Second Week of Practice to Conclude Saturday, Two Weeks Remain Until Season Opener
LARAMIE — A very competitive, full-padded practice on Friday saw the Wyoming defense continue to impress, while head coach Craig Bohl began to stress the importance of Wyoming’s season opener at New Mexico State on Saturday, Aug. 25.
The Cowboys will conclude their second week of Fall Camp on Saturday and have just two weeks remaining before that season opener in Las Cruces, N.M. Bohl said after practice that he was pleased with the attitude of his team this fall.
“We had a hard practice day, with 24 periods,” said Bohl. “We ended up with a two-minute drill. The defense kind of had its way with our offense, which is good from the defensive standpoint.
“I think it is going to be important that our quarterback continue to improve. He threw some good balls today, but there were some balls I wish he had not thrown.
“We’re still a little thin on the offensive line, but that is part of fall camp. We’ll work through that.
“We’ll start working on preparations for New Mexico State shortly. We’re still working on fundamentals, but that will be a big, big ballgame. I want to be real clear on this, we’re going to need to play really well down in Las Cruces.”
In terms of when the Cowboys will turn their attention to preparing for their season-opening opponent, Bohl said, “I’ve got it (the practice schedule) specked out exactly, but it’s important for us to continue to install our offense, defense and special teams right now.
“Like I said earlier, this will be a really, really big game. They (New Mexico State) finished off their year on a high note and beat Utah State (in the Arizona Bowl). Playing them on the road is going to be a challenge, but we like the attitude of our football team.”
Asked to expand on how quarterback Tyler Vander Waal has protected the football to date, Bohl said, “A little bit of a mixed bag. I’d like to see it be a little better, but of course as a head football coach you want to see no turnovers by your offense. I think we’ve been really productive defensively taking the ball away, and we need to be mindful of that. There were a couple throws that he tried to make today that he’s going to learn he can’t make. Some of that comes with experience.”
An offensive player who was impressive in Friday’s practice with some nice catches was sophomore wide receiver Avante’ Cox.
“Avante (Cox) is showing real promise,” said Bohl. “He’s put on about 10 pounds of lean muscle mass and he’s got good hands.”
The Cowboys of course have an All-America candidate in senior defensive end Carl Granderson, but Bohl was asked after Friday’s practice how the rest of the defensive end group has performed during fall camp.
“It’s great to have Kevin Prosser out there,” said Bohl. “He’s moving around really well and has good speed and quickness. Josiah Hall is still not back. Garrett Crall is doing some good things. We like his length. I think in the midst of all those guys we can come up with some good depth, but Carl (Granderson) is a dynamic player. I think he has a bright, bright future to play in the NFL. What we appreciate about Carl is he’s really been hungry. He’s trying to get better every practice. He’s going to be a force again this year.”
Bohl was asked on Friday to give an update on some of the more competitive position battles that are still playing out in fall camp.
“Coming up with another offensive tackle is going to be important,” said Bohl. “Over on defense, I think we’re starting to solidify where we are at corner. C.J. Coldon has had an excellent fall camp. Antonio Hull has done a lot of good things. Keyon Blankenbaker has done some good things, and Jalani Ellison has shown a lot of ability, so that is starting to clarify itself and that was about the only place we were looking to make a decision on defense.
“Offensively, as I said we need to fine tune our offensive line, and we’re in the process of continuing to evaluate our tailbacks.”
Injury updates from Bohl include junior offensive guard Gavin Rush, who Bohl said was scheduled for surgery on an injured bicep in the next couple of days and would probably be lost for the year. Freshman running back Theo Dawson also dislocated a shoulder and will likely miss the rest of fall camp. The head coach also said that sophomore offensive tackle Alonzo Velasquez will probably not be available for the season opener versus New Mexico State due to an injury, but it is hoped that he will be back for the Washington State game in the second week of the season.