VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic: Nick Danielson

This is the last of a 10-part series of video interviews with University of Wyoming football coaches, and how they teach and coach certain aspects of the game. This one features tight ends coach Nick Danielson.

Danielson has senior Spencer Bruce, junior J.D. Krill and true freshman Drew Van Maanen go though some run-blocking drills.

Kankolongo suspended for targeting

Just minutes before coach Dave Christensen’s Monday news conference, media members got word that Wyoming junior linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo was suspended for one game by the Mountain West for targeting.

This coming after a hit by Kankolongo on Air Force running back Anthony LaCoste on a

Nehemie Kankolongo

Nehemie Kankolongo

kickoff return in the second quarter. It was a big hit. It caused a fumble, UW recovered and scored a touchdown en route to its 56-23 road victory.

There was no penalty on Kankolongo on the play. There was a penalty, but it was for too much celebrating by the Cowboys. The MW reviewed the play, and made its decision, and according to its press release had the right to make that decision.

What do you think folks, was this targeting and should Kankolongo have been suspended? Let me know what you think.

From what replays I saw, it looked like he used his arm to make the initial hit. One could argue he lunged his body toward LaCoste, but it also looked like he was blocked or pushed into him as well.

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High praise for Smith

Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith is one of four offensive players on this year’s squad that started in the 2011 game with Nebraska in Laramie, which the Cowboys lost 38-14.

The others are senior running back Brandon Miller, senior offensive guard Tyler Strong and senior tight end Spencer Bruce. Ironically, those three players also are scheduled to start when UW plays at No. 18 Nebraska Saturday in the season-opener for both squads.

A true freshman then, Smith completed 17 of 33 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini thought Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith played well against his team.

“He is really poised and has excellent feet. He’s elusive in the pocket and he buys time. He’s a really good player. He’s a lot further along now as a player than he was then. He’s a good quarterback.”

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UW announces depth chart for Nebraska

Wyoming’s first depth chart of the season for Saturday’s game at Nebraska came out Monday, and there were not a lot of surprises.

Eight first-year players are projected to start — three true freshmen, one redshirt freshmen, two redshirt juniors and two junior-college transfers. Here are some notable items from Monday’s depth chart:

–True freshman receiver Tanner Gentry will start at one of the four receiver spots. Gentry rapidly climbed up the depth chart throughout fall camp. He beat out junior Trey Norman.

–Senior Robert Herron, juniors Dominic Rufran and Jalen Claiborne are the other starting receivers. Others listed on the depth chart this week are redshirt freshmen Eric Nzeocha, Nico Brown, Trent Sewell, Tanner Simpson and Jake Maulhardt; senior Jarrod Darden (a transfer from Colorado), and juniors Keenan Montgomery, Norman and Justin Berger.

–Junior-college transfer Tyran Finley will start at cornerback opposite of junior Blair Burns. Not a surprise there since the injury to junior DeAndre Jones midway through camp.

–Three of the four backups at the cornerback and safety positions are manned by guys who have never played a game at UW. True freshman Tim Hayes is behind Burns at one cornerback spot. Redshirt freshman Cortland Fort, who has gone back and forth from cornerback and safety, is behind Finley. True freshman Xavier Lewis is the backup at strong safety behind junior Darrenn White. Jones, who was the starter at cornerback when fall camp started before he was injured, is the backup for senior Marqueston Huff at free safety.

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UW’s offensive depth chart for Nebraska

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen will release his first depth chart of the season Monday.

But I thought I would take a shot of predicting how it will look now, starting with the offense. Look for the defense and special teams to come later this weekend. As always, I welcome your comments, thoughts and questions.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

Brett Smith, Jr., 6-3, 206

Jason Thompson, So., 6-2, 206

Colby Kirkegaard, Sr., 6-3, 205

Tommy Thornton, Fr., 6-1, 205

Notes: There was never a doubt Smith would be the starter. In three fall camp scrimmages Smith was 39-55 for 553 yards with nine TDs and one INT. … Thompson also had a solid camp. He was 33-49 for 440 yards with four TDs and two INTs. … There was good competition at the No. 3 spot. I give Kirkegaard the edge based on his experience, but it would not surprise me if Thornton is No. 3 on Monday.

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Bruce moves to TE

Wyoming senior Spencer Bruce of Gillette was moved from receiver to tight end when fall camp started after junior Riley Lange moved from tight end to defensive end.

Bruce brings decent size to the position at 6-5, 225. He has played in 12 games in his

Spencer Bruce

Spencer Bruce

career, and has five catches for 56 yards and one touchdown.

“It’s a little bit different (playing tight end), but we have great coaches teaching me new techniques and showing me the offense from a different position. The transition so far has been pretty easy.”

Bruce was recruited by UW as a defensive end.

Bruce and junior-college transfer J.D. Krill are the only two players on scholarship working at tight end.

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UW-San Diego State postgame thoughts

Wyoming’s last game was a lot like its others.

A good first half (at least offensively).

A poor second half (both sides of the ball).

And another disappointing loss, this time 42-28 against San Diego State at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

It’s hard to believe this team can be so predictable with this pattern.

The Cowboys led 28-21 at halftime and scored on the last play of the half on a 42-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Brett Smith to junior receiver Robert Herron. UW got the ball to start the second half and maybe, just maybe, UW would beat a team with a winning record for the first time this season.

Nope.

The offense had four punts, lost the ball on downs and the game ended on its six second-half possessions.

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Christensen not happy with practice

Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen didn’t pull any punches when I asked him how the first practice of game week leading up to Saturday’s game at No. 15 Texas went Tuesday.

“It was probably the worst practice we’ve had all fall (camp),” he said. “We have a lot of work to get to get done the next two days. We have to practice much better than that.

“I’m not one to make excuses. It sucked, and it’s on them to get better by (today).”

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the big practice days for UW for Saturday games. Friday, obviously, is a travel day, this week.

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Players come and players go for UW

Monday was the first day of classes for the spring semester at Wyoming, and a busy day in the form of announcements as UW announced three mid-year signees and four scholarship players that won’t be back.

The biggest news among the player depatures was receiver Josh Doctson. As a true freshman Doctson caught 35 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Three of those scores came in UW’s final two games — two against Colorado State and one against Temple on the New Mexico Bowl. He became UW’s big-play threat late in the season.

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