Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for Wyoming redshirt freshman strong safety Tim Kamana when the Cowboys (3-1) play at No. 9 Michigan State.
Kamana’s father, Carter, lettered at Michigan State as a cornerback from 1981-84. Tim Kamana said his dad took him to a Michigan State football camp before his junior year of high school, and he also went to one before his senior year.
Kamana said Michigan State showed some interest in him, but there was no scholarship offer.
Saturday, with his dad in attendance and his sister, who attends Michigan State, Kamana gets to play in the same stadium his dad did 30 years ago.
And, Kamana could make his first-ever start as senior Jesse Sampson injured a knee in last Saturday’s 20-19 UW win over Florida Atlantic in Laramie.
Kamana’s uncle and grandfather both played college football at USC, so football is in the family blood. Here is what Kamana said about Saturday’s game:
Here are some of the firsts for Wyoming in the first half of the first game of the Craig Bohl era as coach in Saturday’s season-opener against Montana:
First coin toss: Wyoming wins the toss and defers to the second half.
First kickoff: Senior Stuart Williams boots the ball five yards deep in the end zone for a touchback.
First play: Montana senior quarterback Jordan Johnson executed a bootleg play and completed a 12-yard pass to senior running back Travon Van for a first down.
First video review: In the second quarter Montana senior running back Jordan Canada ran for 1-yard before senior defensive end Riley Lange tackled him and appeared to force the ball out. But after further review, Canada was ruled down and play stood as originally called on the field.
First forced punt on defense: UW forced Montana to three-and-out after that initial first down on its initial offensive series.
First offensive play: A 14-yard run by junior running back Shaun Wick where senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard may have changed the play at the line of scrimmage.
First pass: A Kirkegaard completion for 10 yards to senior tight end J.D. Krill — his first-career catch for the Cowboys. Continue reading →
Wyoming’s team captains were announced Friday, and Sunday I predicted they would be redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard, senior receiver Dominic Rufran, junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and senior cornerback Blair Burns.
Three out of four isn’t bad. Instead of Burns it is senior free safety Darrenn White.
The schedule says Thursday was practice No. 22 of fall camp, but as senior quarterback Sam Stratton led the team break after stretching, he said it was the start of game week preparation for the Aug. 30 opener against Montana.
And, there was some evidence of that as true freshmen quarterbacks Nick Smith and Austin Fort wore No. 10 jerseys — the same as Montana senior quarterback Jordan Johnson.
Either way, UW practiced in shoulder pads and shorts in War Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore punter Ethan Wood was back for the first time since his parents were killed in a plane crash Aug. 9. Prior to practice Wood and senior Stuart Williams did some punting. There was no punt rush or anything like that. However, Wood looked pretty good as he got some good height and distance on many of his at or near his own end zone. Wood drew some praise from first-year coach Craig Bohl.
UW started practice with some 11-on-11 work. There was not a lot of big plays by the offense, but redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard threw a nice, medium-ranged pass to senior receiver Jalen Claiborne along the sideline. Kirkegaard was accurate throughout the drill. Sophomore Tom Thornton, Kirkegaard’s backup, was the only other quarterback to take snaps in the drill.
The Cowboys rotated guys along the offensive line. Sophomore guard Sam Hardy took snaps at both the left and right side. Junior Jake Jones did as well. Sophomore Chase Roullier also took some snaps at center, as did sophomore Jacob English.
Special teams took center stage during Wyoming’s 21st practice and 17th day of fall camp Wednesday morning in cool and breezy conditions at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
UW worked on things such as field-goal return, punting out of the end zone and kickoffs during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. First-year coach Craig Bohl also said the team worked on other special situations like when to take a safety and onside kicks.
One might ask about field-goal return? Remember the Alabama-Auburn game last year where Auburn returned a missed field goal for a touchdown to win the game?
Here is what Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice:
Bohl during one of North Dakota State’s three consecutive FCS national title games, Sam Houston State had a returner back in case of a missed field goal.
Senior cornerback Blair Burns was the return man for UW during that period. During the punt drill, where the Cowboys punted out of their own end zone, senior receiver Jalen Claiborne was the return man.
Speaking of punting, Bohl said sophomore punter Ethan Wood will return to Laramie Wednesday night. Wood’s parents were killed in a plane crash on Aug. 9, and the funeral was last Friday.
At the end of practice, Bohl said the team had some fun and had a few of the offensive and defensive linemen try to field onside kicks. Sophomore nose tackle Chase Appleby, the media was told, showed some good hands.
Monday marked the last of five two-a-day practices, and the players were in shoulder pads and shorts Monday morning.
It also was the first practice since last Saturday’s scrimmage, and a day off for the players. But first-year coach Craig Bohl said some players were late to breakfast and he had to get on them prior to practice.
Here is what Bohl had to say after Monday morning’s practice:
UW’s new walk-on kicker — true freshman Pierce Royster — was at practice. He was not in pads as he has to go through an acclimation period. But he did some kicking with senior Stuart Williams prior to practice as Bohl watched. Both guys kicked field goals off a tee from numerous distances and locations on the field. Williams looked to be the most consistent of the two, and made one from 52 yards.
Monday marked the eighth day of fall camp for Wyoming, and it will practice twice today.
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.
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.
Wyoming’s fall sports media day was held Monday afternoon at the Wildcatter Club & Suites atop Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
Coaches from football, cross-country, women’s soccer and volleyball spoke to a large crowd of media and fans. Later, football players were made available in the indoor practice facility due to thunderstorms outside.
First-year football coach Craig Bohl was the guy most came to listen to, and he didn’t disappoint. Although he knows the challenges ahead, it was hard to leave there not feeling good about this team and the future of UW football.
Bohl has talked a lot about being “Cowboy Tough” and bringing that back to the program. He spoke about that Monday, but said it’s time to show that on the field.
Wednesday marked the final spring practice in full pads for Wyoming prior to its spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
And, first-year coach Craig Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice he could tell that some of the players may have been looking ahead to Saturday’s spring game, a Friday practice in just sweats and the end of spring drills in the coming days.
“I think some of our guys might have had the attitude that they want to get through today’s practice and spring ball is about done,” Bohl said. “We have to learn how to finish, and I don’t think we are there yet.”
“It’s a process. They want to do well and want to win, but I’m not confident they know how to win.”
UW continues to work on its kicking game this week. Senior kicker Stuart Williams looked good kicking several field goals from different distances.
The Cowboys continue to work with different kickoff returners. Senior receivers Jalen Claiborne and Trey Norman, sophomore receiver Trent Sewell and redshirt sophomore D.J. May and junior Shaun Wick — both running backs — are getting reps.
Here are some highlights of that, and other early portions of Wednesday’s practice: