UW football fall camp: Day 7

Coaches get a better feel for a practice or scrimmage after watching film. After Monday’s morning practice coach Dave Christensen said a few things stood out after watching the film of Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

–Christensen was impressed with the plays made by junior Tyran Finley, both at cornerback and returning punts. Finley, a junior-college transfer this summer, returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. The interception was thrown by junior starter Brett Smith

–He thought all of the quarterbacks managed the offense well. Smith and sophomore backup Jason Thompson got most of the reps, and had most of the production. Combined they were 39-of-49 for 529 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.

–Christensen liked the play of the starting offensive line.

–Defensively, Christensen  wants to see more pressure on the quarterback and for the unit to get off the field. There were only two three-and-outs during the scrimmage.

Here is some video highlights during a team period during Monday morning’s practice.

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UW scrimmage news and notes

VIDEO INTERVIEWS FROM SUNDAY’S SCRIMMAGE

DAVE CHRISTENSEN: http://youtu.be/nwMkzrSv11Q

TRYAN FINLEY: http://youtu.be/lsgnmSirUHU

Want another Wyoming wide receiver to talk about?

How about senior Jarrod Darden.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior who transferred from Colorado but is eligible this season

Jarrod Darden

Jarrod Darden

because he graduated from CU in the spring, caught three passes for 95 yards and a touchdown working with the No. 2 offense during Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

His TD catch was 46 yards, and he had a nice one-handed catch for 40 yards later on. All of his catches came from sophomore backup quarterback Jason Thompson.

“They have me in the slot, which I haven’t played before, and this is a new kind of offense for me,” Darden said. “I played in more of a pro-style offense at Colorado, but I like this offense a lot.”

Darden said he transferred from Colorado because he went through three coaching changes in four years, and he was simply “tired of it.”

Darden said he looked for schools that threw the ball a lot, and UW fit the description.

“At Colorado I was burried on the depth chart and a new coach was coming in. I wanted to go a school that wanted me and could use me. Right now I feel like I can contribute. If I keep making plays, hopefully they can use me.

“This is the best I felt during camp in a while. I am getting feedback and reps. I will enjoy this day, but our first two-a-days are Monday so I can’t enjoy it for long before it is time to get back to work.”

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Christensen wants team to be more physical

Saturday was the first day Wyoming practiced in full pads during fall camp, and one of the first things fifth-year coach Dave Christensen talked to his team about was being more physical.

He also addressed that with the media after practice.

“We have to be more physical,” he said. “At times we were, but it is something you have to do consistently. We will keep working on it. I was pleased with effort, but we have to be a more physical football team.”

Here is a video link to a few highlights of one of the team periods from Saturday’s practice.

Newcomers working their way up

Junior-college transfer Tyran Finley and true freshman Timmy Hayes worked with the No. 2 defense at cornerback during team periods Saturday, as did true freshman Xavier Lewis and redshirt freshman Cortland Fort at the safety spots.

Lewis and Fort both had interceptions during practice.

“They are competing well and the competition level there is rising,” Christensen said.

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UW depth chart heading into fall camp

Wyoming released its summer prospectus for the upcoming football season, which included a depth chart heading into fall camp in early August.

No real surprises, but here are a couple of interesting notes:

Omar Stover

Omar Stover

–True freshman running back Omar Stover is second behind senior Brandon Miller, who missed the spring recovering from a broken arm. Stover is ahead of sophomores Shaun Wick and D.J. May, who all played and started games last season as true freshmen. Expect Miller, Stover, May and Wick to play this season, but Stover’s move up was impressive.

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UW post-spring defensive analysis

Spring was a time of experimentation for Wyoming.

Defensive coordinator Chris Tormey looked at a lot of players at different positions. Some moves look to be permanent, others remain to be seen.

UW will show both 4-3 and 3-4 looks. The buck position (combination defensive end and outside linebacker) often will dictate the formation — along with the down-and-distance and opponent.

Don’t get caught up in the formations. UW showed a lot of formations last season, and in the first four since Dave Christensen has been the coach. The goal is to get the best 11 players on the field. Some of those players emerged during the spring. Others already asserted themselves prior to spring, and others still need to be found when fall camp starts in early August.

The Cowboys will try to put more pressure on the quarterback in 2013, after just 14 sacks last season. That could come from a variety of different positions and angles. Those who follow the team also know the run defense must improve (232.3 yards per game last season) as does the third-down defense (51 percent conversion rate).

One thing I drew from the spring that the starting 11 guys should be decent — but not dominant. The depth after that still is a work in progress.

Here is my position-by-position breakdown of the defense, and some thoughts:

Defensive line

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

Projected starters: Patrick Merterns (Sr., DT or NT), Sonny Puletasi (Jr., DE), Eddie Yarbrough (So., DE or DT); Siaosi Hala’api’api (buck).

Who else plays: Uso Olive (R-Fr., DT or NT); Justin Bernthaler (Sr., DE or DT).

Need to see more from: Troy Boyland (Jr., DT); Chase Appleby (R-Fr., DT or NT); James Diamanti (Fr., DT); Sam Hardy (R-Fr., DE or DT).

My thoughts: Expect the starters, along with Olive and Bernthaler (who missed much of spring with an injury) to be in the rotation and all see a lot of snaps. Boyland is a junior-college transfer who is 6-2, 310 pounds, but needs to be in better shape and maybe drop some weight to be effective. Diamanti is a true freshman who did some good things along the line on special teams (blocked a field goal in the spring game), and could this season. He enrolled at UW in January and the time in the program helped a lot. UW would get a big boost if Boyland, Appleby and/or Hardy show improvement in fall camp. Hala’api’api moved from middle linebacker early in the spring, and could be good at the buck. Yarbrough was the team’s most improved lineman after the spring, and I think their best lineman overall. He is best at DE, but got some looks inside as spring went on.

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