One of Wyoming’s true freshman football players that has been getting a lot of attention so far in camp in cornerback Davion Freeman.
The 5-foot-9, 156-pounder from Del City, Oklahoma, is competing with fellow true freshman Antonio Hull (5-10, 188) from Diamond Bar, California, for playing time — and perhaps a starting job.
Second-year coach Craig Bohl said one or both could see playing time this season, and that Saturday’s scrimmage will go a long way towards making that decision.
“Just effort. Sprinting to the ball after each play. Just hustling,” said Freeman recently on how he’s been able to have early success in fall camp. “The coaches notice that and want you on the field. When you hustle anything can happen. When there’s a fumble and you;re there to pick it up.”
Learning the play book and an more complex defensive scheme are the two things Freeman said has been the biggest adjustment for him at the college level so far.
“Once I do that, things should go real good,” Freeman said.
An interesting thing about Freeman is his size. On UW’s roster released before fall camp Freeman was listed at 5-9, 175 pounds. Now he’s down to 156. Obviously, he needs to pack on some pounds. However, fellow cornerback Robert Priester played in 11 games last season listed at 5-9, 168 pounds. Priester said he was closer to 162 pounds as the season ended. Priester is now listed at 5-9, 180.
Priester is the favorite right now to start at one of the two cornerback spots for the Cowboys this season.
Freeman has already earned quite an honor for UW as he was told he’s the fastest player on the team. UW uses — for a lack of a better term — GPS monitors with every player at every workout and practice. Players wear them under their pads or workout gear.
Freeman said he was told prior to the start of fall camp he’s the fastest guy on the team, although he didn’t have any specific 40-yard dash times.
“They technology says so,” Freeman said with a smile. When asked what kind of reaction he got from other players on the team, he said: “They gave me a pat on teh back and told me to keep up the good work.”
Freeman also has been given some looks as a punt returner in camp.
Concussions and hamstring injuries are starting to mount for UW.
Bohl said there were 20 guys on his injury report prior to Tuesday’s practice, and most of those injuries involve concussions and hamstrings.
“The number of concussions we have now are probably as many as we had all of last year,” said Bohl after UW’s 11th practice of camp Tuesday. “I think some of it has to do with our guys being competitive, and we’ve had more spirited contact. We’ve driven them hard and we’re a bit nicked up. We need to get some guys back.”
Bohl said the players who are out right now, and are being counted on to play major roles this season, are not expected to miss UW’s season-opener Sept. 5 at home against North Dakota.
Senior running back Shaun Wick (concussion) remains out. Bohl said sophomore running back Brian Hill was held out Tuesday with a minor rib injury. Senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough also was held out with a tight hamstring.
Bohl said UW had just one team period Tuesday, compared to two on most days, due to a lack of players. He also said most of the offensive and defensive instillation is in, and now it’s about “refining our execution and techniques.”
“We’re making progress, but maybe not as fast as every coach would like,” Bohl added.
Bohl singled out three true freshmen receivers who have been getting more reps lately and making the most of them: James Price, Dameko Doddles and Justice Murphy. UW’s two leading receivers from last season — juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt — have missed practice time recently with minor injuries.
The Cowboys practice twice Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. Their first and only major scrimmage of camp is at 11 a.m. Saturday, which is closed to the public and media.
See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net, for a story on how redshirt junior D.J. May is adapting to his new role on defense after moving over from running back.
Also, WyoSports’ 2015 UW football preview section comes out on Sunday, Aug. 30. Here is the cover to give you an idea of the theme we went with this year. Should be a great section to check out, so be sure to pick up a copy of the WTE and Laramie Boomerang to get one.