Wyoming at Eastern Michigan football primer

Some pre-game reading prior to Wyoming’s game at Eastern Michigan, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Friday and is televised on CBS Sports Network.

First, my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

Keeping balance: Wyoming has averaged 216 rushing yards and 210 passing yards through its first three games. That balance has been a key to its success, and has to continue today. UW can’t let Eastern Michigan make it one dimensional.

Yes, no or am I full of it?

— I had this note in Friday’s story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net, but I found it interesting. The Cowboys play their third Friday night game in as many seasons. However, the last time UW played a nonconference game on a day other than Saturday was on Dec. 23, 2004 when it beat UCLA 24-21 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

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Aussie style worked well for Wood

Wyoming senior punter Ethan Wood works hard on his craft, and as football continues to evolve, so does the way punters kick the ball.

Wood used an Aussie style punt three times last week against UC Davis to pin the Aggies inside the 20-yard line.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

What is Aussie style punting? I’ll let Wood tell you.

“I drop the ball with the nose down a little bit, and hit the nose of the ball with my toe in order to the get the ball to back-spin,” he said. “The hope is to when the ball hits the ground, it bounces straight up or backwards instead of going forward on a normal punt.”

Wood pinned UC Davis at its own 19, 3 and 17-yard lines.

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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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UW fall camp — Day 5

Wyoming had its first practice of fall camp in full pads Friday, and third-year coach Craig Bohl liked what he saw — especially from the offense.

Here’s what he said after practice.

If you listened to the entire video you heard Bohl talk about some “soft tissue” issues for UW senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry and sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard. Both have hamstring strains, as does junior cornerback Robert Priester. All three injuries don’t appear to be serious, but hamstrings can be tricky injuries to come back from. UW is being cautious with those three guys. While any kind of injuries are never good, at least through five days of camp UW hasn’t had to deal with any concussions or season-ending injuries.

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Granderson progressing nicely at defensive end for Cowboys

Wyoming is only four days into fall camp, and when third-year coach Craig Bohl talks to the media after each practice and goes over some of the highlights of individual players, Carl Granderson’s name usually comes up.

Here is Bohl after Thursday’s practice.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore defensive end played at around 200 pounds last season as a true freshman. He’s now at 243. Granderson said he still feels fast with the added weight, which is a big part of his game. For more on that, see Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, or log on to wyosports.net.

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UW fall camp – Day 3

Wyoming put on the shoulder pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday. The first practice in full pads is set for Friday.

UW did a lot of special teams and one-on-one drills during the early portions of Wednesday’s practice that the media was allowed to watch. Here are some highlights of the action.

Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard (hamstring strain) had been limited during the first two days of camp as a precaution. He was expected to do more at Wednesday’s practice. Junior cornerback Robert Priester (hamstring strain) also has been limited more out of precaution, but still was limited Wednesday. Redshirt freshman Davion Freeman looks to be getting some of the reps with the No. 1 defense in place of Priester. Sophomore Chavez Pownell Jr. has received more reps in place of Wingard.

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UW fall camp — Day 1

Wyoming started fall camp Monday morning at the North 40 practice fields on campus.

As in the past, media was allowed to watch the first 30 minutes. Here are some video highlights from the morning. The Cowboys worked a lot of forcing and recovering fumbles early on. Forcing more turnovers is a must. Last season, UW forced just 10 turnovers (five fumbles and five interceptions).

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Border War football 2015: Notes, quotes and video

As usual, I start with my top key for Wyoming in Saturday’s Border War football game with Colorado State:

Keep emotions in check: The Border War is an important game for both squads, and more often than not emotions are amped up for the players. That’s fine, but you still have to execute the game plan. The team that does that the best has the upper hand. Emotion is a good thing, but not when it leads to mistakes. How both teams manage their emotions will be key, especially early in the game.

Here is my preview of the game:

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New roles for UW wide receivers amid Gentry injury

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said Monday he’s “hopeful” junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry will play Saturday at Boise State after suffering a sprained shoulder in UW’s 28-21 win over Nevada last Saturday.

Gentry’s status for the game won’t be known until later this week, but it’s probably a long-shot that he plays. Gentry leads UW with 37 catches for 678 yards, and is tied for the team lead with four receiving touchdowns. His receiving  yards is 15th in the country, and his 96.9 receiving yards per game is 19th.

So, who steps up for the Cowboys while Gentry is out, whether it is just the Boise State game or future games?

Jake Maulhardt

Jake Maulhardt

The first guy is junior Jake Maulhardt, who is second behind Gentry with 36 catches for 366 yards, and is tied with Gentry on the team with four touchdowns. Maulhardt plays the ‘X’ receiver spot, while Gentry plays the ‘Y.’ Maulhardt is a bigger target than Gentry at 6-foot-6, but doesn’t have the speed Gentry has.

“My number may be called more,” Maulhardt said. “I need to capitalize on it an make plays for the team. If it happens, Im ready for it.”

The two guys who likely will see more playing time if Gentry is out are a pair of true freshmen — James Price and Joe Parker. Combined, those two have caught 7 passes for 68 yards this season.

James Price

James Price

Maulhardt thinks Price is similar to Gentry in terms of his size (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) and abilities. Parker is smaller (5-10, 182) and seems like more of a slot receiver than an edge guy. Maulhardt said true freshman Justice Murphy played a lot more last week against Nevada, and is “one of the most athletic guys on the team.”

Gentry and Maulhardt have caught 57 percent of UW’s completed passes this season. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said human nature often takes over when guys are pressed into stepping up for a team due to an injury to a teammate as compared to trying to compete for playing time when everyone is healthy and front-line guys are being productive.

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