Jones earning more playing time at cornerback

Wyoming junior DeAndre Jones was one of two starting cornerbacks when fall camp started back in August.

But injuries and the emergence of some other players relegated Jones to a backup role.

DeAndre Jones

DeAndre Jones

Jones may not start in UW’s game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday against No. 17 Fresno State, but he will see the field.

“He definitely will play,” coach Dave Christensen said after Wednesday morning’s practice. “He’s done some good things.”

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D-line learning to play tired

First-year Wyoming defensive line coach Jamar Cain has been trying to teach his guys something from the first day he met them.

“We have to learn to play tired,” he said.

What does that mean? Here’s my video interview with Cain where he explains:


But basically, UW’s defensive linemen need to learn how to maintain their technique and fundamentals when they are tired because once those slip, then bad things happen.

And they get tired fast as there have been only six healthy and/or game-ready guys to play through the first five games.

The Cowboys may get a little help for this week’s homecoming game against New Mexico. Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Awrabi (foot) is listed as a backup behind sophomore Eddie Yarbrough. Cain hopes to get Awrabi about 10 plays. Awrabi has not played in a game for UW, and has been hurt pretty much the entire time he’s been on campus.

“He will make us better by playing and doing his job,” Cain said. “He’s been doing pretty good in practice. I’ve been keeping him after practice and working with him, and he’s been coming in on his own to watch film with me and our graduate assistant.”

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Backups take center stage for Cowboys

Tuesday’s Wyoming football practice started with about 50 minutes of work for the Cowboys’ veterans, which included some early instillation of the game plan for their Oct. 12 homecoming game with New Mexico.

The rest of it was for the backups. While the starters went in for about an hour of rehab and prehab work on their bodies with the medical and strength staffs, the No. 2 and No. 3 players got more work with the coaching staff in individual and team periods.

“It’s important because there are a lot of guys that are playing that are still getting better,” coach Dave Christensen said. “Now we get a chance to coach those guys and give them a lot of individual attention. It also gives guys down the road a chance to get developmental work in. It was a good practice. We got a lot of work done.”

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UW-Northern Colorado pregame notes

About an hour prior to kickoff here in Laramie and it is partly sunny/cloudy, temperatures in the mid to high 60s and everything is dry around here. Laramie didn’t get the rain like Cheyenne or parts of Colorado did the last few days.

There is chances of rain this afternoon, but the elements should not be a factor early on … if at all today.

Here are a couple of notes to watch for today’s game with Northern Colorado:

–Junior quarterback Brett Smith is one touchdown pass shy of tying Casey Bramlet (2000-03) for the most in school history at 56. Today’s game will be Smith’s 26th game. Smith also is 273 total yards shy of moving into third place on UW’s career offense list and 317 passing yards from moving into fourth place in career passing yards.

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Christensen likes Cowboys’ practices

Fifth-year Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen said the team’s first practice Monday following its 37-34 loss at No. 22 Nebraska (was No. 18 prior to the game) was the best he’s seen since he has been the coach at UW.

Christensen had more praise for his team following Tuesday morning’s practice at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

“I thought we were really sharp offensively, and that’s where I am at mostly (during practice),” he said. “I need to watch the film and talk to the defensive coaches, but it sounded like they were pretty positive on how things went down.

“I thought our protections, routes and the passing game was really on. That’s encouraging.”

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UW ready for heat, humidity of Nebraska

No. 18 Nebraska poses plenty of challenges on the field for the University of Wyoming football team Saturday.

And so does the weather.

The forecast for Lincoln, Neb., Saturday is a high of 98 degrees with 58 percent humidity. By the time the game kicks off at 7 p.m. local time, the temperature should be cooler but probably in the mid to high 80s.

UW has played in hot and humid conditions in the past: last year and 2010 at Texas, and in 2009 at Florida Atlantic. The Cowboys handled the heat and humidity well then, and coach Dave Christensen doesn’t think it will be an issue Saturday, either.

“It will be the same program we have used every year,” Christensen said. “The humidity hasn’t been an issue for us yet, so we don’t imagine it will be too much of a problem Saturday night.”

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Biggest key to fall camp for UW

Wyoming begins fall camp Monday morning, and I talk about the top five concerns/things to watch in my column in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and also online at www.wyosports.net.

Here is my No. 1 thing to watch, and would love to hear what you think. Hope you will read the rest of the column in the papers or online and give me your feedback.

1. Defense

Much of this involves the defensive line, and who exactly will play.

This unit took a hit when senior Ben Durbin, a projected starter at defensive end, left after the spring semester and will finish his career at Iowa State.

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