LARAMIE, Wyo. - While many of the country's collegiate teams were playing Saturday, Wyoming's Cowboys went through a final dress rehearsal for their opener next Saturday.
Things went quite well, according to Head Coach Dana Dimel.
The Pokes spent almost two hours in War Memorial Stadium, scrimmaging, working on special teams, and in general polishing up for next weeks season opener with Montana State.
"I thought we had a very good day," Dimel said following the workout. "We want to make this as close to the real thing as possible as far as our pre-game, and game procedures go.
"We also wanted to work on some offensive weaknesses, and I saw some improvement. We did not improve in the passing game as much as I would have liked. Our passing was not as sharp as we need it to be. But, then again we were throwing against a pretty fair defense which has played very well all during camp, and pretty much knows what we are running."
Quarterback Jay Stoner finished the day going 7 of 16 through the air for 67 yards and one interception. His backup, Matt Swanson, was 3 of 6 for 43 yards. The Pokes other two quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Tim Glynn and true freshman Brandon Neill also saw action. Glynn was 2-4 for 43 yards and Neill was 2-3 for 15 yards.
"I think Jay needs to relax a little bit," Dimel said. "He has to understand that we have a lot of confidence in him, we believe in him. I know hes a little keyed up, but he has to understand how we feel about him. He is giving us what we need from the position, especially in the leadership area."
Of the receivers, tight end Kirby Drube had an outstanding day, making a pair of excellent catches. He had three on the day for 43 yards.
On the ground, running back Tim Beasley carried 11 times for 27 yards to lead the backs. Stoner actually produced the best rushing stats with five carries for 55 yards."The defense played well," Dimel said. "We do need to tackle a little better, but I those guys have been doing very well." A couple of the front line defenders sat out Saturdays scrimmage, linebacker Brian Brown (hamstring) and defensive tackle Brian Van Emmerick (neck burner).
But the major news in the injury department involved starting offensive tackle Demetrius Hamilton who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Saturday morning, and definitely will miss the Montana State game. He injured his knee Friday. Replacing him at left tackle will be junior Nate Selk.
"We are hopeful we can get Demetrius back for the Georgia game," Dimel said. "Our offensive line cant take many more hits. I did think Nate Selk played well today."
In addition to Hamilton, the Poke O-line has lost guard Pat Hutchinson for the season with knee surgery; starting guard Dan Delcorio has missed a good portion of fall camp with a knee injury as has guard Jason Wilhelm. Delcorio should be ready for Montana State, and Wilhelm for Louisiana Tech.
"I'm pleased where we are right now," Dimel said. "We've been able to stick to our overall plan throughout camp. I think we have scrimmaged as much as we had hoped, maybe as much as anyone in the country."
While the Cowboys are very definitely ready and anxious to get it going, there are advantages to having one more week of preparation, according to the head coach. "Were going to use this extra week to make sure we are polished. Make sure we are not ragged. Next week we dont want to see a lot of penalties, or turnovers. This extra time has given us the opportunity to do a lot of detail work. Hopefully that will show next Saturday afternoon."
The Wyoming-Montana State game will kickoff at 2 p.m.