Wyoming football notes, and some Halloween fun

Another Monday, another round of interviews with Wyoming football coaches and players — not to mention a handful of conference and national honors/recognition.

The Cowboys were named the National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of American for their 30-28 win last Saturday over previously No. 13 Boise State (now No. 24). Senior Ethan Wood was  named the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week in the country. Tight end Jacob Hollister and nose tackle Chase Appleby were the Mountain West Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.

Here is this week’s depth chart heading into Saturday’s game with Utah State:

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UW fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming put on the shoulder pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday. The first practice in full pads is set for Friday.

UW did a lot of special teams and one-on-one drills during the early portions of Wednesday’s practice that the media was allowed to watch. Here are some highlights of the action.

Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard (hamstring strain) had been limited during the first two days of camp as a precaution. He was expected to do more at Wednesday’s practice. Junior cornerback Robert Priester (hamstring strain) also has been limited more out of precaution, but still was limited Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Davion Freeman looks to be getting some of the reps with the No. 1 defense in place of Priester. Sophomore Chavez Pownell Jr. has received more reps in place of Wingard.

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UW fall camp – Day 2

Wyoming’s second practice of fall camp was held Tuesday morning at the North 40 practice fields on campus.

Like Monday’s first practice, the Cowboys were in helmets and shorts.

Here are some video highlights from the first 30 minutes media are allowed to watch practice.

Redshirt freshman running back Milo Hall was back at practice. He missed Monday’s workout because he attended the funeral of his brother, who was shot and killed recently in Denver.

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Ebbesen making progress at center, Stirneman getting time at tackle

Wyoming enters its fourth week of spring practice. this week.

Du'Ryan Ebbesen

Du’Ryan Ebbesen

I did a story at the start of spring drills of senior walk-on center Du’Ryan Ebbesen, and his chance to solidify himself as a viable option there as junior Charlie Renfree recovers from a back injury.

Here’s the link to that story: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/perseverance-could-pay-off-for-seniordu-ryan-ebbesen/article_38eb28e2-f3d2-11e5-8d4c-e7d1119bb35f.html

This is what UW offensive line coach Scott Fuchs said recently about Ebbsen’s progress this spring: “I think he’s progressing very well right now. There’s a difference between playing (center) for the first time and being a savvy veteran. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. But his willingness and eagerness to learn is going to aid him quite a bit down the stretch. He’s taking a ton of reps, and every rep counts.”

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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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Cowboys’ O-line showing progress, will return experience

Two of the eight seniors on the Wyoming football roster are seniors — guard Troy Boyland and center Rafe Kiely.

Troy Boyland

Troy Boyland

However, in offensive line coach Scott Fuchs’ mind, he returns five starting offensive linemen for the 2016 season.

That’s because sophomore Charlie Renfree started the first 10 games this season at center. Kiely did some good things in practice late in the season, and Renfree was a bit banged up. Kiely started in UW’s Nov. 14 game at San Diego State and will start in the Cowboys’ season-finale Saturday at home against UNLV. Renfee and Kiely have split time in UW’s first 10 games, but Renfree saw most of the playing time.

Boyland started in nine of 11 games, but true freshman Kaden Jackson started two. And, both have played in all 11 games this season. Boyland moved from defensive line to offensive line this season.

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Cowboys’ offensive line seeking improvement

Scott Fuchs

Scott Fuchs

I asked Wyoming offensive line coach Scott Fuchs this week what some of the glaring concerns were with his guys in the Cowboys’ 24-13 season-opening loss to North Dakota last Saturday.

Fuchs wouldn’t use the term “glaring concerns,” but had this to say about what needs to improve heading into Saturday’s home game with Eastern Michigan.

“We talked about having  good idea of what (North Dakota) was going to do, some things get tweaked here or there, and our ability to adjust on the fly needs to be sharpened,” he said.

Troy Boyland

Troy Boyland

Fuchs said senior right offensive guard Troy Boyland didn’t play like a “savvy veteran,” but he isn’t as last week was his first college game along the offensive line after being an interior defensive lineman.

“It was much faster. Not to say we don’t practice fast, but during a game things like defenses slanting are really fast,” Boyland said. “It took us a while to adjust and get a hand of what they were doing. Once we settled down we did a lot better.”

UW ran for only 29 yards, and its top two running backs — senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill — combined for only 16 carries. Boyland said the entire line needs to do a better job of making its blocks at the second level where the linebackers are.

Penalties also hurt where UW had eight for 96 yards in the game. Not all of those were on the offensive line, but there were a fair share of holding and face-mask penalties.

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UW football fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming was back at the North 40 grass practice fields Wednesday morning for its third practice of fall camp. Players were in shoulder pads for the first time. They will be in full pads for the first time on Friday.

Coach Craig Bohl said some of his veteran players continue to play well. Bohl singled out redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman, along with senior

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and junior nickel back/linebacker D.J. May.

“(Coffman’s) competition percentage is up. He’s really getting a good grasp of our offense, making good decisions and adjusting well,” Bohl said.

“D.J. May continues to make progress, and Eddie showed some great bursts. Anytime you seniors and other veterans continue to get better, that’s always a good sign.”

Hear what else Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice right here:


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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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Lewis says he’s ready for larger role if needed for Cowboys

If the news is what the Wyoming football team expects, sophomore Xavier Lewis said he’s ready to step up his game.

First-year coach Craig Bohl said Monday it is doubtful senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White will return this season after a knee injury late in the first half in the Cowboys’ 38-28 loss at Hawaii last Saturday night.

Xavier Lewis

Xavier Lewis

UW is still waiting for results on a MRI on White, but it is not optimistic about White’s return. If that’s the case, it is Lewis’ chance to be the guy to play the position that is often like the quarterback on offense in terms of getting the defensive calls and making sure other guys in the secondary are lined up correctly.

“I feel very comfortable with the defense,” Lewis said Monday. “We’ve been repping it heavy since spring ball. We go over our fits over and over. There may be a few slip ups here and there, but as a defense I know it pretty well. I’m excited to help conduct it now.

For more on Lewis, other options UW may look at at free safety and the possible return of a veteran player at strong safety, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Bohl held his weekly news conference with the media Monday. Here is most of that via video:

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