Wyoming vs. Nevada football preview: Notes, quotes and video

First, my No. 1 key for Wyoming for its homecoming game Saturday against Nevada:

Eliminating turnovers: You can say that about any game, but Wyoming can’t have four turnovers like it did in last week’s 31-17 loss at Air Force and expect to win. Air Force scored 21 points off those miscues. Turnovers by anyone are costly, but the Cowboys can’t have their best offensive players doing it, i.e. sophomore running back Brian Hill and redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman. Both had two turnovers against Air Force. UW had a season-high four turnovers that led to 21 Air Force points.

I get into this and other keys in my video preview of the game:

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Media Monday: UW football notes

I had to call into Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl’s weekly news conference Monday because I have to catch a flight to Las Vegas for Mountain West men’s basketball media day activities that start Tuesday and run through Wednesday. Look for more on that as the week goes on.

Here are a few notes and highlights from Bohl’s news conference:

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

— Junior linebacker Lucas Wacha, senior defensive end Siaosi Hala’api’api and sophomore cornerback Robert Priester — all starters — continue to be evaluated for concussions suffered in the 31-17 loss at Air Force last Saturday. Bohl said Hala’api’api and Priester are further along than Wacha. All three were listed as starters on UW’s depth chart, but that doesn’t mean any of them will play Saturday at home against Nevada.

— UW is getting dangerously thin at linebacker. Along with Wacha in the middle, junior Devin McKenna injured a knee during the team’s walk-through practice Friday. The only guy left there is junior Eric Nzeocha. Junior weak-side linebacker Will Tutein injured an ankle early against Air Force and didn’t return. His status is unknown. The Cowboys may have only five linebackers available for the Nevada game: Nzeocha, junior D.J. May, true freshmen Christian Irving and Luis Bach and sophomore Tim Kamana.

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Media Monday: Wyoming starts preparations for Air Force

At 0-5, to say anything came easy for the Cowboys would be grossly false. But the Cowboys start a string of six consecutive Mountain West games this week against teams that went to bowl games last season. The first is at Air Force at 8:15 p.m. MT in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

Here is second-year-coach Craig Bohl at his weekly news conference Monday.

There wasn’t a lot of movement on UW’s depth chart heading into this game. Bohl is hopeful senior running back Shaun Wick (concussion) will return this week. Wick was not listed on the depth chart.

Sophomore Josh Tapscott was the backup behind sophomore Brian Hill. Tapscott and redshirt freshman Nico Evans both got carries in UW’s 31-13 loss at Appalachian State last week as Wick didn’t make the trip.

Hill had 208 yards on a career-high 30 carries last week, and until Wick returns, look to see a lot of Hill in UW’s backfield.

“There’s a pretty significant drop-off between Brian and the other players,” Bohl said. “We thought about getting (true freshman Kellen Overstreet) in there, but we we also thought having three or four tailbacks in the game would be counter-productive. Depending on the type of run, we can insert Josh and Nico, and they held their own last week. But Brian is going to get the lion’s share of the carries. As he goes, our offense goes.”

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Media Monday: News, notes, video from UW football’s weekly news conference

Most of the talk on this day was the moves UW is making defensively, especially at linebacker.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Junior Lucas Wacha moves from weak-side to the middle. Sophomore Tim Kamana moves from the strong-side to the weak-side. Junior Eric Nzeocha is benched and now will back up Wacha in the middle.

UW also wills start true freshman Antonio Hull at one of the two cornerback spots, opposite of sophomore Robert Priester.

Here is UW defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Steve Stanard on the moves:

What do you think folks, do you think these moves will help UW’s defense, especially against the big plays it has given up (12 of 30 yards or more, nine of which for touchdowns)?

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UW at Washington St. football – notes, quotes and video

First thing is first, here is my No. 1 key for Wyoming if it hopes to pull the upset at Washington State, which is a 24-point favorite, Saturday night in Pullman, Washington. Kickoff is at 6:40 p.m. MT and televised by the Pac-12 Network.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Offense is the best defense: Wyoming wants to run the football and control the clock. Washington State wants to throw it around and score fast. The Cowboys’ defensive struggles have been well documented, so their best defense today is to keep the defense off the field as much as possible with the offense. UW needs to be more balanced after 430 rushing yards and only 32 passing yards last week against Eastern Michigan. The return of redshirt senior starting quarterback Cameron Coffman from a knee injury should help.

For more keys and information about the game see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Second, here is my preview of the game:

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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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Media Monday: Notes and quotes from UW football interviews

Today is Labor Day, but there was no holiday for the Wyoming football team — or the media that covers it.

UW coach Craig Bohl spoke to the media for at little over 15 minutes, and about 90 percent of that was about last week’s 24-13 season-opening loss to North Dakota in Laramie. Bohl had some pretty strong words, too. Here’s the entire news conference with him.


One thing I found interesting from Bohl was on the penalties on UW last week — eight for 96 yards. Not just the number and yardage, but how what may have led to them and what Bohl plans to do next year in fall camp to hopefully reduce them.

“During fall camp, the number of times we had officials at our practices was very limited,” Bohl said. “That’s going to be a point of emphasis next year. We’re going to get more officials around our players.”

Bohl said that should prevent holding and face-mask penalties, which there were a lot of during the North Dakota game. Bohl also said the limited of number of times UW had full-contact during camp could have played a factor in the high number of penalties last week. However, Bohl made a point that during a 40-play scrimmage in fall camp UW lost two players to season-ending ACL injuries.

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UW-North Dakota football: Notes, quotes and video

Finally, it’s time to start talking about the games for the Cowboys.

First, here is my top key for Saturday’s season-opener with North Dakota:

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Get Coffman going: Today will be redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman’s first start since 2012. He wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t some nerves. UW would be wise to get his confidence going early with some easy throws. Not saying the Cowboys should abandon the run game early on, but it’s important to get Coffman into a rhythm from the start.

For more keys to the game and more on Coffman, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Here is my video preview of today’s game:

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Thornton making strides at wide receiver

With all the hype of Wyoming five freshmen wide receivers, it was nice to see — and perhaps a little surprising — junior Tom Thornton on the two-deep roster on the latest depth chart released Tuesday.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Thornton was UW’s backup quarterback last season, and was moved to receiver prior to the start of spring drills. Thornton was listed as the backup behind junior Jake Maulhardt at the Cowboys’ ‘X’ receiver spot.

“Any time a guy plays quarterback he has a good understanding of the passing game,” second-year coach Craig Bohl said Tuesday. “The other thing we’ve found through the years is typically quarterbacks have great hand-eye coordination.

“To find a place on the field for Tommy is going to be important. How many meaningful reps he plays is going to be determined by how he does the rest of fall camp.”

Thornton missed some time during fall camp with a concussion, but has been practicing lately.

On a team with a lot of good guys, Thornton is at or near the top of that list. He’s always very friendly and happy. It couldn’t have been easy to make the position change he made, but he has taken it in stride and with great class. It’s hard not to root for a guy like him.

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Cowboys begin final week of fall camp

Wyoming first practice of the final week of fall camp was Monday morning in War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys will practice twice Monday, with the second one at 3:50 p.m.

Monday is the 14th straight day UW has practiced since the start of fall camp, and Monday afternoon’s work out will be its 20th.

Shaun Wick

Shaun Wick

The Cowboys had their full collection of running backs. Senior Shaun Wick (concussion), sophomore Josh Tapscott (illness) and redshirt freshman Nico Evans (hamstring) all practiced, as did sophomore Brian Hill, who didn’t play in last Saturday’s scrimmage due to a tight hamstring.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of practice.


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