UW football fall camp – Day 10

Wyoming practiced in War Memorial Stadium Wednesday morning after stretching in its indoor practice facility. It was cool enough with lows in the 30s Tuesday night in Laramie for the coaches not to worry about the heat index on the artificial playing surface in the stadium.

UW did some blitz work, and coach Craig Bohl liked what he saw: “I thought that our quarterbacks made some good decisions. There weren’t as many guys running free open, so as we integrate more and more of those schemes our execution’s improving.”

Seth Edeen

Seth Edeen

Was sad to hear that two in-state players for the Cowboys decided to call it a career due to health issues. Sophomore defensive end Seth Edeen of Cheyenne announced on Twitter late Tuesday night of his decision based on him having only one kidney. Junior wide receiver Tanner Simpson of Lander announced his decision on Twitter Wednesday morning due to a nagging foot issue.

Here is Edeen’s Tweet:

Tanner Simpson

Tanner Simpson

Here is Simpson’s Tweet:


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3 things to watch for UW’s first spring scrimmage Saturday

Wyoming first scrimmage of spring drills is at 11 a.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, it is closed to the public and media so getting a good perspective from it will be based off the statistics afterwards,and what the coaches and players say.

But when those stats come out, here are three things you should look for.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

1. Quarterback reps: Earlier this week offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said senior Cameron Coffman is the front-runner to be the starter. Not a surprise there. Not only will it be interesting to see his stats, but how many reps/throws will the other four quarterbacks get? One would think the best of the other four quarterbacks will remain in the mix to compete with Coffman and solidifying their names on the depth chart moving forward. But if we see most quarterbacks get, for instance, 20 throws and one or two get five, one would assume they lower down in the pecking order right now.

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Spring practice important for trio of UW wide receivers

Wyoming has held only one of its 15 spring practices, with the second and third workouts coming Friday and Saturday.

All are important for the team, but perhaps none more for three receivers who hope to see the field this season.

It’s safe to assume that juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt will play. They are the Cowboys’ leading returning receivers as both combined for 53 catches for 709 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Their roles will change this season, and there will be more on that down the road.

But for junior Tanner Simpson of Lander, senior Justin Berger and true freshman Joe Parker, the next month will be their chances to see if they have what it takes to have a role on the field this season.

Kenni Burns

Kenni Burns

“You don’t always have to be a big play-maker all the time,” UW receivers coach Kenni Burns said. “You can be a guy that goes in and spells a guy for 10 or 15 plays a game. A guy that knows what he’s doing and competes at a high level, like (senior) Keenan Montgomery did for us last season.”

“A guy that knows his role and knows his limitations of what he can or can’t do. I think Tanner’s gravitated to that a little bit, along with Justin.”

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UW fall camp – Day 17

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.

Blair Burns

Blair Burns

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.

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UW football practices indoors

Wyoming practiced in its indoor practice facility Tuesday morning, but it wasn’t because the weather outside in Laramie was bad.

The weather forecast for the Cowboys’ game at Texas State Saturday night in San Marcos, Texas, is for temperatures in the high 70s to low to mid-80s by kickoff time (5 p.m. MT). There is a 60 percent chance of rain, and the humidity levels will be in the 60 percent range.

“We tried to get the heat turned up in here a little bit and get acclimated to the temperature,” coach Dave Christensen said. “We can’t make it 75 in here, but it was good. They got a good sweat going.”

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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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Tempo continues to be emphasis for Cowboys

Wyoming’s third spring football practice was held Monday morning at the school’s indoor  practice facility, and coach Dave Christensen said his team still isn’t practicing as fast as he would like.

“We have to be able to practice faster,” he said. “We are a little bit worried about getting tired, how much longer do we have to go and how hard (does a player) have to go in this drill. We will continue to work on it. It is not where we want it to be, but we are slowly making progress.”

But there is some progress. Christensen said 128 plays were scripted to be run Monday. UW ran 140.

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VIDEO: Wyoming football slam dunk contest

Members of the University of Wyoming football team competed in a slam dunk contest during halftime of the Wyoming-Colorado State men’s basketball game on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. Some of those who are shown here are WR Trey Norman, DB Darrenn White and WR Tanner Simpson.