No mixing and matching for O-line this season

If one thing’s been consistent along Wyoming’s offensive line this season, it’s been the lineup.

UW has used the same five starters in all four of its games, and it’s expected to be the same again when the Cowboys open Mountain West play at Nevada Saturday.

The Cowboys used seven different starting lineups each of the last two seasons due to injuries and production — or lack there of.

“We’re not as deep as we’ve been,” coach Dave Christensen said. “We’re trying to redshirt a couple of guys, and there are a couple of guys in our two-deep we’re trying not to play because they’re not ready to play yet.

“If there was a guy that was equal to somebody that was in there we would certainly play them. We’re not in a position where we’re going to switch anybody out right now.”

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UW media Monday wrap

The big news, or biggest topic everyone wants to know about hasn’t changed. Sophomore starting quarterback Brett Smith is still doubtful for Saturday’s game at Idaho after his head injury against Toledo on Sept. 8. Junior Colby Kirkegaard is listed as the starter, followed by true freshman Jason Thompson and then Smith.

However, coach Dave Christensen said there’s a possibility that all three could play, and that he won’t name a starter until game time Saturday at Idaho, which is 3 p.m.

So, Smith-Watch 2012 will continue for at least another week.

Want to know how Kirkegaard graded out on film after his first start of his career last week against Cal Poly, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, or long on to wyosports.net.

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Video: Jake Jones

Jake Jones made his Wyoming debut last week as the starting right guard against then 15th-ranked Texas. When asked what he did to earn the starting job, he modestly said: “I don’t know. I put a lot of time and work in like all of us linemen did.”

Hear more on what Jones said here, and read about this and more Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net.

UW depth chart vs. Texas

Not a lot of surprises here, and very similar to what I predicted on Sunday.

A little surprised redshirt freshman Zack Berg is the starter at SAM linebacker, and same with redshirt freshman Jake Jones at right guard. Expected both to play a lot in the opener Saturday at No. 15 Texas, and expect to see their backups as well.

The depth chart will be listed below, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Video: Brandon Self

The Wyoming senior offensive guard is in his fifth year and his first year of playing full time. Great to see him rewarded for his hard work throughout his career. Self talks about that, UW’s rotation along the offensive line and the challenges of blocking against San Diego State’s 3-3-5 defense. For more on that, see today’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

UW depth chart prediction

Monday afternoon Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen will speak to the media leading into Saturday’s season-opener against Weber State.

Christensen will release the depth chart for the first game. Some positions (quarterback) we know who will start. In fact, I don’t think there should be many surprises. But why wait until Monday afternoon? Here is how I think the depth chart will look. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Pick the 10

I’m following up on something Wyoming co-offensive line coach Pete Kaligis told me after Tuesday’s scrimmage. He said he has 10 offensive linemen who are ready to play for the Cowboys this season.

By the way, eight linemen played for the Pokes last season, six of which got starts.

Who do you think the 10 players are Kaligis is talking about?

Let’s start with the starters.

Junior center Nick Carlson is a lock. At guard, senior Brandon Self and sophomore Tyler Strong have played exclusively with the No. 1 offense in the Cowboys’ first three scrimmages, along with junior right tackle Kyle Magnuson.

Seniors Clayton Kirven (two scrimmage starts) and John Hutchins (one start) likely will alternate at left tackle, and are two of the most experienced linemen UW has. Hutchins also can play guard.

That’s six.

Junior Josh Leonard has starting experience at tackle and is Magnuson’s backup right now, so he makes seven. Junior-college transfer Zach Rushing is pushing both Self and Strong at both guard spots so that’s eight.

Coach Dave Christensen said after Tuesday’s practice that redshirt freshman offensive tackle Daniel Fleischman should be ready to return from injury in about a week, so I’m going to include him because I know Christensen and the other coaches have been high on him since he signed.

OK, we’re at nine.

My 10th right now would be redshirt freshman Travis Bogard at center, listed as Carlson’s backup. If I needed a wildcard I would go with redshirt freshman guard Skyler Hinton.

Any thoughts or opinions on this?

Speaking of offensive linemen, see my story in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang on Self and Strong, and their improbable path to becoming likely starters.