Media Monday: UW looks to send seniors out on winning note

The final news conference and interview session with players and assistant coaches had a definite theme at Wyoming Monday — beating UNLV and sending the eight seniors out on a winning note.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“They’ve just been great friends and great leaders on this team,” said redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman about the other seven seniors. Coffman is in his second year at UW after transferring from Indiana in 2014. “I’m really proud of those guys. It’s easy to quit, easy to give in when you have a season like we are (1-10 overall, 1-6 Mountain West). But they continue to lead, work had and continue to be great role models for the young guys. That’s what I’m most proud of with those guys.”

UW defensive ends coach AJ Cooper has two of the Cowboys’ most well-known seniors in Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Both have played in more than 40 games in their careers, and both also are team captains.

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Media Monday: UW football notes

I had to call into Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl’s weekly news conference Monday because I have to catch a flight to Las Vegas for Mountain West men’s basketball media day activities that start Tuesday and run through Wednesday. Look for more on that as the week goes on.

Here are a few notes and highlights from Bohl’s news conference:

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

— Junior linebacker Lucas Wacha, senior defensive end Siaosi Hala’api’api and sophomore cornerback Robert Priester — all starters — continue to be evaluated for concussions suffered in the 31-17 loss at Air Force last Saturday. Bohl said Hala’api’api and Priester are further along than Wacha. All three were listed as starters on UW’s depth chart, but that doesn’t mean any of them will play Saturday at home against Nevada.

— UW is getting dangerously thin at linebacker. Along with Wacha in the middle, junior Devin McKenna injured a knee during the team’s walk-through practice Friday. The only guy left there is junior Eric Nzeocha. Junior weak-side linebacker Will Tutein injured an ankle early against Air Force and didn’t return. His status is unknown. The Cowboys may have only five linebackers available for the Nevada game: Nzeocha, junior D.J. May, true freshmen Christian Irving and Luis Bach and sophomore Tim Kamana.

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UW-New Mexico football postgame thoughts, notes, quotes and video

Doing this for the past four Sundays has felt like the movie Groundhog Day — the same thing every week.

Wyoming lost 38-28 at home to New Mexico to fall to 0-4. The Cowboys have lost six straight home games and seven in a row overall going back to last season. And, they lost this game much like it did their last three.

Too many big plays allowed by the defense, and not enough plays overall by this unit. The offense put up some good numbers, at least in the passing game, but it wasn’t consistent enough. Ten penalties for 98 yards didn’t help.

Here is coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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Finley hopes to give a struggling UW defense a boost

He’s a senior by class only.

One of the changes Wyoming made defensively was putting senior cornerback Tyran Finley in the starting lineup when it plays at Washington State Saturday.

Tyran Finley

Tyran Finley

But it’s not like Finley has a ton of game experience with the Cowboys.

The junior college transfer started in UW’s opener in 2013 at No. 18 Nebraska, but injured a knee and was lost for the season. He was granted a medical redshirt.

Last year, with new coach Craig Bohl and staff, Finley struggled to adjust to a new system. He played in 11 games, but early on most of that time was on special teams. But in UW’s 45-17 win at Fresno State on Nov. 1, 2014, Finley had two interceptions and returned one of them 51 yards for a touchdown. He led UW with those two interceptions, and the team had only one other interception that season.

During spring drills, Finley was beat out by redshirt freshmen walk-ons. And, he missed about a week because — for a lack of a better term — he needed an attitude adjustment in Bohl’s opinion. But now, as a senior Finley gets a chance to start just this third game for the Cowboys and play in his 15th game of his career. And, he gets to do it against a pass-happy team like Washington State that may throw it 60 times Saturday.

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Media Monday: UW football notes and quotes

Another Monday, another news conference with Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl and interview session with players and assistant coaches.

Unfortunately, no video of Bohl’s news conference as my camera froze up. Hope to do better next week.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Bohl said he expected redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman to be at “full speed” when the Cowboys practiced later in the day Monday. Coffman said his injured right knee that kept him out of last Saturday’s game with Eastern Michigan feels better, and hopes it will continue to get better as the week goes on as UW plays at Washington State Saturday.

“I don’t think I’ll be 100 percent, but I will be able to be effective,” Coffman said.

Redshirt freshman Nick Smith is now UW’s backup quarterback. Bohl said sophomore Josh Allen was to under go season-ending surgery on his shoulder as early as Monday. Allen hurt the shoulder on the second offensive series last week. Bohl also said UW will apply for a medical redshirt for Allen, and is optimistic it will get it.

Some other notable happenings from Monday:

Zach Wallace

Zach Wallace

— True freshman offensive tackle Zach Wallace will start on the right side as sophomore Taylor Knestis is out with a concussion. “He’s really bright and has good football instincts,” Bohl said. “While he’s light (Wallace said he’s 265 pounds), his frame (6-foot-7) is such is that he’s able to play stronger than his frame indicates. He’s been very competitive and has not shied away form competition.” More on Wallace later this week in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and on wyosports.net.

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UW football fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming was back at the North 40 grass practice fields Wednesday morning for its third practice of fall camp. Players were in shoulder pads for the first time. They will be in full pads for the first time on Friday.

Coach Craig Bohl said some of his veteran players continue to play well. Bohl singled out redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman, along with senior

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and junior nickel back/linebacker D.J. May.

“(Coffman’s) competition percentage is up. He’s really getting a good grasp of our offense, making good decisions and adjusting well,” Bohl said.

“D.J. May continues to make progress, and Eddie showed some great bursts. Anytime you seniors and other veterans continue to get better, that’s always a good sign.”

Hear what else Bohl said after Wednesday’s practice right here:


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Makransky taking advantage of opportunities this spring at CB

After signing day in February of 2014, cornerback Anthony Makransky was home in Friendswood, Texas, still looking for a place to play college football.

Anthony Makransky

Anthony Makransky

Through the aid of a recruiting service, his highlight tape ended up at Wyoming. Makransky came to Laramie as a walk-on, and less than a year later, he is listed as a starter for the Cowboys heading into its second spring scrimmage at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“He’s definitely a competitor. He pays attention to detail and doing all the little things right,” UW cornerbacks coach John Richardson said. “We’re focusing this year doing the things that take no effort correctly, and he’s doing those things in terms of running to the football and attempting to make plays. We’re looking at guys willing to compete day in and day out, and he’s doing those thins. He’s shown up very impressively so far.”

Makransky had two tackles and broke up one pass in UW’s first scrimmage last Saturday. Right now, he’s ahead of redshirt freshman C.J. Jennings — who is on scholarship — on the depth chart.

“I was so happy, but at the same time, (safeties coach Curt Mallory) and coach Richardson preach open competition,” Makransky said. “Every single day is a grind. Every single day you have to have the same intensity and attention to detail.”

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UW spring football notes and quotes

Wyoming is nearly one-third of the way through spring practice. Here are a few notes and quotes that haven’t made this blog yet, or any of the other stories I’ve done to this point.

Seth Edeen

Seth Edeen

–UW coach Craig Bohl said sophomore defensive end Seth Edeen, a walk-on from Cheyenne and graduate of Cheyenne Central, had a good offseason and added about 15 pounds over the winter. During early walk-throughs from the first few practices, Edeen has been rotating in with some of the regular guys such as seniors Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Another guy rotating in is redshirt freshman Jonathan Kongbo. For more on him, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Josh Tapscott

Josh Tapscott

–To no one’s surprise, Bohl said senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill have stood out as UW’s top two running backs this spring. But as the Cowboys look for depth behind those two, the competition appears to be going well. “We’re probably the closest in terms of being friends. The competition level we have allows us to push other so much that it’s crazy. Nobody is going to get mad at each other. Everyone is pushing each other to be the best we can be as a position group.” — sophomore running back Josh Tapscott.

— “I’ll put my momma’s house on it that our defense is going to be ready to play,” senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. “One thing people overlook, we had a lot of seniors  go down and had a lot of young guys play. I’m definitely excited and confident that our guys are going to play well.”

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Mallory happy to be newest addition to UW football coaching staff

Curt Mallory remembers being a young assistant coach at Ball State in 1997, which was the first time he met Craig Bohl — now Wyoming’s head coach but then an assistant coach at Nebraska where the Cornhuskers were coming off winning a national title.

Curt Mallory

Curt Mallory

Mallory called Bohl and asked if he could come watch some film with him at Nebraska. Bohl took an entire day to spend with Mallory.

Now, Mallory is coaching on Bohl’s staff at UW as the Cowboys’ defensive secondary coach and passing game coordinator. Mallory joined UW’s staff earlier this year.

“From that time on you root for guys like that,” said Mallory of Bohl. “Those are the kind of guys you want to work for. I’m real fortunate to be here and excited to be here.”

Mallory came to UW from his alma mater, Michigan, where he coached the defensive secondary there from 2011-14. Mallory also has coached at Akron, Illinois, Indiana, Central Michigan and Ball State. Most of Mallory’s stops had him coach the secondary, but he also has worked with linebackers, special teams units and he was the defensive coordinator during the one season he was at Akron in 2010.

“His experience is showing rather quickly,” said Bohl of Mallory being on the coaching staff. “(The Mountain West) is a perimeter league with a lot of speed and skill so those back seven guys really need to work in concert. … Last year, we couldn’t run well enough defensively.”

Mallory said he knew UW running backs coach Mike Bath when he was an assistant coach in the Mid-American Conference. While at Indiana, current UW receivers coach Kenni Burns was a running back for the Hoosiers.

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UW spring football roundup – Day 1

It was back to work Monday for the Wyoming football team as it held its first of 15 spring practices.

UW used both its indoor facility and War Memorial Stadium for its workout, which lasted a little more than two hours. Players will be in shorts and helmets for the first two practices. They won’t be in full pads until the third practice on Saturday.

Here are some highlights from the first practice. Media is allowed to stay for only the first 30 minutes.


A few points of observation from Day 1:

–UW did some walk-through work prior to the start of practice and the guys who got most of the reps with the No. 1 offense along the offensive line were sophomore Ryan Cummings (left tackle), junior Chase Roullier (left guard), sophomore Charlie Renfree (center), redshirt freshman Richard Bettencourt (right guard) and sophomore Taylor Knestis (right tackle). Another who got in some work on the left side was sophomore tackle Kurtis Stirneman.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

–Senior Cameron Coffman always seemed to be the first guy when the quarterbacks did individual drills, and he also worked with the No. 1 offense the most of the other four guys. What that means this early in spring is debatable, but I still believe he is the guy to beat in terms of UW’s starting quarterback.

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