UW fall camp – practice No. 20

Wyoming practiced once Wednesday for about 1 hour and 10 minutes in War Memorial Stadium. That was planned by coach Craig Bohl, who said the team would lift weights and do some mental work in the afternoon.

UW’s final two-a-day session of fall camp is Thursday. It’s pattern for this was to go with a lighter practice in the morning, and a heavier one in the afternoon. However, Bohl said he will flip-flop that Thursday since Wednesday was a lighter day on the field.

Here are some highlights from the early portions of Wednesday’s practice.

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UW fall camp – Day 9

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl wasn’t pleased with what he saw from the Cowboys’ practice Wednesday — the 11th of fall camp.

I’ll let you listen to what Bohl had to say about it.

If you watched the entire Bohl video, you heard him say that senior wide receiver Jake Maulhardt and junior fullback Drew Van Maanen didn’t finish practice with “soft tissue issues.” That means hamstring strains. Senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry, junior cornerback Robert Priester and sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard — all starters — have been dealing with the same thing throughout camp and remain out. However, Bohl is optimistic all three will return soon.

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Conway, Okwoli having good camps at WR for Cowboys

Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of proven depth at the wide receiver spot behind seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt.

Redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson had a good spring, and continues to be solid in fall camp and figures to be in the mix behind Gentry and Maulhardt. Same is true for sophomores Joe Parker and James Price.

Two more guys may be getting into the mix as well — redshirt freshman Austin Conway and true freshman John Okwoli.

Gentry has been out with a strained hamstring, which has given Conway and Okwoli more chances for reps with he No. 1 offense during camp. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said after Tuesday’s morning practice both Conway and Okwoli have “exceeded expectations” so far in fall camp.

Here’s more from Bohl on Tuesday’s practice.

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Who could play as freshman for UW football in 2016

Fall camp begins Monday for Wyoming football, which consists of 24 practices.

There are lots of questions and storylines going into camp, but one that always intrigues me is who among the newcomers will play.

Last season, 26 true freshmen or redshirt freshmen played for the Cowboys, which was the seventh-most in the country.

Third-year coach Craig Bohl said during Mountain West Football Media Days in late July that he doesn’t expect as many this season, nor does he expect 16 true freshman to see playing time like in 2015.

John Okwoli

John Okwoli

But there will be some true freshmen who play, and Bohl said that three things play factors in that: physical ability, emotional maturity and need at certain positions.

Here are some true freshman Bohl mentioned to me who UW likely will take a hard look at during camp:

WR John Okwoli: The 6-2, 205-pounder from Phoenix was a three-star recruit by ESPN and 247sports.com. He was one of the more highly-touted recruits in UW’s 2016 class. UW looks to be set among its top two receivers in seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt. Redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson had a good spring. UW needs more wide receivers other than Gentry and Maulhardt to step up, and Okwoli could get a chance.

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Grant talks about UW’s wide receivers

New Wyoming wide receivers coach Mike Grant hit the ground running when he was hired back in late January.

Mike Grant

Mike Grant

Grant has 22 years of experience as a college coach, and was on Nebraska’s staff as a graduate assistant when current UW coach Craig Bohl was an assistant with the Cornhuskers.

Grant has two veteran receivers to work with in seniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt, and has liked what he’s seen from both so far this spring, and even going back to winter workouts.

I asked Grant about UW’s young receivers, and here’s what he said about sophomores James Price and Justice Murphy, along with redshirt freshman C.J. Johnson. Here’s what he said.

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UW football’s biggest gainers

Here are some of the biggest “gains” in terms of Wyoming football players and weight from the end of last season and as spring drills began Tuesday in Laramie.

Weights are from UW’s depth chart prior to its 2015 season-finale against UNLV and its current depth chart before the start of spring football. In the case of running back Brian Hill, I went off the weights he told me personally. Players’ classes in terms of eligibility are listed next to each weight.

Player                                End of 2015                          Spring of 2016

OT Zach Wallace                    265 (Fr.)                                    297 (So.)

QB Josh Allen                       216  (So.)                                 230 (RSo.)

FS Andrew Wingard               194  (Fr.)                                   207 (So.)

LB Lucas Wacha                    214  (Jr.)                                    230 (Sr.)

LB Eric Nzeocha                    218  (Jr.)                                     231 (Sr.)

NT Dalton Fields                    274  (So.)                                   293 (Jr.)

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UW at San Diego State football: Notes, quotes and video

My top key for Wyoming Saturday at San Diego State; kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. MT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Good start: Something Wyoming hasn’t done much of this season. During their three-game losing streak the Cowboys have fallen behind 17-0 after the first quarter twice, and allowed 48 points in the first quarter in all three contests. UW needs to play its best game from start to finish to have a chance to win, but another poor start will lead to yet another double-digit loss. By the way, all of the Cowboys’ nine losses this season have been by double digits.

More keys and more preview stuff right here:

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Media Monday: It’s Border War week

After playing four of its last six games on the road, Wyoming returns home this week for its annual Border War game with Colorado State at 1 p.m. Saturday in Laramie.

Here is coach Craig Bohl talking about that and several other things about this week’s game.

From what Bohl said, looks like we will have to wait until later in the week to see if redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman will play. He’s still nursing a right shoulder injury that kept him out of last week’s game at Utah State.

Here’s what Coffman had to say on his health status Monday.

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Utah State 58, Wyoming 27: Postgame thoughts and video

Perhaps I am bad luck.

I wrote an article earlier in the week how, despite the team’s record and some of its stats, the Wyoming defense had shown improvement over the last few weeks.

Here’s the article if you want to take a look: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/coaches-like-progress-of-wyoming-defense/article_3da74bea-7d3a-11e5-ae94-cb4eac92080f.html

But the Cowboys’ defense was dominated by a balanced and good game plan by Utah State Friday night in Logan, Utah. The Aggies ran for 296 and passes for 296. UW had no answer for either one.

Why? Here’s what coach Craig Bohl said after the game:

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UW at Utah State football preview: Notes, quotes and video

No sense in breaking the pattern — here is my No. 1 key for Wyoming for its game Friday night at Utah State:

Nick Smith

Nick Smith

Help Smith succeed: Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Smith will make his first-career start. Smith started the season as Wyoming’s No. 3 quarterback, but has been the No. 2 guy since the second game of the season. He’s had mixed results in two games. He still has some development in front of him as a passer, but he can run the ball. The Cowboys’ coaches have to have a plan for him to succeed both running and throwing. Don’t look for UW to change its offense, but it must have some wrinkles to work on Smith’s strengths. Smith will need to throw the ball, but they must be throws he can make.

Yes, no or am I out of my mind?

Now for my video preview of the game:

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