LARAMIE – For the first time this spring, the Wyoming Cowboy football team incorporated a couple periods of live scrimmaging into Tuesday’s practice. A mixture of rain and snow throughout the afternoon moved the Pokes inside the Indoor Practice Facility for the first time this spring.
“We had a situational scrimmage today, which was our first live work of the spring,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. “I thought there were some guys who did some nice things. Mike Green, for a younger running back, showed some real promise. We’re encouraged about Mike.
“I think our offensive line continues to get better. We moved quarterback Isaac Leppke over to wide receiver, and he did some good things for day one at that position. I think our secondary continues to move along well. They’ve been making some good plays there.”
The head coach was questioned regarding what he saw in Green’s performance on Tuesday that made him stand out, to which Bohl replied, “With us double repping right now, Mike (Green) is getting a lot of opportunities. Beyond running the football, there are so many other elements that our running backs need to be able to do well — pass protection, reading their keys in pass routes, but Mike did some good things today. We’re going to keep on looking at him because I think he does have good ability. That’s a position, with Brian (Hill) not being here and Shaun (Wick) not being here this next year, we’re going to be playing some unproven guys.”
Another area that Bohl was asked to evaluate was the interior defensive line group, wherein spite of losing 2016 senior nose tackle Chase Appleby returns a number of key players at nose tackle and defensive tackle, including juniors Conner Cain and Sidney Malauulu and sophomore Youhanna Ghaifan
“Good progress with Conner Cain,” said Bohl. “Technically, he’s doing a nice job. He’s carrying a little bit more weight. His gap control is good. Youhanna Ghaifan is showing some real promise, however, there is some inconsistent play, but seeing some really encouraging signs there. Sid (Malauulu) is doing some good things, as well. We’re developing some good players at that spot. Certainly the weight that they’ve put on the right way is going to help us next year.”
Bohl was asked specifically what he and his coaching staff were able to see by incorporating some live scrimmaging for the first time this spring.
“You look at how many live repetitions you want to have during spring and use those live reps wisely,” said Bohl. “But spring is a time to see which guys can come to the forefront, and you really need to do some live work to evaluate that. Also, it is key to be able to teach our players situational football, so that was why we conducted the scrimmage today.”
In addition to the positives he saw during Tuesday’s practice, Bohl was asked if there were any areas he felt needed improvements after watching the fourth of 15 spring practices.
“There were a couple long plays that we gave up defensively on the back end, which we need to continue to work on,” said Bohl. “You can attribute some of that to our offensive skill, but some of it was missed defensive assignments that we’re a little disappointed in. I think our pass protection broke down a little bit as the practice wore along. But I’ll look at the tape. It’s probably a little premature for me to judge, but that is what I saw.”
Bohl told media of two players who were unable to complete practice on Tuesday due to injury.
“We had a couple guys nicked up who didn’t finish practice,” said Bohl. “John Okwoli (wide receiver) tweaked an ankle a little bit, and Kevin Prosser (defensive end) looked like he had an ice pack on a hamstring. We should find out more about them tomorrow. Outside of that, it was a grinding through practice. It was a hard practice. We’re double repping, and guys are getting better by taking a lot of repetitions.”
Wyoming’s next practice is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. That will be followed by a Saturday practice to conclude Week Two of spring ball.
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