeties coach Curt Mallory) and coach Richardson preach open competition,” Makransky said. “Every single day is a grind. Every single day you have to have the same intensity and attention to detail.”

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What to take from Wyoming’s first scrimmage of spring drills

Normally after Wyoming football or basketball games I will post my three takes or other observations.

Since the Cowboys’ first scrimmage of spring drills was closed to the public and media Saturday, it’s hard to do that, but I can offer you some stats, quotes and a couple of opinions based off those items.

First, here’s coach Craig Bohl after the scrimmage:

The offense ran for 226 yards — averaged 4.6 yards per carry — and the passing game was 13 of 38 for 136 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Bohl said he liked how sophomore running back Brian Hill ran the ball, but he had only five carries for 15 yards. Sophomore Josh Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans led the Cowboys with 65 and 51 yards, respectively. I would think UW has a good idea of what Hill and senior Shaun Wick can do at running back (Wick had 40 yards on seven carries and lost a fumble).

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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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UW spring football roundup – Day 1

It was back to work Monday for the Wyoming football team as it held its first of 15 spring practices.

UW used both its indoor facility and War Memorial Stadium for its workout, which lasted a little more than two hours. Players will be in shorts and helmets for the first two practices. They won’t be in full pads until the third practice on Saturday.

Here are some highlights from the first practice. Media is allowed to stay for only the first 30 minutes.


A few points of observation from Day 1:

–UW did some walk-through work prior to the start of practice and the guys who got most of the reps with the No. 1 offense along the offensive line were sophomore Ryan Cummings (left tackle), junior Chase Roullier (left guard), sophomore Charlie Renfree (center), redshirt freshman Richard Bettencourt (right guard) and sophomore Taylor Knestis (right tackle). Another who got in some work on the left side was sophomore tackle Kurtis Stirneman.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

–Senior Cameron Coffman always seemed to be the first guy when the quarterbacks did individual drills, and he also worked with the No. 1 offense the most of the other four guys. What that means this early in spring is debatable, but I still believe he is the guy to beat in terms of UW’s starting quarterback.

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Three concerns for Wyoming football heading into spring drills

Are you ready for some football?

Wyoming is, and it starts spring drills Monday. It will be culminated by its spring game on Saturday, April 25.

I will have an analysis piece and feature in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and also at wyosports.net with more on UW spring football in terms of things to watch, etc.

But for now, here are my top three concerns for the Cowboys heading into spring:

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

1. Linebacker: Other than junior Lucas Wacha, there really isn’t much experience at any of the three linebacker spots. Senior Malkaam Muhammad returns, but even though he’s played in 17 games over his career, it mostly has been on special teams. Players and coaches have raved about Wacha this offseason, and he’s up to about 218 pounds now compared to 205 last season. Wacha will be the middle linebacker this season, and 218 pounds is awful small for that position. However, Wacha has shown that size doesn’t always matter for him as he’s been productive over his first two seasons along the outside. Muhammad must show he can play consistently well. Several players have switched positions and moved to linebacker. I think one of the outside spots will be secured by

Will Tutein

Will Tutein

junior Will Tutein, who moved over from safety. Tutein played more of a linebacker in UW’s final game against New Mexico last season, and he has good athletic ability to play there. Also will be curious to see how junior Eric Nzeocha makes the transition from receiver/tight end to linebacker. The brother of former UW linebacker Mark Nzeocha, Eric has some good natural ability and athleticism. How he makes the transition from offense to defense will be interesting. If I had to guess right now, those would be the three guys I think would be the starters coming out of spring.

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UW-Florida Atlantic postgame thoughts

Will say this for Wyoming, it likes to do things the hard way — and do them late.

An 88-yard pass to senior receiver Dominic Rufran from senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard led to an 18-yard game-winning field goal by senior kicker Stuart Williams with 15 seconds to play as UW beat Florida Atlantic 20-19 Saturday.

Didn’t get video of the Rufran catch, or the turnover the Cowboys forced prior to that on a FAU fumble by junior quarterback Jaquez Johnson. Senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha forced the fumble, and senior linebacker Jordan Stanton recovered it.

Here’s is UW’s final few offensive plays, and Williams’ game-winning field goal:


Do you see a theme with the heroes of the game for UW? See my column in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net to read that.

A couple of other thoughts from the game:

–The Cowboys’ defense was great, as Florida Atlantic only scored one touchdown in five chances in the red zone. That one time was set up by a 65-yard punt return by Lefty Whitehead. Here is video of that and some other highlights from the third quarter — not many highlights for the Cowboys.

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UW fall camp – Day 8

Monday marked the eighth day of fall camp for Wyoming, and it will practice twice today.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

But there was some sad news as sophomore punter Ethan Wood will be away from the team for a while because his parents, John and Resia, died in a plane crash over the weekend in Iowa. According to UW’s Facebook page, the Woods’ were coming back from Michigan where they were visiting one of their other sons, Josh, who is an assistant football coach at Michigan Tech.

Woods is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in his first season as UW’s punter last season — and his first punting the ball, period, he averaged 42 yards per punt.

That prompted the return of senior kicker Stuart Williams to camp. Williams was not part of the first week of camp and the 105-man roster so first-year coach Craig Bohl and his staff could look at other guys. Bohl said it was good to have Williams back in camp, and added he made a 55-yard field goal at the end of practice.

Here is more from Bohl after Monday morning’s practice:


Williams is the only punter and kicker available in camp right now. Junior Justin Martin, Williams’ backup at kicker, is out with a sprained ankle.

UW began practice with some 11-on-11 work. Redshirt senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard — still the probable starter — threw completed a deep ball of 40 or 50 yards to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry. Gentry later made a nice catch along the sideline.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

Kirkegaard and sophomore backup Tom Thornton were the only quarterbacks that took snaps during that period. Kirkegaard also was wearing a camera attached to his helmet. It was done by UW athletics and footage will likely be posted on its website later today. It has been dubbed “Colby Cam.”

Sophomore cornerback Tim Hayes got drilled on a blitz after a nice block by redshirt sophomore running back D.J. May. Bohl said some new blitzes were introduced Monday, and he liked what he saw. He said it caused the offense some problems.

Senior right tackle Connor Rains was with the No. 1 offense after missing some time with an injury last week. Sophomore left tackle Nathan Leddige (concussion) is still out, but was at practice watching. Junior Austin Traphagan ran with the No. 1 offense at left tackle.

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UW fall camp – Day 6

Wyoming’s first period of its Saturday morning practice was some 11-on-11 work.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said he often does this because it is a good — and difficult — drill for the quarterbacks because there is a lot of “chaos” going on. It allows them to think things through and prepare for what might happen in the early portions of any game. In this case, it is for the season-opener three weeks from today against Montana.

There was a good mix of the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and twos vs. twos.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

No big surprises with the No. 1 offense. Redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard took all the snaps with the ones. UW is still without their two starting right tackles in sophomore Nathan Leddige (left) and senior Connor Rains (right) due to head and concussion issues. Rains was at Saturday morning’s practice in uniform, and Bohl said he didn’t have a concusssion Leddige was not at the practice, and does have a concussion.

Redshirt freshman Kurtis Stirneman was on the left side and junior Austin Traphagan on the right with the No. 1 offense. With the twos it looked like true freshman Ryan Cummings on the left and redshirt freshman Taylor Knestis on the right.

Added Bohl on the offensive line: “I’d say of all the position groups on the field that is unsettled, that’s it.”

UW practiced in shoulder pads and helmets, so there was no tackling. The No. 1 defense recorded a few sacks. Senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha had one.

Jake Maulhardt

Jake Maulhardt

For the second-teamers, sophomore quarterback Tom Thornton thew a nice deep ball to sophomore receiver Jake Maulhardt.

Kirkegaard and Thornton were the only quarterbacks who took snaps during that team period.

Saw a handful of true freshmen get some time with the No. 2 units. On offense, there was Cummings along the line, and tight ends Brinkley Jolley and Grant Lewis. Defensively, there was cornerbacks Robert Priester and Ryon’e Winters, and safety Chavez Pownell Jr.

UW lists three positions on defense with an “or” in terms of the starters. For this team period, senior middle linebacker Jordan Stanton, senior outside linebacker Devyn Harris and sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby worked with the first team. However, their backups — senior Alex Borgs, sophomore Lucas Wacha and sophomore Uso Olive — all played a lot. Bohl said among the linebacker, Stanton and Harris are likely to be the starters. He also said Appleby and Olive both will play a lot, along with the starter and backup at defensive tackle. The starter is senior Patrick Mertens. The backup is unknonw, but redshirt junior Troy Boyland appears to be the favorite.

After that team period UW went into some individual drill work, and here are some video highlights from that:


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Thoughts of UW football depth chart entering fall camp

Wyoming released its football depth chart prior to the start of fall camp, which begins Monday.

There wasn’t much change from this depth chart compared to the one that was released in April after spring drills.

Dominic Rufran

Dominic Rufran

Senior receiver Dominic Rufran was listed in the most updated depth chart as the starter at one of the two receiver spots. Rufran missed spring drills recovering from a broken foot suffered during winter workouts, and was not listed on the depth chart coming out of spring. But as the team’s leading returning receiver, and with a chance to be among the top five all-time at UW in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns with a solid season in 2014, it is no surprise Rufran is a starter.

There is only one fullback listed in redshirt freshman Drew Van Maanen. Sophomore Brandon Lukenbill, a walk-on, did not return after school ended in May. First-year coach Craig Bohl said some true freshmen walk-ons will get looks at full back in fall camp.

Speaking of true freshmen, none of those guys that came in this summer are listed on the latest depth chart. How many will make it into the two-deep by the time UW hosts Montana Aug. 30  will be interesting.

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UW football recruiting visits this weekend

Here is a list of known football recruits that will visit Wyoming this weekend:

RB Alex Gardner, 5-10, 185, Jacksonville, Fla. (Raines HS) — Three-star rating out of five by 247sports.com and Scout.com. … Offers from UW, Florida Atlantic (visiting next week), Middle Tennessee (visited last week) State, Troy UAB and several FCS schools. 1,006 rushing yards as a senior and 949 as a junior with 18 touchdowns over those two years. … Listed as an all-purpose back who caught 359 yards in passes, and also returns punts and kickoffs.

RB Nico Evans, 5-7, 177, Los Angeles (Loyola HS): 724 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and 1,283 over the last two seasons. … Listed to run a 4.69 40. … A two-start rating by Rivals.com. … Has an offer from Penn of the Ivy League. … MW schools such as Boise State, Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State have shown some interest but made no offers.

CB Lee Crosby, 6-0, 190, Snow College (Utah) — Has 17 offers, including UW, from FBS and FCS schools. Some of his FBS offers are from Idaho, New Mexico, Southern Miss, Toledo and Texas State. Has 4.4-second speed in the 40.

QB Austin Fort, 6-4, 210, Gillette (Campbell County HS) — Verbally committed to UW

DE John Jackson Jr., 6-4, 265, Tucson, Ariz. (Canyon Del Oro HS)

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