Pokes Pushed to Improve Their Focus in Practice

As the Wyoming Football team nears the halfway point of fall practice, they were challenged by the head coach Craig Bohl and his coaching staff on Wednesday to improve their focus in practice.  The Wednesday morning practice was the 11th of 24 fall practices for the Cowboys.   

Bohl was open, when meeting with media, about the fact that he didn’t think his team did a good job of maintaining their focus and pushing through their fatigue in Wednesday’s single practice.

When asked specifically what he didn’t like, Bohl said, “Attention to detail, jumping offside, wrong alignments on defense -- those are all classic cases of having a young football team.  The ‘want to’ is there but to really reach down in your gut, to be able to focus and to execute throughout a practice is hard work.  The way you play in games is going to mirror the way your practice.  You get to the tail end and you’re tired -- it’s not easy to maintain your attention to detail.

“The eye in the sky doesn’t lie.  We’ll take a look at the tape after today’s practice and evaluate it.  I learned a long time ago as a coach it’s never as bad as you think or sometimes never as good.

“The only thing we can do as coaches is press our guys and put them in those situations to get them through that.  It would be easy for me to come in here and paint a picture that it’s all great, but that’s less than honest.  Our fans need to recognize that we’re going to get there, but today was not one of those days that I think we took a step forward.”

Bohl was asked if it was important at times like this to have leaders among the upperclassmen to step up and help the team improve their practice performance.

“Yes, the answer is yes, but along with that there is leadership throughout our football team,” said Bohl.  “Like I said earlier, once we look at the tape there will probably be some good things that occurred out there today.  But to really be a championship level team these are days you don’t have.  But we had it today, and we’ve got to learn from it.”

The head coach was asked what steps he and his coaching staff could take to help team members improve their focus in future practices.

“That is why we have ‘Coach’ on our shirt,” said Bohl.  “Every young man is different.  You work with every person differently, and that is one of the challenges that I have as a head football coach is knowing the whole group.  I also recognize that there are young men out there who want to be good, they just don’t know how to be good yet.  We have to be realistic.  I need to be realistic.  We are only in the second week of fall camp.  To me the first game is right around the corner.  To some of our players it might seem like an eternity until that first game.”

One area of the Cowboy defense that Bohl acknowledged has been a positive in fall camp is the development of an effective pass rush.

“Our pass rush is improving,” said Bohl.  “Carl Granderson is up to 240 pounds, and he’s got a great first step.  I think we are getting a better push inside.  Kevin Prosser is a good edge rusher, as well.  We’ve also been working on some blitz packages. 

“This is a positive because last year we did not generate enough sacks.  Sacks create negative plays (for your opponent), put your opponent in third and long situations and the chances of your defense getting off the field go way up.  Also the number of takeaways generally go up.  We’re more athletic (on the defensive line) -- there is no doubt about that.  We’ve also added more size.”   

Bohl also gave an update on the Cowboys’ injury situation following Wednesday’s practice, “Some guys were not able to finish practice today -- Jake Maulhardt and @Drew .  I think both of those are soft-tissue issues.  We don’t foresee a long rehab time on those guys.  We still don’t have Tanner (Gentry) back or (Andrew) Wingard but they’re getting close, and Rob (Priester) is getting real close.  Hopefully, the next couple of practices we’ll have them back.” 

Finally, the head coach was asked if he had begun to plan out the Cowboys’ closed scrimmage on Saturday in regard to how many plays he hoped to run.

“We would like to run about 70 plays in our first scrimmage, but that is going to be contingent on how many players we have available with different position groups,” said Bohl.  “But we feel like it is important to run that many plays to get ourselves game ready.”

Thursday will see the Pokes practice twice, at 8:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.  They will have a single practice on Friday and their first major scrimmage on Saturday.  Practices are closed to the general public.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets to 2016 Wyoming Cowboy Football games may: go online at www.GoWyo.com/tickets, email tickets@uwyo.edu, call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220; or stop by the ticket office on the west side of UW’s Arena-Auditorium.

2016 University of Wyoming Football Fall Practice Schedule

(Times of Practices are Tentative)

Thursday, Aug. 18         8:30 a.m. (Practice #12)

                            3:20 p.m. (Practice #13)

Friday, Aug. 19            9:20 a.m. (Practice #14)

Saturday, Aug. 20         10:30 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #15)

                            4:45 p.m. (Practice #16)

Monday, Aug. 22          9:00 a.m. (Practice #17)

Tuesday, Aug. 23          9:30 a.m. (Practice #18)

                            3:50 p.m. (Practice #19)

Wednesday, Aug. 24     10:00 a.m. (Practice #20)

Thursday, Aug. 25         9:20 a.m. (Practice #21)

                             4:00 p.m. (Practice #22)

Friday, Aug. 26             9:30 a.m. (Practice #23)

Saturday, Aug. 27         10:30 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #24)

Monday, Aug. 29          First Weekly Press Conference at Noon in Rochelle Athletics Center WAR Room