Wyoming at Utah State football – pregame primer

It is back to football for Wyoming as it plays at Utah State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. Here is my top key to the game for the Cowboys:

Follow your rival: Wyoming’s biggest rival, Colorado State, provided the perfect plan on how to defeat Utah State in its 27-14 victory in Logan last Saturday. The Rams jumped out to a 24-0 first-half lead, and didn’t allow the Aggies to get anything going offensively until it was too late. If UW can get off to a similar start, and ride that momentum throughout the game, there’s a good chance it comes away with the victory.

Agree or disagree?

Saturday’s game will be carried online on Facebook Live — like the Sept. 30 home game against Texas State. Here is the direct link to watch it:

https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeFootball/videos/1935926140063335/

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Wyoming 45, Texas State 10 – postgame thoughts

Wyoming concluded its four-game home stand with fairly impressive 45-10 victory over Texas State in front of 21,784 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium this past Saturday to improve to 3-2 overall. The Cowboys are off this coming week before it plays at Utah State on Oct. 14.

My column from the game was about how this was a complete team win for UW, as touchdowns were scored offensively, defensively and on special teams.

Here’s the link to it, which is currently free at wyosports.net:

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/gagliardi-column-uw-s-win-over-texas-state-epitomizes-team/article_5b41e57e-a665-11e7-8071-a3f2b75b3b89.html

Here is fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Wyoming vs. Texas State – pregame primer

The last of four consecutive home games for Wyoming kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday against  Texas State of the Sun Belt Conference.

The game will be carried digitally by Facebook Live. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeFootball/videos/1928850377437578/

Here is my No. 1 key for the Cowboys entering this game:

More offense, less defense: Meaning Wyoming’s offense must do a better job of sustaining drives and finishing with points, which will keep the defense fresher and better equipped to make plays. The defense was on the field for two-thirds of the game last week against Hawaii, and 97 plays two weeks ago against Oregon. Even though the defense has played well for the most part, it can’t be on the field that long game after game. Yes, the defense can help itself by making more plays to get off the field sooner, but it needs more help from the offense.

I feel like I’m sounding like a broken record about this No. 1 key the last few weeks.

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 10

For the second consecutive day, the Cowboys practiced in War Memorial Stadium Thursday with cool temperatures and light rain, although the sun came out as practiced progressed. The last few days in Laramie felt more like being in Seattle than at 7,220 feet with all the rain and cool weather.

UW worked out in full pads.

One of the early periods of practice was a pass-under-pressure session. Junior quarterback Josh Allen and the No. 1 offense performed well. Allen threw some nice passes to sophomore wide receivers Austin Conway and C.J. Johnson.

Here is fourth-year coach Craig Bohl after practice:

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Cowboys begin fall camp Monday

Players reported Sunday, and the first practice of fall camp for the Wyoming football team is Monday morning. There is no media access to Monday’s practice because UW will have its media day for football at noon Monday.

Craig Bohl

But during the MW Media Summit in Las Vegas I talked to fourth-year coach Craig Bohl and junior safety Andrew Wingard about a few things about the team heading into camp.

This is what Bohl said about the position battles he expects to see in camp: “At running back, we made progress during the spring, and I would like to and see someone come to forefront there. At tight end, we have a lot of players, but they are guys who have not played a lot. I also see a pretty intense battle at cornerback. We have some experienced players, but a young guy like (sophomore) Tyler Hall really came on during the spring.”

Sophomore Milo Hall came out of spring as the starter at running back, but junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet aren’t that far behind. Two Wyoming

Milo Hall

products are atop the depth chart at tight end in junior Josh Harshman of Casper and junior Austin Fort of Gillette. Junior Tyree Mayfield may be the most talented tight end UW has, but he is listed third on the depth chart entering fall camp. Hall earned one of the two starting jobs at cornerback after spring drills, but junior Antonio Hull and seniors Robert Priester and Rico Gafford have played a lot of football for the Cowboys.

“The only position we don’t figure to be a lot of competition (in terms of being the starter) is at quarterback,” said Bohl with a smile when talking about junior quarterback Josh Allen, the preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year voted on by the media.

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What to interpret from UW’s post-spring depth chart

Wyoming football released its post-spring depth chart earlier this week. For a look at it, click the link below:

http://wyo-platform-prod.silverchalice.co/v3/files/59026264e4b08ff5edddbf00

To me there were not a lot of big surprised, but a couple of small ones.

Milo Hall

At running back, I was both a little surprised and happy to see sophomore Milo Hall as the starter — not that I have anything against the other two guys: junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet. But based on what the coaches said throughout spring, all three backs will play this season and the competition will continue into fall camp. That’s not saying Hall’s No. 1 spot is a fluke. But as I’ve written before, I think this will be a running back by committee type year for UW, and the guy who is playing the best will get the majority of the carries.

It’s the same deal at tight end. Juniors Josh Harshman of Casper or Austin Fort of Gillette — according to the depth chart — would start if there was a game played right now. Junior Tyree Mayfield is third. UW played three tight ends last season, even though senior Jacob Hollister was by far the go-to guy in the pass game. Harshman, Fort and Mayfield all will play, and likely will play a lot this season. Although, I will say it’s nice to see two Wyoming kids doing well at that position.

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A look at the numbers from Wyoming spring football

Wyoming concluded spring football Saturday with its annual spring game. The Gold squad beat the Brown 3-0. The way the teams were divided, it was the backups that did all the scoring. UW’s No. 1 defense got the best of the No. 1 offense.

Kind of tough to read too much into the results from the spring game, although it does appear UW’s defense will be better. It needs to be after allowing 34 points and 453 yards per game last season.

Here is coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Easter candy rundown: Wyoming football players weigh in on their favorites

Happy Easter everyone, and the significance and importance of this day goes beyond anything written on this blog.

However, this blog also is meant to be fun so as we approach Easter Sunday, I asked a hard-hitting question to some of the Wyoming football players and coaches — their favorite Easter candy.

Here are the results:

— Sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe: Carmel eggs

Junior quarterback Josh Allen: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Junior safety Marcus Epps: Reese’s peanut butter cups

Sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall: Snickers

Junior offensive lineman Cole Turner: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen: Cadbury eggs

Junior offensive tackle Zach Wallace: “Chocolate bunnies, but not the hollow ones, ones that are solid chocolate.”

Sophomore linebacker Cassh Malauia: Reece’s

Sophomore wide receiver C.J. Johnson: Skittles

Defensive ends coach AJ Cooper: “Reese’s peanut butter eggs. “My wife gets a bag of those and they’re gone.”

Junior tight end Tyree Mayfield: Reese’s peanut butter bunnies

Redshirt sophomore running back Kellen Overstreet: “I am lactose intolerant, but if I could I would go with things like Kit-Kats. But I also will eat some Laffy Taffy or things like that.”

Junior quarterback Nick Smith: Chocolate Easter eggs and the white chocolate Resse’s peanut butter cups.

Senior outside linebacker Jalen Ortiz: Anything chocolate.

Me: Reese’s peanut butter eggs, bunnies, etc. Can’t go wrong with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter ever!

Sophomore safety Alijah Halliburton: Reese’s peanut butter eggs

Redshirt freshman defensive end Garrett Crall: Starburst jelly beans

Sophomore running back Milo Hall: Chocolate bunny

Junior running back Nico Evans: Skittles

Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton and son, Bode: Reese’s peanut butter cups

How about you?

Hope everyone out there has a Happy Easter.

Three weeks and nine practices in the books for UW spring football

Wyoming football is in the homestretch of spring football with nine of its 15 practices in the books.

The Cowboys’ scrimmage in Casper this past Saturday provided some glimpses of what could be this season, although its difficult to get a great gauge of what to expect this season when a team goes against each other.

Still, it appears that junior quarterback Josh Allen is making good progress in building chemistry with the weapons around him. Allen was relatively sharp in Casper, going 11 of 19 for 133 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to junior wide receiver James Price. However, sophomore wide receivers C.J. Johnson and Austin Conway also looked good.

Here is Allen after the scrimmage:

Earlier this spring, fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl was concerned about the way the tight ends were catching the ball. But in Casper, juniors Josh Harshman, Austin Fort and Tyree Mayfield all showed good skills catching the ball.

As far as the running backs go, I still contend that UW will have more of a three-back attack this fall. Redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet (11 carries 49 yards in the scrimmage) showed some nice speed and power, as did junior Nico Evans (10 carries, 30 yards). Don’t be surprised if sophomore Milo Hall becomes a third-down weapon out of the backfield, both carrying the ball and catching it.

It will be nice once the illness bug that has run through this team finally ends. UW was without its starting center in Casper — sophomore Gavin Rush — due to illness. Backup Boyd Draeger also was out with a concussion. Rush needs as many reps as possible the rest of spring. But I thought junior Cole Turner more than held his own at center in the scrimmage so perhaps some depth is being established there.

UW’s defense had its moments in the scrimmage. Sophomore defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan stood out to Bohl. Junior nose tackle Sidney Malauulu looked good — going mostly against backup — as well with a sack and a fumble recovery.

Casper’s Logan Wilson played only 21 snaps in 70-play scrimmage at middle linebacker, but that was by design to get other younger players some looks. Wilson and sophomore Cassh Malauia should be a solid duo, and it appears senior Jalen Ortiz is establishing himself well at the other outside linebacker spot.

The dismissal of three players, and suspensions of five others earlier this week for a violation of team rules was unfortunate, but it also creates opportunities for others. One player who may benefit the most is sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall. Hall is one of four UW corners who have been getting a lot of reps with the No. 1 defense all spring, but with junior Antonio Hull suspended, don’t be surprised if Hall is the starter coming out of spring along with senior Rico Gafford. Hall isn’t all that big at 5-10, 184 pounds, but he’s tough and has shown good effort most of the spring.

Here is Bohl after the scrimmage:

The Cowboys return to practice Tuesday for their 10th spring practice. They will also practice on Thursday and Saturday. The spring game is set for 2 p.m. April 22.

If you have any questions or comments about the Cowboys, I’d love to hear them. You can post comments on this blog, or shoot me a question via Twitter: @rpgagliardi.
Also, be sure to check out the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net for more UW spring football coverage.

Cowboys back to game-week mode

The bye week is over, and it’s back to game preparations for Wyoming as it plays at Nevada Saturday night.

UW got some extra work in last week against Nevada during its bye week. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said last Thursday’s practice wasn’t good, but liked how his team came back on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen said that practice was one of the best the team’s had all season.

Here is UW’s depth chart heading into the Nevada game:

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